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Shades of Magic Vol. 2: Night of Knives

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An alternative cover edition for this ISBN can be found here. Written by #1 New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab and torn from the universe of the Shades of Magic sequence, this all-original comic book adventure continues the story begun in The Steel Prince - perfect for fans of bloody, swashbuckling adventure and gritty fantasy! The young and arrogant prince Maxim An alternative cover edition for this ISBN can be found here. Written by #1 New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab and torn from the universe of the Shades of Magic sequence, this all-original comic book adventure continues the story begun in The Steel Prince - perfect for fans of bloody, swashbuckling adventure and gritty fantasy! The young and arrogant prince Maxim Maresh, having faced the terror of the Pirate Queen, now aims to capture the respect of the combative port town of Verose - by taking the impossible challenges of the Night of Knives... and surviving, where none has survived before! These are the hidden, secret adventures of Maxim, from long before he became the king of Red London and adoptive father to Kell, the lead of A Darker Shade of Magic! Collects Shades of Magic #5-8: Night of Knives


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An alternative cover edition for this ISBN can be found here. Written by #1 New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab and torn from the universe of the Shades of Magic sequence, this all-original comic book adventure continues the story begun in The Steel Prince - perfect for fans of bloody, swashbuckling adventure and gritty fantasy! The young and arrogant prince Maxim An alternative cover edition for this ISBN can be found here. Written by #1 New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab and torn from the universe of the Shades of Magic sequence, this all-original comic book adventure continues the story begun in The Steel Prince - perfect for fans of bloody, swashbuckling adventure and gritty fantasy! The young and arrogant prince Maxim Maresh, having faced the terror of the Pirate Queen, now aims to capture the respect of the combative port town of Verose - by taking the impossible challenges of the Night of Knives... and surviving, where none has survived before! These are the hidden, secret adventures of Maxim, from long before he became the king of Red London and adoptive father to Kell, the lead of A Darker Shade of Magic! Collects Shades of Magic #5-8: Night of Knives

30 review for Shades of Magic Vol. 2: Night of Knives

  1. 4 out of 5

    Drewthereader20

    Just read this book in one sitting and liked this one a lot more than the first one! Cannot wait for vol. 3 to come out early next year!(:

  2. 5 out of 5

    Gemma ♕ Books_McCoy

    Just love this whole thing. Loved the Night of Knives, loved the art, loved it all!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Myrto

    Some scenes (and especially fight scenes) left me a bit confused and disoriented and I think I wasn't as invested as I was in the first volume but overall I enjoyed this. Happy reading!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    I'm only reading this because the first volume is a graphic novel nominee for the Goodreads Choice Awards, I had checked both volumes out of the library at the same time, and they are very short, so why not read both? I have not previously read any books in the Shades of Magic series or by the author. This is the second book of a trilogy of graphic novels adapting a single sentence from one of the novels. The protagonist remains unlikable but may be becoming a trifle less headstrong. The art I'm only reading this because the first volume is a graphic novel nominee for the Goodreads Choice Awards, I had checked both volumes out of the library at the same time, and they are very short, so why not read both? I have not previously read any books in the Shades of Magic series or by the author. This is the second book of a trilogy of graphic novels adapting a single sentence from one of the novels. The protagonist remains unlikable but may be becoming a trifle less headstrong. The art remains muddy and obscures the action. So when the young prince decides to tackle some annual magical challenge we see him walk through a series of doors and do...something...that lets him advance to the next door. And then suddenly there is a villainous Antari magician, which might be scary if I had any idea what the hell Antari means here. Since the prince becomes king in the novels, I think you can guess how little a problem the magician turns out to be. Meh.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Devann

    actual rating: 3.5 I thought the first volume felt a bit unfinished/rushed just because it was the introduction, but now I'm thinking that four issues are just not enough to tell the kinds of stories that Schwab wants to tell. This one was definitely interesting and a cool concept, but it seemed like it was over almost before it began. Also I still have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the artist. Still a good read and I love the extended background we are getting on the Shades of Magic actual rating: 3.5 I thought the first volume felt a bit unfinished/rushed just because it was the introduction, but now I'm thinking that four issues are just not enough to tell the kinds of stories that Schwab wants to tell. This one was definitely interesting and a cool concept, but it seemed like it was over almost before it began. Also I still have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the artist. Still a good read and I love the extended background we are getting on the Shades of Magic world, but I wish these were 6 issue arcs instead of 4.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Love, Jamie

    How am I expected to wait for this?! How am I expected to wait for this?! 😭

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lashaan Balasingam (Bookidote)

    You can find my review on my blog by clicking here. The accomplishments by the #1 New York Times bestselling author are not unbeknownst by readers today. Her gritty and deadly stories glow with an immersive and addictive quality that makes for a truly entertaining ride, whether you see it coming or not. Looking to continue her comic book trilogy by exploring the secret adventures of Maxim, a character that first made his appearance in the Shades of Magic series, V.E. Schwab expands her universe You can find my review on my blog by clicking here. The accomplishments by the #1 New York Times bestselling author are not unbeknownst by readers today. Her gritty and deadly stories glow with an immersive and addictive quality that makes for a truly entertaining ride, whether you see it coming or not. Looking to continue her comic book trilogy by exploring the secret adventures of Maxim, a character that first made his appearance in the Shades of Magic series, V.E. Schwab expands her universe through a new medium that makes for a unique visual experience. It is now time to find out if she was able to learn from the flaws of her first installment. What is Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince: Night of Knives about? Collecting issues #5-8, the story picks up right after events in the first volume, with the showdown against the Pirate Queen. Sent to Verose by the king as an exercise to not only redeem himself to his father’s eyes but to build his character and show signs of a future ruler, the young and arrogant prince Maxim Maresh now needs to earn the respect of those who live in the port town of Verose and to do so, he wishes to take on the infamous challenges of the Night of Knives, a four-part trial that none has ever successfully completed. As much as I wanted to remain hopeful for Schwab’s comic book series, this second installment further confirmed my fears for the fate of this run, with only one more volume left to conclude this little detour. Compressed in just four relatively short issues, the story never finds the time to give the reader the chance to care for anything that happens to a protagonist that only thinks about his rulership and takes decisions oriented towards his goals. The story also dives right into new lore elements, dumping most of the world-building elements within a page, before focusing on action sequences. Even moments meant to push the character’s development felt underwhelming and accelerated, almost making it feel like a waste of time. Although the artwork isn’t the most mediocre style that I have ever seen so far, it still struggles immensely to convey the world’s magical elements. It doesn’t help when action sequences are messy and many sequences felt choppy, leaving the reader wondering if it’s just them or if certain panels were actually missing to help connect the dots. The worse probably lies in the rough and unimpressive facial expressions drawn by the artists on this project that leave you bewildered at the bleakness of the comic book. Even the colouring is questionable, with some panels filled in with no finesse or nuance, almost as if it was meant to hide the lack of substance in the story. Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince: Night of Knives is a short and flawed episode in the Steel Prince’s life that fails to capture the magic of the series with its choppy and unappealing visual style. Yours truly, Lashaan | Blogger and Book Reviewer Official blog: https://bookidote.com/

  8. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    I loved the first arc, but I can't believe how invested and blown away I was by Night of Knives!

  9. 5 out of 5

    noah

    im not so sure this story works as a graphic novel. these trials maxim goes through happen so quickly in just a few panels that i never got a true sense of how difficult they were physically or emotionally speaking. then the trials get talked about like they were this great undertaking and im just like... ok.. he did it in like 2 seconds, but sure... it's a big deal..............

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stanislav Lozanov

    The art in this volume definitely looked worse than the previous one. Moreover, the story was not that interesting.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Maddie

    I had the same problems with this one as the first one. The art style seems to add confusion where there probably shouldn't be any (fight scenes particularly because they contain magic that's a bit abstract, distinguishing side characters from each other, making out facial expressions etc). I definitely liked the storyline a bit better than the first one though!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    blockquote>“Don't worry. The Prince has got this. He's clever.” “Clever isn't enough. All it takes is one misstep.” — Toro & IsraThere are tropes in Night of Knives. Trials, hiding in paid sight, evil clowns. But it's not a bad thing. They work. This is about character building. Showing another side of the character you think you know. I love the art style the demonstration between the light side and dark side. The way magic is shown the differences in themThe Steel Prince is named after blockquote>“Don't worry. The Prince has got this. He's clever.” “Clever isn't enough. All it takes is one misstep.” — Toro & IsraThere are tropes in Night of Knives. Trials, hiding in paid sight, evil clowns. But it's not a bad thing. They work. This is about character building. Showing another side of the character you think you know. I love the art style the demonstration between the light side and dark side. The way magic is shown the differences in themThe Steel Prince is named after and is about Maxim but for me, he's not the most interesting character that is Isra. I like how V.E. Schwab is presenting her. Isra is a complicated person, she hasn't had an easy life we met her aunt in the last book, in this one we see how she earned some of the respect of her men. She also cares a lot more than she lets on. But she only shows it to Toro and Osili really, because she trusts them. I just like strong powerful women especially in books aimed at ya audiences because I don't ever remember seeing that in books growing up. Isra is also something for Maxim to aspire to maybe. She's a leader of men, loyal and commending loyalty. She calls Maxim on his bullshit.I'm still on the outside of this world a bit. Though A Darker Shade of Magic is the next book in my tbr pile (thank you local library). I'm wondering if my perspective on this series and these characters will drastically change after reading that. I know why V.E. Schwab wrote this series and I really don't want to dislike Maxim. I can see Maxim changing, developing in The Steel Prince which is part of the point. It really is a clever series to my eyes. It's a good series regardless of your knowledge level fo the larger series.A representative gif:

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alex (h00kisback)

    4.5 Again, I LOVE LOVE LOVE to be able to see into this world and follow the character of Maxim Maresh. The art is beautiful and flows incredibly from one pane to another, and also I want all of the cover arts! My one con is that it's a little skippy when it comes to the story, I prefer a little more discussion or having transitions be a little slower, but I do understand this is just due to format restrictions. So yeah, go go go read this! 4.5 🌟 Again, I LOVE LOVE LOVE to be able to see into this world and follow the character of Maxim Maresh. The art is beautiful and flows incredibly from one pane to another, and also I want all of the cover arts! My one con is that it's a little skippy when it comes to the story, I prefer a little more discussion or having transitions be a little slower, but I do understand this is just due to format restrictions. So yeah, go go go read this!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    This comic has the most inconsistent artwork and the ugliest shading I’ve EVER seen. Sorry, V.E. Schwab, but your illustrator. SUCKS. ASS. A real shame! This could’ve been such a jam if only you collaborated with the right person. Alas, your talent is wasted here.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    I‘m still struggling to follow everything that’s going on (at the end I do get it) but I guess that’s for the simply reason that I am not used to comics. I still very much enjoyed this issue! I love the art and I‘m just intrigued by everything in this world.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sylvia

    Review to come.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Isabella (Stubbornly Bookish)

    3.5 stars Quite a few things felt rushed and the art style is still a little confusing. Still enjoyed the overall story.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Laura Henry

    I love this world and am learning to love Maxim but it’s hard in a graphic novel. Every time I read these I just need more. I don’t want it to end and it feels so short.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bridgette

    It’s fine, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first one. It also felt really short, but maybe I’m used to reading longer graphic novels.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Elyse

    Maxim is still in the port town of Verose, after defeating the pirate queen, and now must fight in the Night of Knives to earn the respect of his troops. But the Night of Knives is not all that it seems! Another fun prequel to A Darker Shade of Magic.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    I will keep reading this series out of my enjoyment of the novels, but I just can't help but feel like this isn't a great medium for the story. The art is amazing but I feel like so much is lost without the deeper explanations and insights that a novel can give. I don't know, this book just feels like so much is missing.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    I found this very lackluster. There's no sense of danger or powerful magic, no sense of struggle. The trials are supposed to be extraordinarily difficult and dangerous but it all felt like a walk in the park.

  23. 5 out of 5

    pauline

    really me-phobic of them to make me wait until october

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kristina Jagger

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. *3.75 I'm having a tough time with illustrating my feelings on this book, especially considering that comic-style illustration is not my favourite. That is not to say that the illustrations in this novel aren't magnificently crafted and effectively representative of the plot and characters. They simply just aren't for me in their density and high contrast. As far as the plot of the novel goes, knowing that the "Night of Knives" was never meant to be more than just a brief mention at Maxim *3.75 I'm having a tough time with illustrating my feelings on this book, especially considering that comic-style illustration is not my favourite. That is not to say that the illustrations in this novel aren't magnificently crafted and effectively representative of the plot and characters. They simply just aren't for me in their density and high contrast. As far as the plot of the novel goes, knowing that the "Night of Knives" was never meant to be more than just a brief mention at Maxim Maresh's past life, I thought Schwab did an incredible job on this story arc. Following Maxim as he enters the Night of Knives as a means to gain respect among the soldiers in Verose and prove that he is not just another royal, I was immediately taken aback by how effectively the competition was set up to expose who he truly is. Set in four different challenges, Maxim is faced with his own perspective on what it means to know your limitations and to grapple with how much of an impact your own vision of yourself has on how you live your life. While each trial is definitely shorter than I would have liked to fit the comic style, I think each message was clear despite complex metaphors and it really made me look inwards to recognize the ways in which my own ego may impact my life. More than anything, however, I really loved seeing Maxim stripped down to his weaknesses and felt we got a lot more from his character in this story arc than we did in the last one. The last thing I wanted to touch upon is the result of the magical trials. To prove that you have made it through, individuals receive cuts in their arm that symbolize each stage that they conquered. As someone who struggled with self-harm for quite some time, I found this to be a bit triggering and potentially even an avoidable thing to have included within the story. I just think there could've been another way of representing that success other than doing something like that. Overall, however, I did enjoy this installment in the Shades of Magic universe and think that as I return to the universe with my upcoming re-reads, this has definitely given me perspective for the Maresh family. I look forward to where Schwab will take us next.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lari

    *2.5-2.75 stars* I didn’t think I’d ever rate something by Victoria Schwab this low, but alas... here we are :’( In this volume, Maxim Maresh, lacking respect from the soldiers under his command in Verose, decides to enter himself into a series of four magical trials, collectively known as the Night of Knives, in order to prove himself worthy of his soldiers’ respect. Of course, we are told the Night of Knives is a big deal in Verose: most people quit after the first or second trial, only a few *2.5-2.75 stars* I didn’t think I’d ever rate something by Victoria Schwab this low, but alas... here we are :’( In this volume, Maxim Maresh, lacking respect from the soldiers under his command in Verose, decides to enter himself into a series of four magical trials, collectively known as the Night of Knives, in order to prove himself worthy of his soldiers’ respect. Of course, we are told the Night of Knives is a big deal in Verose: most people quit after the first or second trial, only a few have survived the third, and no one has ever survived the fourth. I read the premise and I was so pumped for this volume because I love stories with deadly trials and competitions, so I thought this would be amazing. Unfortunately, I don’t think the story was executed to its full potential and maybe that was more the fault of its format than the writing itself. It just fell a little flat for me. Much like when I read the first volume, I was left wanting more. More details, more time with the characters, more surprises, more suspense. This volume was pretty fast paced, but I think this worked against the story at times, specifically during the trials. The pacing didn’t allow for much suspense to build up, and this made some of the trials seem like a breeze. Most of the trials of the Night of Knives also seemed pretty basic and, in my opinion, didn’t really live up to their reputation until the end. There were also many moments (especially in the fight scenes but not limited to them) where I had to look over the art several times to try and understand what was going on. There are two pretty significant scenes where I’m still not sure I completely understand what exactly went down. I think this graphic novel could have benefitted from using more panels on some pages to better describe the movement/action in the scenes. Some scenes were just a little jarring. I did enjoy the first volume more, but I kind of wish Schwab had written Maxim’s story as a series of novellas or short stories rather than as comics, but I still love Maxim and want to know the rest of his backstory, so I’ll definitely be picking up the third volume when it comes out.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mary Drover

    My review for volume one is linked. This was definitely better than the first one. I’m still not in love with the art, but it’s growing on me. It’s just so unclear and not blurry, but that’s the descriptor that comes to mind. It’s got really hard lines, but no actual definition? It’s very strange. The story was a lot more interesting, too, though it still had that quality of just “and why are we learning about this?” vibe to it. We dove right into the action, which is something I’m usually a fan My review for volume one is linked. This was definitely better than the first one. I’m still not in love with the art, but it’s growing on me. It’s just so unclear and not blurry, but that’s the descriptor that comes to mind. It’s got really hard lines, but no actual definition? It’s very strange. The story was a lot more interesting, too, though it still had that quality of just “and why are we learning about this?” vibe to it. We dove right into the action, which is something I’m usually a fan of, if we’re then given any kind of reason why that action is happening or what’s going on in the world, but instead, this is more of the slice of life type of stuff that we saw in the first volume. No reason why Maxim is being attacked other than that’s what happens, no reason why all his soldiers still hate him other than he’s a prince and that’s how it goes, no reason why this Night of Knives is suddenly a big deal when we’ve never heard of it before. Which, granted, there’s an interview in the back where Schwab says he name drops the Night of Knives in one of the Shades of Magic books, so I definitely just forgot about that, but she also says that you should be able to pick these up no problem without having read the SOM trilogy, and honestly? Naw. You’d be so lost. I kind of feel about these graphic novels as I do about the Dark Crystal ones. They’re great if you’re already invested in the universe, and you’re in it to see Maxim kick some butt, but if not? I wouldn’t advise them until you’ve read the SOM trilogy and fallen in love.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A decent short read - while I usually don't mind graphic novels actual comics are a bit too short for me. I also think this was a cool endeavour and a cool way to make a prequel (since there's already going to be a novelised sequel series). However, I do think the format does make you lose some of the magic because the story is so so condensed and you get very little character development due to the lack of internal monologue. All in all, while It's not my favourite work of Victoria's it's a A decent short read - while I usually don't mind graphic novels actual comics are a bit too short for me. I also think this was a cool endeavour and a cool way to make a prequel (since there's already going to be a novelised sequel series). However, I do think the format does make you lose some of the magic because the story is so so condensed and you get very little character development due to the lack of internal monologue. All in all, while It's not my favourite work of Victoria's it's a cool collector's item and an interesting glimpse into King Max's life - as a huge fan of her work I'll be continuing to support this series regardless of my personal qualms with the format!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Haley

    Actual rating: 3.5 I love the Shades of Magic world with all my heart and I’m so happy that we’re getting more content. The comic form is really fascinating for Maxim’s story because his experiences are so action-packed and work really well visually. Unfortunately, however, I struggled a bit with this volume because I feel like this part of the story really needed more time. I understand that there isn’t much room to work with and I think V.E. Schwab did a great job with what she had. I still Actual rating: 3.5 I love the Shades of Magic world with all my heart and I’m so happy that we’re getting more content. The comic form is really fascinating for Maxim’s story because his experiences are so action-packed and work really well visually. Unfortunately, however, I struggled a bit with this volume because I feel like this part of the story really needed more time. I understand that there isn’t much room to work with and I think V.E. Schwab did a great job with what she had. I still really enjoyed this overall since I can’t get enough of this world, but I feel like the Night of Knives didn’t seem serious enough because it needed more time.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rach_Reads

    Another really enjoyable installment in this comic series. In this bind up, Maxim wants to earn the respect of his soldiers so takes part in a challenge that will test his strength in all forms - magical, will and physical. I found that the art was yet again super beautiful and the characters interesting but that there was less suspense and involvement of the other characters. This installment really is all about Maxim. He does grow a little as a character by the end, but overall this doesn't Another really enjoyable installment in this comic series. In this bind up, Maxim wants to earn the respect of his soldiers so takes part in a challenge that will test his strength in all forms - magical, will and physical. I found that the art was yet again super beautiful and the characters interesting but that there was less suspense and involvement of the other characters. This installment really is all about Maxim. He does grow a little as a character by the end, but overall this doesn't quite live up to the first installment. Still highly enjoyable and I'm really looking forward to the final bind up.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Arvind

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