Time reading: 6 hours
Thematically, I’ve come full circle–A Darker Shade of Magic, like A Natural History of Dragons, is in the general ballpark of historical fantasy, since Grey London–our world–is in the Regency period. I’ll have to add it to my list of magical London books.
This one was great fun–engaging characters, fast-paced adventure, and I love the contrast between the parallel Londons. The author pulls off a good balancing act with Kell; he’s one of the most magically powerful people in the world, but the villains are all up to his weight (and suitably creepy). Similarly, the super-powerful magical MacGuffin (MagicGuffin?) has the tradeoff of
being the One Ring corrupting and draining the user, so it gives temporary fixes to problems at a long-term cost.
I really hope future books will answer some of my big world-building questions–if the Londons have only been cut off from each other for 300 years or so, does that mean medieval Grey London had magic? Can Antari travel between worlds from anywhere outside the various Londons? But even if those questions are never addressed, I look forward to Kell and Lila’s further adventures.
A few minor flaws: Sometimes a little too blatantly expository, but the exposition was interesting enough that I didn’t really mind. Also, every now and then an anachronistic turn of phrase would pop into the dialogue–and it only occurred to me halfway through the book that the author was using American spellings.