A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Some great ideas here, but a really good book needs meat to connect those ideas together, and this just didn't have any connective tissue. My main complaint was the setting: why set part of the novel in Regency London, and then turn that Regency London into a stock fantasy city (taverns, cobblestones, thieves, boats). Regency London could have been a a romp of a setting (at least it is in all the other novels I've read set in this era, (see Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot, or Jane Austen), but Schwab calls it "Grey London," and it is indeed Grey. Perhaps because it's a series, this gets developed later, but that argument holds little water with me as a reader - I'm like Veruca Salt (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) when it comes to novels, I want it all NOW. This could have been a fantasy feast; but let's face it: could have beens aren't very much fun to read.
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