It’d be pretty hypocritical of me to complain about a book being more style than substance when I literally purchased it because the cover art was purty. Who’s valuing style over substance now?!
And I’ll give it credit, it does have style with a bolded S. Our magician hero wears a cloak that has hidden pockets that can change the exterior; his companion is a tough-as-nails badass with a glass eye, they are on the run from the sibling royalty of White London and their thug enforcer (a former rival of theirs enslaved by magic) who have black veins due to their magical power… it’s a lot, but Schwab makes it work.
I just wish the story was as good. It’s not bad, exactly, but it brought to mind the Oscar Wilde quote about fiction – “the good ended happily and the bad ended unhappily. That is the definition of fiction.” The brother that Kell would do anything for briefly faces danger, and I didn’t even bat an eye – every villain gets his just deserves, every hero gets a halo – I knew it was all going to be temporary.
Granted this is only the first in the series, so it may have improved, but for a series about four different Londons, all with their own unique smells and experiences and colors, this book doesn’t really have too many shades of gray. Some ambiguity is hinted at the end of the book, but I’ll have to find out at the library; this went in the resale pile.