A Darker Shade of Magic
I wasn’t sure going into this one, but I ended up liking it a lot. The opening chapter convinced me that the world we were entering into was rich and elaborate and I had a handle on the different versions of London as soon as the prologue was done in such a way that I was able to move forward in earnest. I often struggle to figure out the world of a fantasy novel soon enough to not lost interest in the story.
So the basic set up is this, imagine a kind of four fold plane of existence in which the focal point of this novel is the city of London. Each different London, whose name is acknowledged as a lingual phenomenon is a major city in the different worlds, but each world is significantly different from one another based on that plane’s orientation toward the magic in the world, so the worlds are Grey London, White London, Red London, and Black London. Our protagonist is Kell, who is a traveler among the different and who connects the worlds’ leaders, all filled in on the states of the worlds. The stakes of the novel take a long time to unfold, and this works for me as the world and the language and the story is rich leading up to it, as is our secondary protagonist, Lilah, a rogue type character who becomes embroiled in inter-dimension intrigue when she pickpockets a strong magical object from Kell.
What this book most reminded me of (but more confident and realized) is the opening chapters of Mistborn.