We’re back with another LGBTuesday on a new posting schedule- every first Tuesday of the month. This month’s focus is the Shades of Magic book series by V.E. Schwab. This trilogy is set in London in the early 1800’s and involves magic, thieves, a dark power, and parallel Londons.
The protagonists of the story are Kell Maresh, an Antari from Red London, which is a particularly powerful magic user with the ability to travel between parallel worlds, and Delilah Bard, a thief from Grey London, a world where the inhabitants have forgotten about magic and can no longer use it.
In the past there were four parallel universes which were strongly tied together Grey, Red, White, and Black London. The worlds were cut off from one another though after Black London became consumed with its magic power and now only the Antari, a rare breed of magician can travel between the three remaining parallel worlds.
Something from Black London has managed to break the divide between worlds though and Kell and Delilah must work together to stop this dark magic from consuming the other worlds.
Although this is an excellent series, I must note that there aren’t any queer themes explored until the second novel in the trilogy. All three books create an exceptional tale of urban fantasy and one queer character is introduced in the first novel, their sexuality just isn’t explored until the sequel.
The Shades of Magic series tells an epic fantasy story, which just happens to have queer characters in the novel. If you’re looking for a story where the focus is on a queer relationship this isn’t the story for you.
The story isn’t about relationships, and isn’t meant to be a romance tale or a coming of age story. This can be very refreshing when looking up queer stories in a Google search tends to return nothing but stories about the coming out experience which are usually marketed towards a younger audience.
The Shades of Magic trilogy offer a rich fantasy story which has compelling characters, as well as subplots which focus on relationships between both straight and queer characters. It’s definitely a novel series that any fantasy lover who is craving a story with magic and queer characters should read.
Find all three books in our catalog: