Book Reviews

Review: Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince: 1-3 Boxed Set by V.E. Schwab illustrated by Andrea Olimpieri

As someone who hasn’t finished A Darker Shade of Magic, just let me tell you that you can absolutely read these whenever you want! Inspired by The Steel Prince’s backstory, these comics are fast paced, full of action and grit. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


Written by #1 New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab and torn from the universe of the Shades of Magic. This three-volume box-set, is the comic book prequel to A Darker Shade of Magic novel and is perfect for fans of bloody, swashbuckling adventure and gritty fantasy. Including art cards featuring the cover art from the individual books.

Delve into the thrilling, epic tale of the young and arrogant prince Maxim Maresh, long before he became the king of Red London and adoptive father to Kell, the lead protagonist of A Darker Shade of Magic! The youthful Maresh is sent to a violent and unmanageable port city on the Blood Coast of Verose, on strict orders from his father, King Nokil Maresh, to cut his military teeth in this lawless landscape.

There, he encounters an unruly band of soldiers, a lawless landscape, and through a series of incredible adventures learns what it means to be a leader and what it takes to be a future king.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Delving into the world of A Darker Shade of Magic was unbelievably fun. It was gritty, atmospheric, and actually gave me a great frame of reference for the rest of the books. Maxim, while he may be arrogant, goes through some serious character evolution in these graphic novels. The way he has to figure out how to be a leader, not just what to do with power. The ways that power acts in blood soaked streets, not court. All the nuances between fighting for your life versus fighting with practice blades.

The magic of the Shades of Magic Boxed Set does not shy away from sacrifice. From tests of fortitude, commitment, and reflection. Within this boxed set, Maxim has to learn that fear is not respect. That we can be born a Prince, with power, but not be a leader. Another theme I enjoyed was the exploration of the line between legend and truth. In terms of technical details, the graphic novels have a fabulous drawing style which almost felt sketch like and had great attention to colors. Additionally, the extra features (the interview and scripts) gives readers an added look into the comics. Into the process of turning words into a story.

Find Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince: 1-3 Boxed Set on Goodreads, Amazon (US)(UK), Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


Have you read any other prequel or companion graphic novel?

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