Do you ever finish a book book by an author and find the writing so delicious that you just HAVE TO go on and devour ALL OF THE BOOKS EVER by said author?? Because right now I might just have a small (totally not small) carving for more V. E. Schwab books. (Honestly it is woefully addicting)
My blurb: More like my pathethic attempt to explain what is going on. Ahem. So we have 4 universes- each with a varying degree of magic and each with it’s very own London. There is Grey London (aka Boring Muggle Land), Red London (aka Sparkly Magical Rainbow Land), White London (aka Scary AF Murder Place) and Black London (but we don’t talk about this one because it’s dead lolz). The only thing you need to know is that this contains lots of blood, pirates, a strong aesthetic and anime inspirations (it wasn’t just me that got anime vibes right?) and incredible witty dialogue.
“Kell wore a very peculiar coat.
It had neither one side, which would be conventional, nor two, which would be expected, but several, which was, of course, impossible.”
– this is the beautiful line that made me know I will absolutely love this book (because I am a sucker for peculiar magic things)
I somehow went into this with pretty low expectations. WHAT WAS THAT RIDICULOUSNESS ?? I started this skeptical because I heard it was more adult thisss and not as good as Vicious thaaat (which I have not yet read but now I sure do plant to) BUT AFTER READING A SENTENCE ABOUT A COAT THAT IS MORE COATS I FELL I LOVE AND WAS READY TO GET DOWN ON ONE KNEE AND PROPOSE. Magic and sass?? THIS BOOK WAS WRITTEN FOR ME! After this I can safely say I will read anything V.E. Schwab ever writes. Just give me her grocery list and dear God I am sure I will sing it’s praises to the heavens.
Now let me gather my messy thoughts and put them in -somewhat- coherent pharagraphs.
First best thing about this book : the characters -which are my smol children (and because I have a soft spot for characters in all the books of ever) :
- Kell: Angsty traveling flower child that frowns all the time and should really stop smuggling things between the universes. He is an Antari, a powerful magician, and only he can travel between the Londons to deliver letters between the royal families. And he develops a smuggling habit that we forgive him for because we love him and his stupidness.
- Kell’s frown: …what do you mean this is not a character?…totally is.
- Lila: Is a feisty thief that dreams of becoming a feisty pirate. She is the ultimate sass king. Adventurous with no boundaries like honestly you would think you would draw the line when it comes to your life but apparently not. Also “she is not like other girls” but she makes it cool because gender rolls who.
“What are you”he asked, amazed.
Lila only shrugged. “Stubborn.””
- Holland: He is the guy that you feel kind of bad for but you also want him to die because he is insufferable and creepy. He is also Antari only less lovable (his lack of magic coat does not help his case either)
- The Dane twins: They are both evil snakes that would probably make friendship braceletts with Voldemort.
- Rhy : The raging bisexual prince of Magical Rainbow Land TM and Kell’s stepbro. But also not as much of a character as Kell’s frown?? I liked what I saw of him which was not a lot #why ( I mean I did imagine him to look like the love child of Oscar Isaac and Bruno Mars #beautifulmen )
And some more things I liked :
The fact that the characters were older- 19 and 20 instead of the good old 16. Most of the time 16 year olds act like experienced independent adults and here I am not even being able to go grocery shopping. (lol yes I am aware that I am 14 so who am i to talk but as a qualified gran of fictional characters tm I am allowed to be concerned about my dumb children hush)
Also there is no romance in here. I mean…not exactly none per say…there is enough shipping material if you decide to get on board of that (it was pretty leave it or take it from me). And THAT WAS GREAT because that means that the story didn’t relay on the romance to be interesting. It was like the sprinkles on a cupcake: a welcome addition but not too overpowering (you know I am hungry when writing these when I start making detailed food analogies ahem).
And have I gushed about the world building enough ?? NO I HEAR YOU SAY ?? GREAT THEN LET’S GUSH SOME MORE BECAUSE IT WAS INFINITELY GREAT AND WHERE THERE INFO-DUMPS PROBABLY BUT I DIDN’T EVEN CARE BECAUSE I ATE IT UP.
The magic was so vivid and realistic (how is that sentence supposed to even make sense …but you get what I mean). It makes you think a lot about systems and things like that especially in Grey London, which had all the magic slowly stripped from it and eventually forgotten. I found that fascinating and it raises some pretty interesting questions. If magic even was real…would it be worth it just knowing about it even though you can never perform it yourself?? hmmmm. (imagine me saying that while sipping tea intellectually)
Spoilers (!!!) :
I only realized this at the very end but- Lila has a missing eye?! And can apparently travel between the worlds with Kell?? AND SHE HAS SOME KIND OF POWER CONFIRMED?!?! …she is Antari isn’t she…and I am stupid for not realizing it sooner am I not…yup I am a slow one…
And Holland isn’t dead. YOU KNOW WHAT I ALWAYS SAY: NEARLY DEAD IS NOT DEAD ENOUGH! You really should have put 20 bullets in him, made sure he was double dead and then killed him again just to be sure and only after THAT you can send him to “The most dangerous and powerful place ever TM” with a powerful magic rock. He was breathing so we know we will see his ugly face again I am sure of it.
Tinsy Tiny Complaint : I felt like everything happened at the end in the span of 20 pages. Pls no my smol attention span can’t take this seriously. If it is too much action I will get distracted by all the floating specks of dust and never menage to finish reading more then one paragraph at a time so don’t do this to me.
So I loved another stabtacular and bloody magical novel- but are you actually surprised. It clearly is a recipe for absolute success. Now I shall long to read Vicious because people say it is better and I refuse to believe it until I see it with my own two eyeballs.
Now let us discuss this extremely aesthetically pleasing book because wow honestly. I am at a loss of words. Who was your favorite character? (mine was very obviously the coat) Opinions on Kell’s iconic frown? And did YOU consider Lila genderfluid? Let me know all of your opinions little pancakes (and now your pet names are food…yes i really shouldn’t write while hungry).
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.