I know it’s only been about six weeks since I finished reading the Shades of Magic series by V. E. Schwab, but evidence suggests that that’s long enough to miss it desperately.
Luckily, The Steel Prince is out now to alleviate my withdrawal!
For those who don’t know, this is the collection of the four Shades of Magic graphic novels published this past fall. These tell about Maxim Maresh—father of Rhy and adoptive father of Kell—when he was young and prior to his ascending the throne. His father sends him away from London to the small town, Verose, on the Blood Coast to impose some order. There, though, Maxim gets wrapped up in a tense situation when a infamous and ruthless pirate returns to the area.
(I rarely read graphic novels, and find that sometimes I have a hard time following them. That isn’t a criticism of this book, rather an admission of my own shortcomings. I’m trying to get better and read more of these though, so hopefully I’ll develop a better relationship with them in time. That said, I had a lot of fun with this novel!)
Returning to Arnes was great, and I was glad to see new locations. Verose has a distinctive, wilder feel in contrast to the familiar Red London.
Another departure from the familiar comes in the form of our protagonist, Maxim. We know him from Shades of Magic, but this is a different version: he’s younger, and more impulsive and naïve than we have seen before. I was not his biggest fan prior to this, but loved learning about his early life. And seeing him use magic is thrilling.
The magic is delightful. I loved seeing a visual version of it, and the way the artists portray the spells is beautiful and unexpected, especially the pirate queen’s magic. Although, my favorite part might have been when Maxim transforms a handful of coins into a sword. That was so cool! There was such movement portrayed in those drawings. The artists Andrea Olimpieri and Enrica Angiolini along with letterer Rob Steen do an excellent job on the motion, action, and settings of this story. And the characters look great too.
In the end, The Steel Prince’s story line is diverting—lots of adventure and daring escapades. Schwab’s writing is, as usual, excellent. She kind of has me wrapped around her finger lately, and that’s okay. More than okay. Her characters are original, and the world as fascinating as ever. The art is wonderful. Although I still prefer prose to graphic novels, I finished this quickly, and am eager for more (which is to come, with Night of Knives… someday. Hopefully soon)!
Overall rating: 8.5/10
P. S. Dear Titan Comics and/or Tor Books (my love), I found a typo on the back of this book.
P. P. S. In related news, I have experience with copyediting and proofreading. I can provide references and expand upon my work experience as needed. So… hit me up. 😉