A Darker Shade of Magic - V.E. Schwab
This book is so magical. I loved it!

I was hooked from the first sentence.

Kell wore a very particular coat.

It had neither one side, which would be conventional, nor two, which would be unexpected, but
several, which was, of course, impossible.

It was so like "Howl Moving Castle", that wonderful coat. And not only the coat, but the portals to other worlds. Other Londons.

In fact, not only it reminded me of Howl, but of Harry Potter (the powerful stone= the locket; Red London, Grey London, White London, Black London= Magicians, Muggles, Squibs, Death Eaters; the soul seal= the Unbreakable Vow) and Kuroshitsuji (the dark Victorian setting; the battles; the colorful villains) as well. And if a book has a mixed of these three amazing and magical worlds, I am sold.

There are a mixed of wonderful characters. I like Kell, his different eyes, his magic, his nice personality, his love for his adoptive brother, heir to the crown. I like Lila, her bravery, her abilities to steal and kill if necessary. When she first makes an appearance, I was doubtful. Why, when we have a male MC, a female partner has to come? Or vice-versa? And every now and then I have this notion, but she was a great side-kick, and she was useful and not a hindrance. Not at all, like I was afraid of.

The different Londons was so original (I love this author). At the beginning I could not tell one from the other (as expected). So do not despair if it happens to you as well. [Basically: Red London, where Kell lives as kind of adopted son to the royal family, and where magic is common. Grey London, where Lila lives and it is a dull London where magic has practically vanished. White London, where the main villains live and where people are controlled and/or enslaved by people with magic. Black London, where it seems like everything has been lost, like the world has come to its end, reason why the other Londons closed any portal to the other world.] I also did not understand why Kell makes trades. Or what about the flower scents, or about the coins. Only once he meets Lila and explains everything to her, all is clear.

Even the villains were awesome. Just the names: Holland (Holland... **shudders**), Athos, Astrid... So evil and so powerful. Dignified. Argh, can't explain. I just like them, even when they were torturing poor Kell. V.E. Schwab can certainly write appealing villains (check her other book, "Vicious").

Excellent fantasy story, excellent world-building, excellent battles and magical artifacts.

The end was a bit weak, specially after all the adventure and exciting moments. Since there is a sequel, it is forgiven. I only hope that love triangle is a Big No in the next installment.

To my GR/BL friends: read it, specially if you like Fantasy. I don't usually recommend personally a book to my GR friends, but there are about 4 of you who I know will like this XD