I choose Red London…

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

We meet Kell, the magician, who travels between parallel worlds and who was adopted into the royal family. His early childhood is a mystery he wants to solve. He has family issues.

And we meet Lila, the nineteen year old thief, struggling to survive in Grey London. I am deeply suspicious of one of her bodily features. Not telling you which, as it could be a spoiler.

The parallel worlds are Grey, Red, White and Black London. One is all out of magic, one is full of it and Kell‘s home. One is cruel and one has ended, due to evil magic. I like how Lila puts it, when she and Kell meet and eventually team up:
“There‘s Dull London, Kell London, Creepy London, and Dead London,“…

Grey London resembles our world, specifically Regency England.

The story is a mystery, a conspiracy, an adventure and a fight against evil. There is smuggling, thievery, but sadly no pirates.

It took me quite a while, but eventually I made it to Part 5, a third into the book and finally, finally all the set-up was done, all the characters were introduced and something interesting happened! Yay! The high fantasy, full of magic systems, turned into Frodo and Sam, ready to go on an adventure. Imagine trying to reach Mordor, with Samwise Gamgee having a sense of humour. Anyway, that comparison is limping quite heavily…

Bottom line, this is well written, the characters have enough depth to be interesting, I liked the magic system and the parallel Londons, the plot is nice. It just didn‘t really engage me. It was ok, but I could have put it down any time and wouldn’t have missed it. It‘s unlikely that I will pick up the next book in the series (triology?).

Ok, well, here is what I think about Lila Bard… Spoiler!
(view spoiler)

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Farseeing story

Assassin's Apprentice (Farseer Trilogy, #1)Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“I’ll be teaching you the nasty, furtive, polite ways to kill people. You’ll either develop a taste for it, or not. That isn’t something I’m in charge of. But I’ll make sure you know how.“

Slow start, very detailed, a coming of age story. Just a few of the things I usually don‘t like in a book. This is done in a likeable fashion though and I even enjoyed reading about Fitz‘s youth.

Nonetheless the story dragged for me, it took a long time to get anywhere. And it was depressing. If Fitz‘s life continues like this, I wouldn‘t be surprised if he slit his throat at some point. No highlights, no redeeming events, just hardship and disappointments.

I finished the book, liked the plot, had my favourite characters (Burrich and Verity) and the preview into the next book was enticing enough. I might continue with this series eventually, just because it is supposed to be great and everything builds on another….? I would love to find a universe that I can love and get invested in. I am especially interested in the Liveship Traders…

2.5 stars, rounded up.

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So far so good.

Blood Stones (Child of the Storm, #1)Blood Stones by Manuel Bichebois
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A hunter finds an orphaned baby and he and his wife adopt it and raise it as their own.


The child has a strange sensitivity to storms, which complicates their life and leads to danger. Fantasy setting, feudal touches, pre-industrial, some magic.

The artwork is nice enough. The characters look human, with animalistic features.

The story was not for me, it felt too YA for my taste and lacked interest for me. I will not continue.

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Pretty fantasy story

The Swords of Glass, Vol. 1 : YamaThe Swords of Glass, Vol. 1 : Yama by Sylviane Corgiat
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Swords of glass fall from the sky…


…and change everything. Lovely artwork!


It looks as if it‘s done with coloured pencils and watercolour. The forrest animals are incredibly cute. And the landscapes are also really nice to look at…


Coming of age, maybe the end of the world as they know it, revenge and a quest… completely open end, so I will very likely continue with the next volume straight away.

The story is good so far, although not terrible original or mysterious. I think it‘s a pretty safe bet to say that we will look at a happy end at the end of whatever volume this story arc takes us.

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Prequel time…

Precious Little Things: A Tor.com OriginalPrecious Little Things: A Tor.com Original by Adrian Tchaikovsky
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A prequel to the magical novella Made Things. I enjoyed this prequel more than the novella.

It had a fairytale feel to it. The world was more fully envisioned than the novella. The characters remained a bit more one-dimensional though.

I liked Tam and that he wanted more for his child than he had been given. Poor guy.

The ending left me unsatisfied. It feels unfinished.

Can be read for free here:

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Oh no, it‘s a heist story…

Made ThingsMade Things by Adrian Tchaikovsky
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

You know Pinocchio, right? This is not his story. Here the Made Things or rather the homunculi come across as a separate world of clans and types with their own society and ecosystem. They connect with the world of humans via the help of the Moppet, aka our main character Coppelia.

This is a fantasy heist story. Not my favourite trope, it‘s usually too formulaic for my taste. Which this is, to some extent.

The story didn‘t do a thing for me. I actually considered to DNF this, but it probably doesn‘t do the story justice. I missed Tchaikovsky‘s humour. Maybe he is more suited to science fiction?

2.5 stars, rounded up (barely)

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