Title: A Conjuring of Light
Series: Shades of Magic #3
Author: V. E. Schwab
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: February 21st, 2017 (Tor Books)
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.
“In myths, the hero survives.
The evil is vanquished.
The world is set right.
Sometimes there are celebrations, and sometimes there are funerals.
The dead are buried. The living move on.
This is a myth.
This is not a myth.”
Shadow has fallen over Red London and Osaron has proclaimed himself the true king, controlling the people with dark magic so powerful that even an Antari cannot hope to stand against it – not alone. Kell, Lila, Alucard and Holland set out to find a magical artifact that may be their only chance at defeating Osaron and restoring order to the Maresh empire.
Where I complained about the lack of action in A Gathering of Shadows, this book certainly made up for it! There was so much going on at every point in the story. The events of this book were primarily centered around Red London. There were some POVs from characters in White and Grey London, which made me think there might be another plot line, but they were few and far apart and nothing really came of them which was kind of disappointing as the different, parallel Londons and the magic involved in travelling between them is my favourite part of the world building in this book. However, we did get to explore more of Red London outside the city itself, and it was pretty interesting, especially the floating market.
Rhy was a much more interesting character in this book and he has grown a lot, coming to terms with his second lease on life and how it was brought about. Alucard was all right, I guess, he didn’t feel like a main character though he had a POV, but we did get to see his reasons behind leaving London and Rhy. We got quite a few glimpses of Holland’s history in White London – which was amazing background by the way, it really humanized his character and gave us a better idea of why he made the choices he did (to be frank, his was my favourite arc in this book and quite overshadowed Kell). Honestly, it felt like people were being unnecessarily mean to him when they knew he didn’t have control over his past actions. I know this is an unpopular opinion, but I found Lila to be such an annoying character. It wasn’t as bad as in book 2 because there are a lot of other things going on but still. For starters, she turned out to be an Antari with basically zero explanation. She is the only one of the three Antari whose past is never talked about. Even Kell wonders about who his real family were now and again and he is given the opportunity to find out in this book, but the choice he made makes sense. But there is no context for Lila being an Antari, or even having magic, considering she is from Grey London which has no magic, and the whole business was just too convenient – she’s practically a Mary Sue.
Going into this book, there was already plenty of tension given the cliffhanger book 2 ended on. If that wasn’t enough, the stakes are raised even higher within the first 50-60 pages and continues to rise as on one side those inside London’s palace attempt to hold back Osaron and on the other, Kell and the others set out to find a way to defeat him. Here’s the thing though – tension and anticipation is all well and good in a book, but when it’s being held at a point for several 100 pages with no major events, it starts to get irritating. It takes a good 400 pages before things really get moving which makes this book so unnecessarily long. I also didn’t like Lila and Kell’s romance – I mean, the potential was there, but it wasn’t developed properly and ended up feeling forced more than anything else. By the end Rhy and Alucard were more believable than Lila and Kell even though they had way less page time.
A Conjuring of Light was a good conclusion to this series and things were wrapped up rather neatly, though it felt odd that in a 600 page book, the final battle was barely 50 pages. I was surprised, however, that the ending played out more or less according to plan, which is just strange to see – there’s always a twist, and I was still waiting for it when I realized the battle was done. Overall, not a bad read, and while the first book remains my favourite, this series is still one I would recommend.
Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series: