Shades of Magic Wiki
"You mentioned other Londons. How many are there?"
This article is about the book series. You may be looking for the series' first trilogy, Shades of Magic.

The Shades of Magic series is an adult fantasy series written by V. E. Schwab.

Main series[]

Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince[]

Shades of Magic[]

Threads of Power[]

  • Untitled #1
  • Untitled #2
  • Untitled #3

Future projects[]

Extra content[]

  • "A Royal Affair" — a short story included in the 2021 anthology Fantastic Worlds: Impossible Places about Alucard's courtship with Rhy and how he became the captain of the Night Spire[3]


Around 2012/13, Schwab started working on Shades of Magic[4] when she got the image in her mind of Kell Maresh and Lila Bard's collision in an alley in Grey London.[5][6][7]


  • The majority of people in the Shades of Magic world, a "not binary" world, are attracted to power rather than gender.[8] Furthermore, V. E. Schwab has stated that all characters "should be presumed queer unless stated otherwise"[9] and that, so far, "only" George III and George IV are heterosexual.[10]
  • Schwab decided to set the series in London because her mother is from southern England and when Schwab first went to visit England as a child, she was fascinated by the fact that individual places were older than her homeland the USA and that "history [was] an ever-present thing all around [her]." It was her "first real physical sense of history and antiquity."[11][12]
  • The concept of Vitari was added rather late to the story as the first draft of A Darker Shade of Magic did not feature it.[13]
  • The world and story of Shades of Magic was created by both V. E. Schwab and her editor, Miriam Weinberg.[14]
  • Almost all of Schwab's books have been a "reaction to something [she has] read—or something [she has not] been able to find."[15] Shades of Magic was her reaction to landscape of fantasy,[16] meaning the contents of many fantasy books that are published.[17]
  • She loves to play with the idea of doors, may they be "between life and death, mundane and supernatural, [or] insider and outsider." Shades of Magic is her exploration of doors between worlds.[18][19]
  • Schwab's favorite aspect of worldbuilding was to name the ships.[20]
  • She has expressed interest to write more comics in the Shades of Magic world, though with a "shift [of] focus, either in time, or to another London."[21]
  • Various animes and Avatar: The Last Airbender heavily influenced Shades of Magic.[22]
  • On October 27, 2018, an official clothing line, A Darker Shade of Clothing, based on the Shades of Magic series was launched on Jordandené.[23]


  1. "Today's office. Pictured: a 400-year-old house, and a computer containing my next novel, a short story about Lila Bard, a TV pitch, daily footage from First Kill, and a pile of big ideas."
    (V. E. Schwab on Instagram)
  2. File:IG September plans.png
  3. "I wrote a story called "A Royal Affair" for this anthology. It's Alucard's story, from his courtship with Rhy, to the events that led to him becoming captain of the Night Spire."
    (V. E. Schwab on Goodreads)
  4. "THE JOURNEY TO A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC" — V. E. Schwab on Wordpress
  5. "Long before A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC was a story, or even a real idea, it was nothing but an image in my head, a still frame of a single moment, when a young magician collided with a mysterious girl dressed as a boy, and she picked his pocket. This moment, the meeting of Kell and Lila, was the true first step on the journey that would become the Shades of Magic series."
    (A Darker Shade of Magic — Kindle notes and highlights)
  6. "5 Questions with V. E. Schwab!" — Owlcrate
  7. "I wanted to write a book about magic, and multiple worlds, and then one day I had this image in my head of a boy running through a wall, trying to escape something bad, and colliding with a girl dressed as a boy, who promptly robbed him. The rest came from that collision."
    (V. E. Schwab on Goodreads Q&A)
  9. "Canon is tricky in Shades, since characters should be presumed queer unless stated otherwise."
    (V. E. Schwab on Twitter)
  10. "The only He[t]ero person in that series is King George."
    (V. E. Schwab on Twitter)
  11. "Not Yet 30, This Fantasy Writer Is an Old Pro" — The New York Times
  12. "My mum's English, and I remember the first time I traveled to London with her as a child, there was just something...enchanting. Coming from the US, where everything is so comparatively young, London was my first taste of true antiquity, of history layered like strata in a city, buildings upon buildings, new upon old. It always struck me as magical, full of secrets, and then when I decided that ADSOM was going to play on the idea of 'sources' of magic, the Thames seemed a natural pin in the map."
    (V. E. Schwab on Goodreads Q&A)
  13. "An argument for revision: the first draft of A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC had no Vitari. The black stone was a tool of magic, but there was no entity within it, no creature guiding it, nothing with a WILL. Thus, there were no possessions, no spreading sickness. Vitari was added in the first round of edits, that magical time when an author takes their book apart and searches for ways to make it better. As you can imagine, ADSOM would have been a very different book without it."
    (A Darker Shade of Magic — Kindle notes and highlights)
  14. A Darker Shade of Magic (Collector's Edition) — Interview between author and editor
  15. "True story: almost every one of my books has been a reaction to something I've read—or something I haven't been able to find. Exasperation, frustration, anger—they are powerful sources of magic."
    (V. E. Schwab on Twitter)
  16. "SHADES OF MAGIC was a reaction to landscape of fantasy"
    (V. E. Schwab on Twitter)
  17. "The current landscape = what's being published, what's being promoted, what's succeeding, etc. I read 3 books back-to-back where the female characters were literally either princesses or whores, always objects, and once, they didn't even merit names."
    (V. E. Schwab on Twitter)
  18. "I'm always playing with the ideas of doors in my books. The doors between life and death, mundane and supernatural, insider and outsider, and in ADSOM, I got to play with the idea of doors between worlds. It's in some ways a much more classic incarnation of the motif, but for me, it was entirely new. I loved the idea of creating 3-4 very different worlds, tethered to one another by only one key element--the Thames river--and diverging in every other way. I'm not comfortable leaving our world entirely, so I used a realistic London as a jumping-off point, but from there I got to play."
    (V. E. Schwab on Goodreads Q&A)
  19. "Interview: Victoria Schwab on Why Fantasy Is More Important Than Ever" — The Portalist
  20. "When I was writing Shades of Magic, my favorite part of the worldbuilding was naming the ships."
    (V. E. Schwab on Twitter)
  21. "V.E. Schwab Talks Bones, Knives, and The Steel Prince" — WWAC
  22. "30 min Q+A!" — V. E. Schwab on Instagram
  23. "dear #shadesofmagic fans, we have what you need. our official collection with best-selling author @veschwab is now live! ✨🖤"
    (Jordandené on Instagram)