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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.

A Darker Shade of Magic

A Darker Shade of Magic — (2015- ) From V.E. Schwab, the critically acclaimed author of Vicious, comes a new universe of daring adventure, thrilling power, and parallel Londons, beginning with A Darker Shade of Magic. Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes—as such, he can choose where he lands. There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there’s Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne—a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London…but no one speaks of that now. Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see—a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure. But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—and that is proving trickier than they hoped.

A Darker Shade of Magic: Well-executed story, intriguing setting

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Tim's new review.

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 parall... Read More

A Gathering of Shadows: Rich characterization makes for a strong sequel

Readers’ average rating:

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 move on with their lives after what hap... Read More

The Near Witch: Spooky, heavy on mood and imagery

Readers’ average rating:

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... Read More

Vicious: Beautifully exploits the concept of the ambiguous superhero

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Tadiana's new review:

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.

Chronological... Read More

SFM: Arnason, Allan, Schwab, Kosmatka

Short Fiction Monday: 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 can give them is a bag of words... Read More

More speculative fiction by Victoria Schwab

The Archived — (2013-2014) Publisher: Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive. Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was: a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive. Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous — it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now that her little brother is gone too, Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall. In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hardwon redemption.

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CLICK HERE FOR VICTORIA SCHWAB’S EVERYDAY ANGEL SERIES FOR CHILDREN.

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


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