Book: A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3)
Author: VE Schwab
This was my most anticipated read of 2017, aside from the last Throne of Glass book, although that book’s release date has now been pushed back (don’t even get me started on that!), so naturally I was equal parts nervous and excited to read this. Excited because I couldn’t wait to see where these characters that I loved so much ended up and nervous because I knew this book was going to break my heart, I didn’t want this series to be over and I was worried it might not be as good as I was expecting it to be. Fortunately, this book was everything that I wanted it to be and more. The characters were as sassy and wonderful as ever, the fight scenes were on point, the intensity was sky high, the villain was suitably creepy and the heartbreak was definitely there. It was, all in all, the perfect conclusion to this series. Here is a short synopsis of the book:
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.
(Warning: This review may contain spoilers for the first two books, so if you haven’t read those, turn away now).
You are thrown straight back into the action, the book picks up exactly where A Gathering of Shadows left off, so I would recommend perhaps rereading at least the end of the second book before picking up this one, even I had to flick to the back of the book just to remind myself what had happened.
I was glad that the cliffhanger involving Lila at the end of the last book was relatively quickly resolved, I was worried that Schwab was going to torture us with that reveal through the whole book so I’m glad it’s resolved within the first few pages.
The intensity throughout the first part of the book was incredible, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading it. In general, I was really impressed by the pacing of this book, it’s hard in a book over 600 pages to keep a reader’s attention for the entire time, but I felt the pacing in this book was perfect, fast paced in all the right places, slow when it needed to be. I never felt bored, I was always so excited to pick the book up and see what happened next, so hats off to Schwab for that, because keeping me engaged throughout an entire 600+ page book is no easy feat! So much happens in such a short space of time and it really feels like it when you’re reading, the pages just fly past!
I loved the flashbacks in this book, we get to see little Kell and little Rhy which was awesome in itself, but also Holland’s backstory was completely fleshed out, which I absolutely loved because I wasn’t expecting that in this book. I especially liked getting to see Kell and Holland meet, that was probably my favourite of the Holland flashbacks.
I loved all the sass in this book, the characters are also so snarky and Schwab has created such brilliant dynamics between them all, there’s not a character relationship that I don’t love, there’s the obvious ones like Kell/Rhy, Rhy/Lila and Rhy/Alcuard, but also the dynamics between Holland/Kell, Holland/Lila, Alucard/Kell, Alucard/Lila, they’re all so fantastic, they feel like real people interacting and not just characters on a page.
I loved all the Alucard/Rhy scenes, they are definitely my OTP for this series (much as I also enjoy Lila/Kell), their scenes were just all so adorable, and I loved getting to see more of them together in this book. I also loved that we got a little Lila/Kell as well, subtly so it didn’t overpower the rest of the book (this is one of my favourite things about Schwab’s writing, the romance is always the background), but just enough to know that they’re both interested. There’s also a very steamy scene that I’m sure other Lila/Kell shippers will get very excited about (it’s a really good scene guys!).
I’m not going to lie, the body count in this is HIGH! A lot of people die, and yet Schwab manages to make each death as hard hitting as the last. I’m glad she didn’t shy away from that in this book, it’s a battle, people are going to die.
The villain of this book Osaron was brilliant! He was so creepy, his presence so pervasive throughout the book that you couldn’t help but be scared of him. I can’t quite decide if he or The Dane Twins were the better villain, but suffice to say, Victoria Schwab writes excellent villains.
I liked that we got to see Emira and Maxim’s backgrounds a bit more in this book, it was nice to see them fleshed out as more than just the King and Queen of Arnes. It was nice that they both had more of a role in this book as well.
Rhy really came into his own this book, I’m amazed at how strong he’s become over the past three books, and it really shows here. He’s not relying on Kell to save him, he wants to do things himself and really get in on the action. He’s grown so much feistier, he knows what he wants and he gets it and I just loved every scene with him in it in this book. All of the characters are amazing, my favourite is still Lila, but Kell, Alucard, Holland and Rhy are awesome as well and like I said earlier, the dynamics between the group are just perfect.
I wish that the immunity deal with the silvers had been explained, I get that they were immune to Osaron but I would have liked to have known exactly why.
All of the action scenes throughout the book were amazing, Victoria Schwab definitely has a knack for writing action, the pace is always perfect, they are always riveting and vivid, it’s like watching a movie, the scenes just leap off the page. The final battle in particular was probably one of the best action scenes I’ve ever read.
I love Schwab’s writing, she doesn’t overdo it on the description, it’s not flowery prose, it’s simple but also really beautiful at times. I like that her focus is more on the character interactions than flowery descriptions as that’s exactly what I love. There were a few typos though, which I found a little jarring, although I guess that’s more of an editing problem than a writing problem. There was a particular quote that felt very meta, that I just loved.
There was one thing that nagged at me slightly, it didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of the book, but it just confused me a little, I thought Lila had already met the King and Queen at the end of ADSOM? But there’s a scene in ACOL where she’s with them and they act like they don’t know who she is? I get that a lot of time has passed, but Lila is pretty memorable? Like I said, it didn’t bug me, it just confused me.
I liked that things from the first book, like Lila’s empty map came back and had importance in this book, I love it when authors add in tiny details like that and they come back in later books.
All of the Kell/Rhy scenes made me so happy, their brotherly relationship just warms my heart so much. I love seeing strong sibling relationships in books and Schwab does this very well.
I liked how everything came together, there were a lot of seemingly random things introduced into the plot through the book and I kept wondering how all these things were going to tie together, but they all came together seamlessly. That’s one of the things I love about Schwab’s writing, everything has a purpose, nothing is random and all the plot threads even the seemingly unrelated ones come together in the end.
I loved that we got to see more of Alucard’s past and family in this book, especially as it led to one of my favourite parts of the book, when they were all on the black market pirate ship. Maris was pretty awesome, if a little creepy, and her interaction with Lila was just the best. Also I really want to go to the Ferase Stras because all the stuff Maris has seems pretty awesome.
The binding rings were amazing, it was so cool to read about them and just added another layer of awesomeness to the already amazing magic system in this book.
There were quite a few twists through the book that I wasn’t expecting and nothing about it ever seemed predictable, I liked that I was kept guessing what would happen right up until the end of the book.
The ending, oh the ending. Physical tears people. I am the girl that never cries at books and there were physical tears this time. The entire last part was just so bittersweet, there was cute stuff to be sure, but there was also heartbreaking stuff and just having to say goodbye to these characters and watching them say goodbye to each other was hard okay? I loved that things came full circle, with lines from the first book being repeated and overall it felt like everyone ended where they needed to be, which was great.
I really only have one thing left to say to end this review in the perfect way:
Anoshe guys. It’s been one hell of a ride. For all of us.
My rating: 5/5 for a stunning series conclusion.
My next review will be another VE Schwab book, as I’m reading This Savage Song for my March #RockMyTBR read.