Given some of the other glorious reviews I’ve read about this, I might have set my expectations just a tad bit too high. Don’t get me wrong, I actually really liked it, but it wasn’t the “amazing” experience I was expecting.
The cast is quite limited, but nicely drawn. The main protagonists tap eagerly from the default fantasy tropes, but the character evolution arcs are neatly executed.
The writing was OK, here and there there’s a gold nuget to be found, but they are sparse. I especially didn’t get into the combat, though I’m not entirely sure why. The fights are quite diverse and there’s a lot going on, even in a 1 on 1 fight, but the writing fails in making it come alive. I can’t help but wonder how, for example, Sanderson would have written this story. I’m hoping this will improve in the next installments though.
I liked the premise and the different magic systems, even though I’m a bit weirded out by the choice for London. If everything is fictional anyway, why on earth would you pick a real city to start from? Is it to invoke the feeling that “there’s magic everywere” ? Because that ship didn’t sail..
Oh, there’s also a whiff of a love story going on, and I must admit that I really liked the fact that it wasn’t super obvious and in my face. It’s there, but it’s subtle and doesn’t come near to fruition, which I respected. It instantly made everything feel more ‘adult’. If this were a YA novel they would probably have skirted around each other the entire novel, driving the story on some hormone fueled emotional rollercoaster. So kudos for bring a realistic feeling romance.
Overall I really liked this story. I had to warm up to some of the characters a bit, but in the end things had gotten arguably a lot better. It’s not your run of the mill fantasy and I really appreciate that.
4 stars, because I did enjoy myself, despite some minor flaws.