My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I probably look very stupid right now with a silly grin splitting my face. My feelings are all jumbled up but I can surely tell you I am a happy reader!
I had really high expectations for V.E. Schwab’s writing and I ended up so caught up in the story that I blew right through it. Her writing is compelling (at least to me) but her quality was not as consistent as I felt it was in Vicious and it certainly was slightly disconcerting to read smoothly because it was a whole new world.
Since we’re talking about worlds, I actually meant
4 3 worlds that she had to describe and give certain characteristics in order to help readers distinguish between them. As most people have read from the blurb, there are three Londons that the story revolves around and I have never gotten confused between them although I understand that others initially might.
The characters are nicely drawn-out and I really liked their actions because they were deliberately demonstrated to show their personalities and motives that drive their determinations. It certainly built them up as who they are and showed what made them tick. Lila Bard was very troublesome to pin down and I was not sure why she went along with everything and I’m pretty sure she did not know too. I personally think Kell may have a certain type of despairing allure and charm that led her to follow him aside from her thoughts of personal gain of adventure.
“They got to their feet, neither willing to walk away just yet, and Kell looked down at Delilah Bard, a cutthroat and a thief, a valiant partner and a strange, terrifying girl…Magic bent the world. Pulled it into shape. There were fixed points. Most of the time those points were places. But sometimes, rarely, they were people. For someone who never stood still, Lila still felt like a pin in Kell’s world.”
Kell is so lonely because he is a wayward traveler who feels possessed by others and unable to relate to normal people who lead routine lives. However, his feelings of disquiet and dissatisfaction all fade into the background when the acts he commits are sincere and purposeful due to his loyalty. His upbringing is a posh and privileged one filled with love and care and lots of camaraderie with the prince. The brotherhood is just so strong and I love it so much!! There was a lot of foil and juxtaposing Kell against Holland, another traveler who had the same powers as him. It becomes even more fun when they clash face-to-face and fight viciously against each other. Kell simply grew on me and I liked him more and more as the story went on. He obviously goes to strenuous lengths to protect his beloved city and he tries to do the right thing despite killing so many.
Lila was like the sidekick of the badass superhero but she definitely held her own and by all means, won my respect fairly. Sidekick may be a too endearing term to ascribe to Lila because she rather stuck onto Kell persistently and insisted on knowing what the hell was going on. Her courage bordered on foolhardiness since she does not have an affinity to magic and every villain had magic. Either way, she’s a strong character and aside from getting annoyed at her mischievousness in the first dozen pages, I grudgingly still admire her stubbornness.
The storyline is one of the most engrossing ones I’ve read so far and I was so far invested into what was happening. The strongest points in the book are the plot twists which were really minor but brought a lot of fun as it elaborated and exacerbated situations. Everything begins to fall into chaos/place when the author weaved up tiny anecdotes in various parts of Londons to frame a bigger picture of the ominous current that grew to explode in the final part. My heart actually pounded when I read the battle sequences and I was thrilled to see how everyone was going to resolve the problems. This goes on top of the pile as having one of the most unique premises in a book and executing it in an exceedingly clever manner.
Even though the characters had a great development over time, the plot took the forefront and detracted from knowing them better. Schwab certainly didn’t write them so that we loved the characters since the storyline was what mattered.
It wasn’t a psychologically driven book and I almost feel let down because Schwab is well-known for toying with the characters. I felt as if so many people can play a deeper role in the story but I understand that it’s hard to develop characters when there is so much going on.
People seeking court politics would be find the barest minimum of it because magic is what the plot is centered on and it is fantasy so there should be some leeway. The concept of different kinds of magic is merely brushed off and we readers are expected to just accept it.
The ending was tied up too easily in the end but there’s a sequel so I’m not complaining since I still have several questions lingering and left unanswered.
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