Victoria “V.E.” Schwab is one of the most recognizable names for science-fiction fantasy horror genre fans. But for those who haven’t heard of the New York Times bestselling author, Netflix’s new adaptation of her short story, First Kill, will surely fix that. First published in 2020 as part of the Vampires Never Get Old: Tales With Fresh Bite anthology, this vampire tale is only a taste of Schwab’s storytelling. Here are the rest of V. E. Schwab’s books to read if you loved First Kill.
Warning: Mild spoilers for First Kill follow. First Kill revolves around the coming of age of teenage vampire Juliette Fairmont (Sarah Catherine Hook). Having reached the point when she needs to take her place as a fully adult member of her powerful vampire family, it’s time for her to prove herself with her “first kill.” Calliope Burns (Imani Lewis) looks like the perfect victim — she’s new in town, she hasn’t got a lot of friends, and she seems an easy takedown. But Calliope has a secret Juilette could never have guessed — she’s a vampire hunter, the heir of a long line of brilliant and famous slayers. Soon enough, both girls discover that their problems extend beyond being the current heirs of a centuries-long cat-and-mouse game between their families: Their attraction to each other is more potent than their instincts to take the other down.
An enemies-to-lovers teen vampire LGBTQ+ romance? If this sounds like your jam, you’re going to want to read all of Schwab’s other stories.
The Near Witch Series
V.E. Schwab’s debut novel, The Near Witch, was initially published in 2011 under the name Victoria Schwab, but more recently was republished in 2019 under her now-ubiquitous V. E. Schwab moniker. The story centers around the myth of the Near Witch, which tells children if a witch calls at night not to answer. But when children start disappearing, it seems a witch might be calling after all. Schwab’s short story, “The Ash-Born Boy,” is the story’s prequel.
The Archived Series
Schwab’s follow-up series in 2013 was The Archive, a story centered on an otherworldly library, which contains the bodies of everyone who has ever died. Young keeper Mackenzie Bishop discovers the library has been compromised by a traitor inside the walls and must determine who it is before the violent histories from the bodies escape into our world. In the follow-up novel, 2014’s The Unbound, Mackenzie’s junior year is interrupted by people disappearing, with her at the center of the mess.
The series continues in the 2015 short story “Leave the Window Open,” which functions as an epilogue to the two books. There is a conclusion to the trilogy, The Returned, but it’s not out yet.
Villains Duology & Graphic Novel
Schwab’s first series published under the V.E. moniker began with the 2013 short story “Warm-Up,” which was the prelude to her first major bestseller, Vicious. A breakdown of superhero archetypes, Vicious centers around college roommates Victor and Eli, who discover superhuman abilities are created via near-death experiences. Fast forward a decade, and the two have become arch enemies, hellbent on taking the other down. The 2018 follow-up, Vengeful, finds a reanimated Victor still out for revenge. There’s also an in-between story, ExtraOrdinary, published as a graphic novel in 2021.
Everyday Angel series
Following her hit Vicious, Schwab debuted three novels in a middle-grade trilogy called the Everyday Angel series. The first installment, New Beginnings, introduces Aria, who might pass for an average 12-year-old girl, but is a guardian angel who can dream things into existence and change small things that affect the whole world. The series’ other titles are Second Chances and Last Wishes, and all three are perfect for introducing younger siblings and middle schoolers to Schwab’s work.
Shades of Magic Series & Graphic Novels
Back to adult fiction, Schwab began the Shades of Magic series in 2015 with the bestselling A Darker Shade of Magic, a story about the Antari, magicians able to travel between three multiverses in London, known as Red, Grey, and White. After an exchange goes wrong, the Red London ambassador (in reality, a smuggler), Kell, escapes to Grey London and is saved by a cut-purse, Delilah. Over the trilogy, which includes 2016’s A Gathering of Shadows and 2017’s A Conjuring of Light, the two find they must team up to save all three worlds.
Schwab followed the books with a trilogy of graphic novels set in the same world: The Steel Prince, Night of Knives, and The Rebel Army. The Shades of London series is in development to be made into movies, adapted by Derek Kolstad, the man behind the John Wick franchise, so this is one for the TBR pile for sure.
Cassidy Blake Series
The Cassidy Blake series is Schwab’s second middle-grade trilogy, about a family of ghost hunters, the Blakes. Mama and Papa Blake are inept, but their daughter, Cassidy, not only can see ghosts, but she’s also BFFs with one, a boy by the name of Jacob. In the first novel, 2018’s City of Ghosts, Cassidy has to decide if she wants to use her gifts for ghost hunting or to help ghosts pass on to the next world. The follow-up, 2019’s Tunnel of Bones, takes the family to Paris, while 2021’s Bridge of Souls heads to New Orleans, where Cassidy meets all new spirits in need of help.
Monsters of Verity Series
The Monsters of Verity series is a duology Schwab wrote from 2016 to 2017. The first novel, This Savage Song, introduces Verity, a city where acts of violence create real-life monsters. Kate Harker is a monster hunter and heir to the human half of the city, while monster August Flynn is destined to rule the other half. The first book follows their tumultuous relationship. The follow-up, Our Dark Duet, brings the two together again when a chaos monster threatens the city.
Schwab’s most recent release is a new graphic novel, Gallant, aimed more at YA readers. It’s a standalone story of the orphaned Olivia Prior, who is invited to return home to Gallant only to discover her home is a gateway to another universe that ruined her family and could destroy her.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
Schwab’s only standalone novel so far, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, was nominated for the 2020 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel. It’s one part historical fantasy set in 1710s France, one part urban fantasy set in present-day NYC. The titular Addie LaRue, readers learn in flashbacks, was blessed with eternal life by a god of the night, Luc, for as long as she wanted. There’s just one caveat: She can never meet people more than once, and they will not remember her after.
And when it’s time to watch Schwab’s stories come to life again, all episodes of First Kill are streaming on Netflix.
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