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Victoria (V.E.) Schwab

Victoria SchwabVictoria Schwab is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, she has been known to say “tom-ah-toes”, “like”, and “y’all”. She lives in Nashville, TN when she is not wandering in search of buried treasure, fairy tales, and good tea. Learn more at Victoria Schwab’s website.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE TITLES BY V.E. SCHWAB.

Vicious: Beautifully exploits the concept of the ambiguous superhero

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Note: Find "Warm Up," a short-story introduction to Vicious, for free at Tor.com. You can also purchase it for 99c on Kindle.

Vicious, by V.E. Schwab, is another offering in the ever-more popular folks-with-powers genre, and fits as well in the equally popular sub-genre where those folks-with-powers don’t’ fall neatly into the quaint “superhero” mode but have a bit more edge, a bit more (OK, a lot more in this case) grey to them.

Chronologically, the story begins when Victor and Eli, a pair of brilliant college roommates/... Read More

Vengeful: Good execution using a mix of familiar elements

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

I had mostly the same reactions to V.E. Schwab’s Vengeful (2018) as I did to its predecessor Vicious: the various elements are all a bit too familiar and the two main adversaries are a little flat, but Schwab does a mostly good job of overcoming those issues thanks to a stimulatingly non-linear structure and some marvelous side-characters. Warning: there’ll be some unavoidable spoilers for book one ahead.

As with Vicious, Schwab eschews the typical linear narrative, with Vengeful ping-ponging amongst multiple POVs and time periods. As we follow a single POV, the timeline moves back and forth from an early point (the earliest being 25 years ago) ... Read More

The Archived: Hard to believe in, but still a pleasant read

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Mackenzie (Mac) Bishop, a high-school student, has just moved to a new town with her mom and dad. They’re living in an apartment in a renovated old hotel. Her mom is excited about restoring and reopening a once-popular coffee shop in the hotel, but Mac knows that her mom is really just trying to stay focused and busy after the recent death of Mac’s younger brother.

What Mackenzie’s parents don’t know is that Mac is a Keeper, a job she inherited from her now-deceased grandfather. Keepers are responsible for tracking down the confused embodied souls of dead people (usually children) who wander away from the Archive, where a copy of everybody’s history goes after death. They may look like zombies, but these “Histories” are simply recordings of a person’s life and they must be returned to their vaults if they wander away. Since the public doesn’t know about the Arch... Read More

The Unbound: Not your typical high school drama

The Unbound by Victoria Schwab

The Unbound is the sequel to Victoria Schwab’s The Archived, which you should read before starting this book. There will be some spoilers for The Archived in this review, so beware.

Summer is over for Mackenzie Bishop, the Keeper whose secret job is to escort the “Histories” of dead people back to their resting place in the Archive. When we met Mac in The Archived, she had just moved into an old hotel in a new town and solved some murders that had occurred there decades ago. Also, she met Wesley, a spiky-haired eyeliner-wearing boy who turned out to have a lot more in common with her than she ever could have guessed.

... Read More

A Darker Shade of Magic: We like it

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

I was a big fan of V.E. Schwab’s 2013 novel Vicious, noting in my review how she had overcome the possible burden of overfamiliar concepts (it’s a folks-with-powers-who-have-some-gray-to-them kind of novel) with supremely polished execution. Well, she’s pretty much done the same with her newest novel, A Darker Shade of Magic, which takes many of the usual fantasy tropes and, again, just handles them all so smoothly that you simply don’t care much that you’ve seen them all before.

The basic concept is a nicely focused tweak of the multi-verse model, with a series of parallel Londons: Red London, a vibrant, colorful city where magic and life are in balance; White London, a crue... Read More

A Gathering of Shadows: A strong sequel

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

While I didn’t fall in in love with V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic, I quite enjoyed it, giving it four stars in my review. Schwab is back in this universe now with a sequel, A Gathering of Shadows (2016), which carries forward the strengths of the first book, making for yet another strong story.

Set four months after the events of book one (and yes, you’ll definitely want to read book one if you haven’t and possibly wish to skim it or find an online synopsis if you have), A Gathering of Shadows splits its time between Kell and Lila as each tries to mo... Read More

A Conjuring of Light: A few issues, but still a nice close to a strong trilogy

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

A Conjuring of Light (2017) brings V.E. Schwab’s multi-world trilogy to a close while leaving plenty of room for future stories in the SHADES OF MAGIC universe. We (Bill and Marion) both read it, and we share their thoughts about the third book below. This review may contain light spoilers for A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows.

A Gathering of Shadows ended on a cliffhanger. In the opening chapter of A Conjuring of Light, Delilah Bird has entered the world of White London to save Kell, who has fought off posse... Read More

This Savage Song: Great premise tied to strong characterization

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

This Savage Song (2016) is the first book in the MONSTERS OF VERITY duology by Victoria Schwab and it’s a strong entry point — fast moving, smoothly told, with a compellingly dark premise and engaging, interesting characters. Even better, there’s no drop off in book two (Our Dark Duet), so I can unabashedly recommend the entire story to readers.

The setting is an alternate world where the US broke up after the Vietnam War into nearly a dozen territories. The background isn’t all that important in that we spend all of our time in one capital city in book one and only part of book two in a second city. So it’s enough for our narrative purpose, but Schwab doesn’t bother with deep world-building and that’s fine; its absence isn’t felt at all. The more important context is the wonderful metaphor at the center of the... Read More

Our Dark Duet: Brings Schwab’s duology to a poignant and powerful close

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

This Savage Song (2016), Schwab’s first book in her MONSTERS OF VERITY duology, introduced this world and its sharply drawn main characters Kate and August via a well and smoothly told story that ended with a great closing scene that whetted the reader’s desire for more of this story. In Our Dark Duet (2017), Schwab happily delivers with an equally-good sequel that resolves the narrative fully, though I for one wouldn’t mind if the author were to show us a few more nooks and crannies of this fascinating world. Fair warning — there will be unavoidable spoilers for book one.

I’ll let you turn to my review of book one for the detailed world description, but suffice to say that in this version of the geographic United States, monstrously violent act... Read More

City of Ghosts: A genial enough middle grade story

City of Ghosts by V.E. Schwab

City of Ghosts (2018) by V.E. Schwab is a Middle Grade book that, well, reads like a Middle Grade book.

In other words, it’s entertaining and engaging enough for that age group, but doesn’t have the depth or complexity in plot or characters to expand beyond that audience, which I’m clearly well, well outside of.

Ever since she almost drowned, young Cassidy Blake has been able to see ghosts, to “pull aside the veil” and step for a brief time into their world.

She’s also picked up a best friend — Jacob — a ghost of roughly her own age.

Cass is looking forward to a nice easy summer at the beach, but instead her author parents, who write about the paranormal (dad’s the skeptic, mom the believer), have been picked up for a TV... Read More

The Near Witch: Spooky, heavy on mood and imagery

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

“There are no strangers in the town of Near.” That is, until the night Lexi sees a strange boy outside her window — one who seems to have uncanny abilities. Then, Pied-Piper-style, the children of Near begin to disappear, lured away by a song. Lexi, as an adolescent, can only hear broken snatches of the song. But her little sister is vulnerable to it. The whole town seems convinced that the strange boy is the kidnapper, but Lexi thinks the disappearances are tied to the legend of the Near Witch, who lived and died in Near long ago but is remembered in tales and songs.

Victoria Schwab writes beautifully and perfectly evokes the blustery weather on the moors and the xenophobia of the town of Near, where any stranger or nonconformist is automatically suspect. Schwab makes the interesting decision to leave the time period hazy. We don’t know what year it is, and it could be an... Read More

SHORTS: Arnason, Allan, Schwab, Kosmatka

There is so much free or inexpensive short fiction available on the internet these days. Here are a few stories we read this week that we wanted you to know about.



“The Grammarian's Five Daughters” by Eleanor Arnason (1999, originally published in Realms of Fantasy, June 1999, reprinted in 2004 and free online at Strange Horizons)

This sweet little story was right up my street. Not only is it told in a slightly kooky, fairy-tale style, it's also all about words (hoorah!). A poor Grammarian sends each of her children out into the world one by one. She can't give them much but what she c... Read More

Celebrating #FearlessWomen with TOR and V.E. Schwab

At Fantasy Literature, we love fearless women!

Women are shining in every genre of speculative fiction, and it is no longer enough to say “Women are here.” Instead, #FearlessWomen everywhere are taking a stand to say “Women will thrive here.”

Highlighting major titles from bestselling authors V.E. Schwab, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jacqueline Carey as well as titles from acclaimed and debut authors such as Mary Robinette Kowal, Tessa Gratton, Sam Hawke, and Robyn Bennis, #FearlessWomen is a coordinated social media c... Read More

World Fantasy Convention 2011: Day Three

I spent most of the morning today in the dealers’ room, which was a disaster for my wallet but a boon for my library. As has become my habit of late, I spent more time picking up titles from small presses, like Prime, Night Shade and EDGE, than from the big boys. Some of that was simply because the big boys weren’t there in force; even Tor, which hosted a party last night, didn’t have a table full of books. But mostly it was because I’m of the firm belief that the small presses are where it’s happening these days, with the strangest and most interesting books coming from them. I am very thankful that the USPS is on site with boxes and a guarantee of safe passage for my new acquisitions, because I could never carry all of these onto the plane, not even if I bought a new piece of luggage -- not enough arms! There were also a few jewelers on the premises, with some lovely things, and I confess I committed jewelry (though not the piece pictured here). The jeweler who captured me ... Read More