There are multiple Londons: Red London, full of magic and opulance; Grey London, gritty and without any magic at all; and White London, a city being slowly drained of magic (and ruled by two ruthless monarchs). There’s also Black London, which is full of chaos and dark magic. No one goes there.
Kell is the Red Traveler, meaning he’s one of the few magicians with the power to travel between worlds. He acts as a messenger, but he’s also a smuggler. He ends up with something dangerous: a forbidden stone taken from Black London. It brings danger with it.
Traveling to Grey London and hopefully to safety, Kell meets Lila Bard. She’s a thief who just happens to save his life. The two end up running together, in an effort to stay one step ahead of those who want the stone’s black magic for themselves.
First of all, I’m kicking myself: why didn’t I read this book sooner? It’s amazing, a rush of excitement from beginning to end. Every character is well written and fully developed. Also, no character is untouchable, something I really appreciate. Too often in fantasy, there are no twists, which makes for a boring book.
Doubly great is the fact that Schwab didn’t feel the need to force an overtly saccharine romance, instead letting her characters, and the plot, develop naturally. Kell is fantastic, but Lila really stood out to me. She’s hardcore, doesn’t apologize for who she is or anything she’s done, and doesn’t spend time dwelling on things and feeling sorry for herself.
I’ll be rushing out to find the next book, A Gathering of Shadows, as soon as possible. I have a feeling I’ll be reading all of Schwab’s books in rapid succession. I’m so excited to have found a new author to love!
Have you read this book? What did you think?