Shades of Magic Vol. 1: The Steel Prince TP
Publisher: Titan Comics
Release Date: March 6, 2019
Price: $16.99
Creator(s): V. E. Schwab (writer), Andrea Olimpieri (artist)
Format: 112 pgs., Full-Color, Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-7858-6587-9
Age Rating: N/A
ICv2 Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

Based on the Shades of Magic series, a sort of parallel world fantasy, this story takes place in what was once a world linked to other worlds.  Because this graphic novel was written by the author of the novels, the story flows well.  Schwab has a clear sense of the story, and is a good writer.  The only difficulty is that the world itself is so odd that this graphic novel is a tricky jumping-on point.  Thus, readers who have already encountered the novels in this series will have a head start in understanding the world of the story.

The story itself is sort of a prequel, but stands well on its own, with political intrigue, magic duels and even swashbuckling pirate adventures thrown in.  This is where the art of Olimpieri really shines, as she has illustrated fairly gruesome deaths in a way where the eye is drawn to the visual manifestations of the magical spells involved.  Battles, whether of swords or spells, become intriguing, and the weapons used are just odd.

Readers who like this kind of fantasy will find themselves wanting the second volume, as this is stated as the start of a series.

For older teens and adults, due to graphic violence and mature themes.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.