Book Review: A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
Also by this author: A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1), A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2)
Series: Shades of Magic #3
Published by Tor Books on February 21st 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction
Also in this series: A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)
Goodreads Synopsis: Witness the fate of beloved heroes – and enemies.
THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED…
The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.
WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?
WHO WILL RISE?
Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.
WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.
I can’t believe we’ve finally reached the end of this incredible series. What a ride it has been and I’m thrilled to say that as fantastic as the first two books were, A Conjuring of Light is just as good as, if not better than those two were. I loved it so much that I feel like I’ve been flailing about it for days unable to come down from my book high long enough to share why I loved it so much. I’ve had a week now to calm down though, so hopefully what I write here is coherent and will entice you to pick up this series if you haven’t read it yet. I can’t express how much I’m going to miss Kell and his many-sided coat, Lila the pirate thief, and Alucard and Rhys, a couple so precious that they made me swoon even though I am not typically one who swoons. Anyway, here we go…
Oh gosh, where to even start? Basically everything from the first page to the last, but I’ll try to focus on some of the main high points for me and keep my thoughts as spoiler free as I can for anyone who either hasn’t started the series yet or hasn’t made it this far.
The Intensity. I loved that this finale picked right up where the second book left off, started off with a bang and kept me on a roller coaster ride until the finale pages. Sometimes the intensity was action related, as different people tried to step up and fight off the Shadow King, and sometimes the intensity was more emotional as everyone desperately tried to come up with a plan of action that could stop him or as they dealt with the fallout of each failed attempt to stop him. I was fully engaged with the story from start to finish, either because so much was going on or because of what everyone was feeling.
Osaron the Shadow King. A.K.A. my new favorite character that I loved to hate. I seriously hated everything about this character because OMG, how dare he threaten to ruin my precious and vibrant Red London! That said, however, I absolutely adored the way Schwab crafted this character. The shadows, the poisonous fog, and that oily blackness seeping everywhere were just so palpable. I don’t know that I’ve ever found a villain so mesmerizing.
The Wicked Barbs and Endless Sass – I’m such a sucker for great banter, and Schwab is a master of writing it exactly the way I like it. Even as these characters are frantically doing everything they can to save their city from dark magic, Lila, Kell, Rhys, Alucard, and Holland are still constantly engaged in these hilarious battles of wit. They’re nonstop hurling insults at each other, teasing each other, and that constant exchange of wicked barbs and the endless sass is what makes me love these characters so much. I also especially love the jealous exchanges between Kell and Alucard since Kell is clearly so protective of his brother. All of that snark just gives me life!
My Ships – Okay, so everyone who follows my blog knows that I’m not usually big on romance, so it’s pretty amazing for me to have not just one, but two ships that I’ve been rooting for throughout this series. But it’s true, I’ve been rooting for Lila and Kell to get together since they first met in the first book, and I’ve felt the same way about Alucard and Rhys ever since we first got wind that they have a history together. I loved that as action-packed as this final book was, as my favorite characters fought to save Red London from the Shadow King, Schwab manages to strike what was for me, the perfect balance between action and romance. We get to see progression in Kell and Lila’s relationship as they work together to try to save Red London, and it appears they could possibly have a future together – that is, if they can survive the onslaught of the Shadow King and the darkness he has unleashed.
The even more compelling ship though is Rhys and Alucard. Schwab also takes us deeper into their shared history, showing us what exactly happened when Alucard abandoned Rhys before, and she paints such a sympathetic portrait of Alucard, that I think even if you didn’t ship them before, you’ll be shipping them by the time you hear the full story of what happened their last night together. It was one of the many moments in this book where I shed a few tears when I learned the truth.
The Growth of Rhys – I feel like in so many ways this series was a coming of age story for Rhys. When we first meet him in A Darker Shade of Magic, he’s this flirty, kind of bad boy prince who is in no way ready to become King. Everything that he goes through in the series and especially the way he conducts himself in this finale shows that he has undergone a major transformation in terms of his maturity and his fundamental understanding of what it means to lead a kingdom. I adored his character so much that I felt like I had a proud mom moment watching him and knowing he’s now ready to step up and lead his Kingdom.
The Redemption of Holland –For the first two books in the series, Holland was one of the main characters I loved to hate. He always fascinated me because he was so different from Kell, even though they were both Antari, but I definitely never felt any sympathy for him. Well, Schwab got me in this final book. She gives Holland a rich backstory to explain who he was and how he ended up the way he was when we first meet him in A Darker Shade of Magic. Not only did his backstory make me sympathetic toward Holland, I actually even shed a few tears for him. Totally did not see that coming! I also love that Schwab not only painted him as suddenly a more likeable character, but she also presents him with the opportunity to fully redeem himself to those he has betrayed since we first met him.
Nothing at all to see here. Move along, people. Seriously though, I have absolutely no complaints about this book. When I first got my hands on the book and saw how enormous it is, I thought I might end up complaining about it being over 600 pages long. Not the case though. A Conjuring of Light is so damn good that I managed to finish all 600+ in about 2 days. I’m pretty sure I’ve NEVER read such a lengthy book that fast before!
As sad as I am to say goodbye to these amazing characters, I don’t think I could have asked for a more satisfying ending to this series. And maybe it’s just me, but I really felt like it was left open enough at the end of this book for Schwab to continue this journey if she ever wanted to. I’d totally be down for it too – even a spinoff with one or more of the characters would be fabulous. But for now, I am okay with bidding “Anoshe” to Kell, Lila, Rhys, and Alucard. May we meet again someday. ♥ (And yes, Anoshe made me cry too, haha!)