A Darker Shade of Magic
V. E. Schwab
There's just something about magical books that makes me so happy! I definitely had ups and downs with this book, and qualms with the fact that there's a sequel, but I'll get to that in due time.
This book is set in multiple worlds revolving around the same city, London. Kell is one of the two magical people left in all of the worlds who can travel between them to keep communication between the Kings and Queens (the only ones who know about the other worlds). First, there's Grey London (as Kell calls it), where no magic exists. Then, there's Red London (Kell's home), where magic exists but is controlled. After Red is White London, where a brother and sister rule and magic is viewed as powerful and people will do anything for more power.
In Grey London, Delilah (Lila) Bard is a thief who dreams of sailing away on her own pirate ship. She seeks adventure and she finds it after stealing something very dangerous and magical from Kell.
Strengths: I really liked the world-building in this book. Although I thought it could have been a bit more elaborate on how magic worked, I liked the different Londons and seeing how different the people and places were through Kell's eyes. I also really liked Lila's character. She was all hard-edged and flawed and I loved her strength and confidence.
Weaknesses: The romance. Can't two people just be friends? Kell and Lila are friends, supposedly but they keep randomly kissing and then they don't really like each other? It would have been fine without all the confusion on what they feel towards each other. Also, the ending seemed pretty rushed. All of that suspense and world-building was for a 10 minute conclusion that was clearly set up for a sequel. Kell should have known better.
Regarding the sequel: I smell a love triangle coming. I just wish that Lila would end up with Rhy and be done with it because her and Kell don't make sense at all. However, I'm sure the brothers will be fighting over her. Also, kinda saw Holland coming back from a mile away so that's probably what will happen. I'll definitely read the next one and probably roll my eyes at the romance, but we'll see how it goes.