There are four worlds that are ruled by magic. Corruption has spread among one of the four realms. One world filled with magicians took it upon themselves to seal the corrupted world in order to protect the other three. Another would rather cease all contact altogether and live in solitude. Each realm is divided into four realms which govern the same portion on London but on different planes of existence. This is the world created by V.E. Schwab in her Shades of Magic book trilogy. The Steel Prince #1 is a mini-series that follows a well-known character.

Enter Maxim Maresh, the adopted father of Kell in the Shades of Magic series, who is seen as a villain. This is a tale told by the original author who wanted to give readers a look at Maxim in his early years, to give us a glimpse of who he was and who he would become.

The Steel Prince

Shades of Magic

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The Steel Prince #1’s pacing is exceptional and moves at a brisk pace by establishing Prince Maresh and his current standing as a royal figure. The issue doesn’t waste time and quickly lets the reader know that Prince Maresh has not one but two goals he wants to accomplish. He wants to prove himself to his father, the king, while also asserting the impending danger of the seals holding the corruption at bay. Prince Maresh fights for the right to explore the magic behind the seals. This  plea falls on deaf ears as both his father and several others have complete faith that such an occurrence is impossible.

The Prince raises enough of a stink that his father sends him out into the world. We follow The Steel Prince on his journey to the port city known as Verose. A city filled with crime and a hideous underbelly, Verose is possibly the worst city in the world when compared to the white and red halls of the palace. This first chapter also ends on a high note that will have fans of the series excited. The Steel Prince #1 ends with a tease that promises a greater threat on the horizon for Prince Maresh. The artwork in this issue is also used to emphasize the nature of magic in the prince’s world. Most of the action takes place in the crime-filled port city and the artwork is stunning when conveying magical combat.

Shape of Beauty

The pacing moves at a great pace and the artwork is stellar albeit a bit dull when introducing the port of Verose. Several panels are portrayed and framed in a way that makes the performance of magic exciting in the heat of battle. In turn this helps readers follow the action closely while also establishing grand set pieces and fights. The artist uses lines of magic across several pages and helps tie some panels together in clever ways. Red is heavily used as the best means to convey magical powers, and he dull background of Verose makes those color choices pop. The use of red as magic also creates a neat contrasting effect against blue color schemes. At one point an enemy combatant is struck by magic and the use of blue for human bodies creates a dynamic look. My only complaint would be that Verose itself looks lifeless and dull but we’re only given a small glimpse of it towards the end of the issue.

Will The Steel Prince be able to forge and test his mettle? Only time will tell in this series but issue #1 starts off strong. The only caveat is that it is a story that is further enhanced by knowing the Shades of Magic series. But it still stands strongly on its own.

Prince Maresh
Great Artwork and Color
Perfect Pacing
Verose Could Be Better

Review Summary

Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince #1 is a great entry point for fans and anyone looking for a great story. This first issue starts off to a strong beginning which will keep readers eagerly waiting for the second issue and the adventures of Prince Maresh.

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