Author: Victoria Schwab.
Published: February 27th 2015 by Titan Books.
Sort: A darker shade of magic #1.
Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit. Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London - but no one speaks of that now. Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'. But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.
The world-building was a bit difficult to understand at first, with all the different versions of London and some new fantasy names that Schwab created. But, it didn’t take long before I was sucked into this unique concept and her great execution.
The basics of the story are three versions of London and once, people were able to transport between them. The portals were destroyed with the loss of Black London and now only Kell and one other Antari are able to travel between these worlds. He is the messenger of the leaders from these London versions and on one of his appointments he stumbles on Delilah, also known as Lilah, a cross-dressed thief and aspiring pirate.
It was amazing how Schwab created all these versions of London. It was easy to pinpoint out where Kell was at times, because they all have their distinct feeling. I would prefer to live in Red London, where Kell comes from. He grew up in the royal family and he has an interesting relationship with his brother Rhy. I loved Kell and his special talents. Kell has a mysterious air around him and it was interesting to riffle through his different personality traits. He is a very complex character and I have a feeling I don’t know anything about him yet, which makes me so excited for the sequel.
He has a wonderful dynamic with Lilah, a girl who stole my heart from the moment I met her. This girl is fierce and doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Dangerous? Possible chance of death? Lilah is up for it! She also pulls off to make people believe she is a guy and her ambition is to save money to buy a ship, so she can becomes a pirate.
The plot was great, fast-paced and makes sure you get to see every London. Kell has become a pawn in a bigger plot to destroy the world and to change everything. The villains are the perfect examples of characters you love-to-hate. They are sadistic and crazy, completely obsessed with power and magic.
Give me more please!