Published: February 27th 2015 by Titan Books
Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.
Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.
Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.
I have seen the hype surrounding these books for absolutely ages now. I bought all three of them from amazon at the same time because I was absolutely expecting to love it – I had heard so many amazing things before hand, I wondered how I couldn’t?!? However… I ended up dnfing it *ducks*. I really didn’t enjoy it, to the point where I was forcing myself to pick it up. So, unpopular opinion is abound, people!
I think my biggest issue was that I wasn’t feeling any kind of connection to any of the characters. I often felt like they were superficial and I really struggled to actually care about what was going to happen to them – much less like them. I didn’t like the chopping and changing between the character arcs because I often felt like none of them had their own voices. To me, they all sounded pretty similar. For me, it is really important (especially in fantasy books) to have that connection to the characters because that is a large part of what makes me pick the book back up. When I am invested in the character’s well being, I obviously have to know what happens to them and if they make it to the end of the books/series. I wasn’t feeling that with Kell, Lila and Holland. I just didn’t really get it.
I also felt like the plot was slow and dragged. Maybe book one is used to set up the rest of the series? I don’t know, but I often felt bored and I would end up having to re read passages of the book because my mind had wondered to different things and I had forgotten what I had just read. I found it too easy to put the book down and pick it up again at a later time. The plot could have had a little sprucing up and been made a little more fast paced… or even have something of interest happen in the first part of the book.
I also felt like aspects of the magic system that were being created were a little too coincidental. Like the magic sword that Kell enchanted himself to stop magic users from being able to use just that. I felt like Schwab sort of bent certain aspects of it to fit into the plot that she was trying to write and I just didn’t really enjoy it.
All in all, I was expecting to love these and I just… didn’t. I feel a lot like I felt after This Savage Song, in the sense that it was missing something that should have kept me hooked throughout. I’m thinking that maybe Schwab’s writing just isn’t for me… I gave this book 1/5 stars.