You’ve finally finished the Harry Potter series, and now you wander from book to book, never fully satisfied with stories that pale in comparison to the adventures of Harry, Ron, and Hermoine. No one can fill the void left behind by the magical world of Hogwarts.
Until now, that is.
Author of various magical novels, such as the Shades of Magic trilogy, Vicious, and The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, V.E. Schwab sucks you into lush, mystical worlds and formulates fresh storylines guaranteed to grab you and not let go until your eyes glaze over the very last page.
Her novels twist established character tropes, like the rogue royal or the lowly pickpocket, and revitalizes them with her modern, unique touch fit for her tumultuous storylines. She’s not afraid of including realistic, diverse queer characters that contribute to the storyline (and don’t needlessly die in the end), a major plus that the Harry Potter series unfortunately lacks.
While the novels rest on the darker side compared to Harry Potter, they’re an easy and engaging transition to other magical universes just as wondrous as Hogwarts. Her fabricated locations pack so much rich detail that they appear almost real, similar to Diagon Alley or Gringot’s, and the darkness remains alluring in its contrast to Harry Potter’s soft edges.
Schwab’s heroes make you want to root for them, while occasionally hating the choices they make. They stumble a lot more than the stars of Harry Potter, but they remain just as intoxicatingly lovable. She expertly builds language, hierarchies, and interpersonal conflict so real you feel as if they’ve always existed, and you just happened to finally stumble upon them.
THE RECOMMENDATION: A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC
The first in the three-book shades of magic series packs quite the punch, with a textured backstory and never-ending conflict making it the perfect follow-up for a Potterhead, and it doesn’t hurt that a movie adaptation is in the works. A Darker Shade of Magic follows Kell, a London traveler who can walk through worlds, as he hops between the magical realms of Red, White, Black, and the magicless Grey London.
As an adopted member of the powerful Red world and the royal family that rules it, he traverses between the universes to deliver covert messages to the other kingdoms. Each comes with its own challenges; a murderous White king and queen, a magic-hungry Grey king, and a vacant Black world overwhelmed by the magic that used to inhabit it.
As one of the last magical travelers in existence, Kell must balance his allegiance to his royal pseudo-family, bloodthirsty crowns, a sharp-tongued pickpocket, and his mysterious birth.
If you missed the fantastical world of Harry Potter and the seemingly unbeatable odds he was often up against, A Darker Shade of Magic is waiting for you.
featured image via amazon