Now, I’m not the biggest reader of graphic novels – they’re something I’ve always wanted to get into, but never knew where to start. So when one of my favourite authors, V. E. Schwab, started a series of graphic novels linked to one of my favourite trilogies, it seemed like the perfect starting point for this venture!
Thanks to Titan comics for sending me over copies of the first three volumes of the Shades of Magic graphic novels.
The Shades of Magic graphic novels follow Maxim, currently the Crown Prince of Arnes, later the King and father of Rhy in the A Darker Shade of Magic novels. Although both the graphic novel series and the trilogy are obviously linked, I just want to point out that you can definitely read these graphic novels without having read the books! Each volume of the series also works well as a standalone and it’s easy enough to dive in to one without having read the others.
“The Steel Prince, who tore the heart from the rebel army. The Steel Prince, who survived the night of knives. The Steel Prince, who slayed the pirate queen.”
Maxim finished his drink and set the glass aside.
“I suppose we never know the scale of our life’s stories. Which parts will survive, and which will die with us.”
– A Conjuring of Light, V. E. Schwab
Maxim’s epic adventures were certainly built up in the ADSOM trilogy, and although he perhaps wasn’t everyone’s favourite character in the books, he was certainly intriguing, and I’m so glad that V. E. Schwab both chose to expand upon his past and decided to do it in the form of graphic novels. Not only does this format make it easier to tell the stories of Maxim’s adventures in a fast paced, action packed way, it opens up the Shades of Magic world to a whole new audience, and I really think that this was the perfect medium for these stories. As mentioned earlier, each volume is contained enough to be read alone or read in order with the rest of the series, as there is a small recap of how Maxim’s world came to be this way as well as a cast of characters at the beginning of each volume.
“Once, there were four worlds instead of one, set side by side like sheets of paper. There was magic in those worlds. It was like heat, fading a little with every step, but none went cold. The worlds were connected, their edges touched, their walls were thin, and magicians could move from one to the next, sharing knowledge, power, warmth…”
The story of the steel Prince – as you may be able to tell, a prince with a skill for metal magic, who is cast out of his home to the city of Verose, is nothing short of thrilling. These tales that build up the legend who becomes King Maxim Maresh are filled with action and suspense, and despite being so immersive are also quick reads that leave you desperate to know what happens next!
Although the art style used throughout this series wouldn’t be my usual preferred style, as it’s very reminiscent of original superhero comic books, I have to say that it fits this story perfectly and that alone has definitely made me appreciate the art style in a new way! There are also some beautiful spreads featured throughout which definitely break away from this traditional style and bring the world of the Steel Prince to life.
Shades of Magic: The Rebel Army is available to order from Forbidden Planet (both their special edition and Titan’s main edition) Barnes & Noble , and many other places where graphic novels are sold!