A Darker Shade of Magic is a book of wonderful coats, dark magic, and desperate adventure. And I'm not kidding when I mention the coats first. They're important (to me). Also pants. Lots of women who decide to wear pants and badass coats no matter what's expected of women in the various Londons that they hail from. If this books had been available when I was in high school, I would have been evangelical about it. As it is, I really enjoyed it and will happily read the rest of the series. I just don't need this kind of book as much as I did when I was sixteen (I still really love coats, though).
Anyway, more about the story, less about me. Our characters are rough, flawed, vulnerable, and infinitely lovable because of all of that. The various Londons that we get to visit (there are four, we visit three) are wonderfully gritty and real for all that you can only reach them by magic, and that they're defined by the amount of magic that they contain. The story is well-paced and just flies past. Like, seriously flies past. It's compulsively readable.
In the end, it was a little light for my current taste, but that's no fault of the book itself. I don't think I caught this one at quite the right time in my life to fully appreciate it. Still, highly recommend it, especially if you're a badass coats person like me.
4/5 stars on Goodreads.