• A Darker Shade of Magic

  • Shades of Magic, Book 1
  • By: V. E. Schwab
  • Narrated by: Steven Crossley
  • Length: 11 hrs and 34 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (70 ratings)

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A Darker Shade of Magic  By  cover art

A Darker Shade of Magic

By: V. E. Schwab
Narrated by: Steven Crossley
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Publisher's Summary

A Darker Shade of Magic is the incredible first installment of the Shades of Magic series, from number one New York Times best-selling author V.E. Schwab.

Most people only know one London; but what if there were several? Kell is one of the last Travelers - magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons. There’s Grey London, dirty and crowded and without magic, home to the mad king George III. There’s Red London, where life and magic are revered. Then, White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. But once upon a time, there was Black London.... 

©2015 V. E. Schwab (P)2015 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A Darker Shade of Magic has all the hallmarks of a classic work of fantasy. Schwab has given us a gem of a tale...." (Deborah Harkeness)

What listeners say about A Darker Shade of Magic

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A slow burner but worth it!

I found this hard to get into but towards the middle and end I was hooked. The character development is fantastic, as is the alternating narration between them. The narrator's voice isn't the most gripping though, albeit well performed.

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read something else

this book has some nice ideas but it's badly written and uses most cliches you can think of.

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the narrator is terrible

Very good story, but the narrator is terrible. Through the dialogue I could tell the characters were meant to be likeable, but the voice acting is awful, and the emotional tone consistently wrong.

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Amazing!

I absolutely love the fact that while Lila isn't normal it isn't a huge part of her character! Thanks to Kelsey's trailer I found these books and I love them! KelseyForLila

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-28-20

A Darker Adventure

A man with a most unique coat who crosses worlds meets a most unique woman who can and will fight anyone who holds her back.

A trigger warning for self harm, as the power to cross worlds comes relies on blood to activate.

The magic system is fantastic to witness and easy enough to follow and the way it works in each world adds a wonderful flavour. Schwab's world building is brilliant and her language flows readily.

Any snags you may find are ironed out in the following books.

24 people found this helpful

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  • Prester Jim
  • 04-04-21

A Drabber Schwab of Meh...

Well, that was ... there. YA fantasy that takes a good idea about parallel Londons and goes nowhere with it. I bailed out shortly after the two unengaging protagonists finally meet; maybe the book gets better after this; who knows? It's rather Pullman-esque in aspiration, but written in a bland, low-calorie style and without the conviction. Ironically, C. S. Lewis did something similar but much better in 'The Magician's Nephew' a lifetime ago. Oh, and one of the leads is definitely not called Lyra.
The narration is competent but inappropriate to the material; it all sounds a bit 'Dad', especially when voicing the teenage Lila.
I don't think this was really meant for me, and I'm probably just being mean but, yeah, wasn't feeling it.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-10-21

Very interesting read

Im normally not very into fictional magocal books, but this one had me hooked. Cant wait to read the other two books!

8 people found this helpful

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  • stevie rn
  • 11-29-20

interesting characters

I thought this book was interesting. I found all the characters very intriguing apart from the main character, which is a shame.
The reader in my opinion did not suit the tone of this book.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Miss E R Hughes
  • 03-24-21

Not for me

The story has promise but it doesn’t seem to ever take off properly. I could not get on with the character of Lila at all - this may be down to the narrators voice for her a little though.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Lisa
  • 02-12-21

Loved everything about it.

First time listening to the audible version. it's was great! the narration really brought it to life.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-08-21

Listen to the sample

did not enjoy the narrator. Liked the story, even though it felt more like s setup for the other books.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-28-20

A good read

The story starts slowly but gradually builds into an enthralling flow. Lilia's accent got on my nerves sometimes and for me, her character could have become more rounded as the story developed. On the whole a good way to spend a cold rainy weekend.

6 people found this helpful

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  • FENARETI
  • 11-09-20

I think fantasy isnt for me

V.E. Schwab is an extremely skilled and talented writer. The way she is choosing her works is mesmerising. I struggled to follow along with the story, I think my brain isnt analytical enough to comprehend high fantasy stories. The last 6 hours of the book I listened to ×3 speed. I want to read more of her work, just not something so heavy with fantasy.

4 people found this helpful

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  • emma thomas
  • 09-04-21

Not bad

I enjoyed it on the whole . The narrator does a good job , but I found the overly chirpy voice he used for the main female character really irritating .

3 people found this helpful

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  • Stephen
  • 08-13-20

Excellent

On recommendation I read this and got the audiobook too. The story is excellent, drawing on an original imagining of the worlds of magic.

The performance on the audio version is first rate from Steven Crossley.
Not sure why he doesn’t do the sequels as well as they are very sub-par and involve English/London accents being performed by Americans so they are terrible. Think Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins bad! Rather ruins the sequels after you have heard Steven Crossley reading this instalment as he is excellent.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Naedrax17
  • 02-26-21

Slow start

The idea was intriguing & story was ok, but too long for me to feel invested in the story.
I did not like the female voices from the narrator.
I may continue with the series but will not be rushing for book 2.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Annie Wilson
  • 07-20-22

A beautiful magical world

A bit of a slow burn. Beautifully woven story with magical worlds and lots of layers. The characters are complex in a good way, and left me wanting more.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-12-22

Worth hanging in there...

Although difficult to settle into the rhythm of this story, due perhaps in part to a less than engaging narration, it is well worth the effort.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Aly GreenSpirit
  • 06-06-22

Good but narration could be better

Great story but didn't enjoy it as much as Adie La Rue. Narrators female voices were annoying.

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  • Onyajay
  • 11-11-20

Boring

Probably a young adult book. Couldn’t make it past 3 hrs. Good characters but not enough story early on. Great idea, I wish it ha do been better. And the narrator too slow. I had to speed him up.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 10-27-20

engaging fantasy story

very dynamic fully formed and believable characters. nice story arc. would be keen to read more and revisit these characters again 👍