Hellooo! This is less of an ode than a Victoria Schwab appreciation post. I recently finished The Dark Vault (The Archived / The Unbound bind-up) and it was the last Schwab book I needed to read so I can officially say that I have read ALL OF VICTORIA’S BOOOOOKS (erm- well I still have to read The Steel Prince… but that is NOT my fault it’s because my Enchanted Book Box got cancelled and it included my copy) BUT NEVERMIND THAT! I’m saying it’s official so it’s official.
Victoria’s my favorite author and Shades of Magic is my favorite series ever, outside of HP. I just seem to enjoy every single one of her books. Her attention to character details and her monstrous imagination is exactly what I look for when I’m reading and I’m super glad I discovered her with A Darker Shade of Magic in 2016 (I mean, it’s only been not even three years and I’ve managed to read her entire body of work because she’s so incredible!) So, as an ode to Victoria, I want to talk a bit about what makes Victoria’s books so special and why I love them!
SHADES OF MAGIC TRILOGY
THE BIG ONE. This is obviously Victoria’s most popular series, so I’m sure many of you know of it already and I’ll skip the summary; all you need to know is that there’s MAGIC, EVIL, HEROES, ANTI-HEROES, ALTERNATE WORLDS, PIRATES and more! All you could ever frickin’ want in a fantasy series is IN THIS SERIES. I will never pass up the opportunity to spout about how much I adore these books. Every one of the characters is so layered and I don’t know how you couldn’t find appeal in each of them. Kell, Lila, Rhy, Alucard and Holland will forever make my list of favorite characters ever, and FIVE from the same series is a frickin’ feat of genius. The world building is so perfectly done and you’re constantly on the edge of your seat because the action does not stop, especially once AGOS starts. What makes this series even better is that the conclusion is the strongest of the three books. It’s the book that planted the idea in my head that I needed to read everything Victoria had ever written. Everything you could have ever hoped for in a finale happens in that book, and it’s all so satisfying to watch come together and wrap up (not entirely though, since Threads of Power is still a thing- which I CANNOT WAIT to hear some more news about). Seriously, catch me crying in the corner whenever I talk about A Conjuring of Light. An actual masterpiece on paper.
VILLAINS SERIES (Vicious & Vengeful)
Vicious was the next Schwab book I picked up after ADSOM/AGOS and I loved it. When I read the synopsis and it was pitched as a Professor X/Magneto vibe I was like HELLO YES ME PLEASE. If you haven’t picked up this series yet (first of all, WTF ARE YOU DOING) then you should know that it’s about two college roommates who experience with near death experiences to give themselves superpowers, but it does not go according to plan. Victoria loves Marvel and superheroes and that love totally comes through in this series. It’s crafted so intricately because the timeline is constantly jumping back and forth but she writes it in a way that flows so perfectly. Her main characters are very strongly written and Victor Vale is no exception. The book paints him as a villain but it’s so hard to grapple with that fact when you just fall in love with him as a character. The dynamic between Victor and Eli is fascinating to watch unravel. Plus, this series comes with a gang of great supporting characters, with Sydney, Mitch, June and Marcella! I was SO excited when Vengeful was announced and it’s a worthy sequel to the greatness of Vicious. I cannot wait for the day when the next (final?) book in this series is announced. A great day that will be.
MONSTERS OF VERITY (This Savage Song & Our Dark Duet)
Monsters GALORE. This duology delves into the darkness of Verity, a literal monstrous city where a rebellious Kate Harker lives and meets August, a breed of monster that can reap souls just by playing music- though Kate doesn’t know that yet. This is just a truly DARK series that is everything I love. I’ve been waiting for a good chance to re-read these books and this post is just making that urge stronger. Victoria will be the first to say that there’s very little romance in her novels (BESIDES THE EPICNESS THAT IS KELL/LILA AND RHY/ALUCARD) and these books just goes to show that she doesn’t even need it. Kate and August’s friendship is pure and wonderful to read about and watch grow. The monsters that Victoria created for this are so unique and interesting and it’s hard not to be completely wrapped inside her fictional world. Our Dark Duet definitely has a bittersweet ending that made me want to DIE, but I still would read it again in a heartbeat (because I’m a masochist, apparently).
THE DARK VAULT (The Archived & The Unbound)
Technically, this series was supposed to have a third book, but Victoria hasn’t gotten the chance to write it yet. If she does, I’m ALL for it. This series is another example of Victoria’s excellence at worldbuilding. Mackenzie works for The Archive as a Keeper, whose job it is to return Histories (dead… spirits?) when they awaken and try to escape. I just wrote all about this series in my review of this book, but to hit the main points: the characters are great (especially Wes and Roland), the world is great, and even though the series hasn’t reached it’s true end, there’s still a decent amount of closure. I’m glad I finally got around to reading this one, because it’s a great Schwab series to have under any fantasy reader’s belt.
OTHER GREATNESS FROM VICTORIA
I love that Victoria is so dynamic and versatile in her writing. If I had to read only Schwab books for the rest of my life, I’d be set, because she has so many different things to choose from. In addition to the series I’ve rambled about above, she also has CITY OF GHOSTS, which is a middle grade paranormal series that is rife with Harry Potter references and cute characters that appeal to any age group. The sequel for that comes out later this year. There’s THE NEAR WITCH (which just got a pretty new edition), about an old children’s story that becomes reality when kids start disappearing from their beds at night. If you’re into comics or graphic novels you can check out THE STEEL PRINCE, a prequel set in the Shades of Magic world. You can also find some short stories of Victoria’s in anthologies like BECAUSE YOU LOVE TO HATE ME and the upcoming VAMPIRES NEVER GET OLD (soooo excited about). Right now, Victoria’s working on THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LA RUE, which I added to my tbr without knowing literally anything about it except that it’s about a girl who sells her soul to the devil, because OH MY GOD! What more could you frickin’ want. I feel like Stefon from SNL, like Victoria Schwab has everything. AND I’M RIGHT BECAUSE SHE ACTUALLY DOES.
In conclusion, I LOVE YOU VICTORIA SCWHAB. THANK YOU FOR MY LIFE.