This series by V.E.Schwab were the 18th-20th books I read this year, it’s one I’ve seen on a bunch of rec lists and has been sitting on my shelf for a couple years now. I’m making an effort to actually get through all the books on my shelf this year and finally reading this is my first dent in pile.
An attempt summarise
This series is set in a universe where there are multiple worlds, each completely different from one another apart from one focal point; a London in each one. As Kel has named them, there is Red London (his London) brimming with magic, Grey London has no power and resembles around the 1800’s in our world, White London, which has consumed so much power that balance between nature and magic has tipped and the world is slowly being leached of all life and colour. and finally, there is the sealed Black London, where dangerous magic ran rampant and all life was consumed.
Kel is Antari, a special kind of magic user that can use blood magic to step between places and worlds. He is one of only two known Antari between White London and his London. As a child he was adopted by the Red London royal family, to be protector and companion to the Prince. Ken resents how he was adopted because of his magic, to be a sort of possession of the royal family and begins trading in trickets and smuggling them between worlds. One day he smuggles the wrong thing, an item containing a sliver of Black London power, which quickly threatens to destroy everything he holds dear. With the help of a cut purse he meets in Grey London, Ken sets out to rectify his mistake.
The second and third books follow the fall out of this magic infiltrating the other worlds, as they fight to keep the balance between magic and nature and save their people.
This is a proper high fantasy series, we’ve got magic, royal courts, nice little love story subplots (one of which is LGTBQ), pirates, thieves, proper baddies and morally grey allies. These books are a good read for anyone who likes the genre, I wouldn’t say I found it un-put-downable but I definitely enjoyed reading them, it was an incredibly rich world and great magic system.