9 Rated Books Book Reviews Joint Review

Joint Review: A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab

Title: A Conjuring of Light

Author: V. E. Schwab

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Tor
Publication Date: February 21 2017
Hardcover: 624 Pages

Conjuring of Light[1]

Witness the fate of beloved heroes – and enemies.

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.

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?

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.

And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.

Stand alone or series : Third in the Shades of Magic Trilogy.
Previous reviews:
A Darker Shade of Magic
A Gathering of Shadows

How did we get this book: ARC from the publisher

Format (e- or p-): ebook


Ana’s Take:

Bear with me as I vomit my feels about this novel (and series) all over this review.

A Conjuring of Light is the novel equivalent of that joke that starts with:

A thief, a prince, an antari, a pirate and a dark wizard walk into a bar…

And ends with

….and everybody lived happily ever after.

Sort of.

This series to me = beloved.

Without spoiling too much: in this book, we see the consequences of everything that has come before in the series as I finally reachs its climax. All the Londons suffer but one more than others, with the London where our characters live taken over by the shadowy forces of another London thought long gone. It’s in fighting that darkness that spread that our characters have a chance to finally and irrevocably change the world and in doing that, themselves. Because make no mistake, this is a character-driven series and these characters are amazing.

Kell, Alucard, Rhy, Lila and Holland, all have their moments to shine and shine they do. One of the most important things about this book in particular and the series as a whole, is how the consequences of yielding magic – specially this type of magic – is not glossed over in the way it shapes the lives of these characters. To some, like Lila, it represents freedom. To others, like Holland, prison. To one person in particular, it means living when they should have been dead. This series is dark and complicated in the best way possible but thankfully, without losing sight of hope, love and friendship. It manages to end well, when I thought that was not going to be possible at all. By “well” I mean “well to an extent” because there are losses – and everybody loses something. Except for Lila, the amazing pirate-thief-antari (yes, because this is not a secret anymore to anyone, right?) wins at life and gets everything she has ever wanted and deserved. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, V.E. Schwab.

But going back a little bit: in the midst of all the darkness, and fighting for their lives and as Red London is about to succumb to a DARK SHADE OF MAGIC, our characters Kell, Alucard, Lile and HOLY SHIT, Holland get to go on a quest to find a pirate treasure. I am not even kidding, this is as delightful as you can imagine.

But not as delightful (maybe replace delightful with “heartbreakingly emotional and distressing”) as finding out the truths of all characters. Flashbacks show us what happened between Rhy and Aliucar all those years ago. It shows us what goes deep in the heart of Rhy and how not being able to use magic at the same time that magic is what is keeping him alive does to his mental and emotional state. We see who Holland is, what kind of life he had and what kind of choices he made (or didn’t make) and how that has had an impact on everyone – and oh boy, finding out that Kell and Holland knew each other for years and years and that explains why Kell has a soft spot for him. MY HEART.

If I have one tiny criticism to yield here would be to say that the novel is perhaps a tad overlong but I also realise that saying this means that having a short novel means less time with these beloved characters and I’d shooting myself in the foot.

I am very happy with the way this series turned out and I highly, highly recommend it to anyone who loves: adventure, magic (dark, dark magic), action + consequences, love, romance, did I say adventure and above all, fantastically well drawn characters who are dearly, dearly beloved.

Thea’s Take:

It’s a rare thing to find a truly successful trilogy. You know those trilogies, you remember them, you cherish them above all others. A tale well contained in a single novel is, for this SFF junkie in any case, often far too little. A tale spread out across several, five, six, seven volumes is far too often a bloated, obvious cash cow. A trilogy–rather, a trilogy done right is one of my greatest joys in life.

And V.E. Schwab, that cunning genius badass spinner of magical adventure and action and prose, has crafted a truly great trilogy. A Conjuring of Light is everything I wanted, desired, dreamed of–and then some.

Basically, WHAT ANA SAID x 1,000,000.

In A Conjuring of Light, the dramatic events of the first two books come to a head. I dearly loved the first two books in this series: A Darker Shade of Magic, for its introduction to three (four) terrifying iterations of London and some of the best and most beloved characters I’ve encountered in ages; A Gathering of Shadows, for its awesomely fun Arena setting and magical dueling (also PIRATES). My only issue with the second book, despite its high entertainment value? The fact that it didn’t do too much to actually advance the story–it’s a great distraction book, but is a lot of action to get up to an ending that leads in to the End Game of A Conjuring of Light.

This third book? THIS is The Return of the Jedi, The Return of the King, Death’s End. It’s the hardcore culmination of all the things that have come before, and the highest stakes showdown amongst the most unlikely crew of heroes (and antiheroes) to stop the darkness from overtaking all.

Let me just enumerate the things that I loved so much about this book:

DELILA BARD–the Bard, the orphan, the misfit, the ANTARI with a shattered glass eye from the dead and gone Black London. Lila is the heroine of my heart, the hardcore, brilliant pirate, the thief who settles for nothing and wants for everything. Lila comes to her full power here in this third book, she fulfills her destiny, she does everything she needs to do and devil may care for the cost. I LOVE LILA WITH THE FORCE OF A THOUSAND ALTERNATE LONDONS.

Secrets on secrets and backstory–we see Rhy’s and Alucar’s relationship in full, we know the extent of Rhy’s ability and inability to wield magic. We see the bond between Rhy and Kell despite all odds, we learn about Kell and Holland. It is all worth it.

The truth of Black London, the dark shade of magic, the demon that spreads throughout the uninfected lands, creating zombies in its wake–yeah, it’s badass as hell.

The intricate relationship between magic, man, and the world at large–everything is connected. EVERYTHING.

I loved this book. I loved it hard. I loved each moment with my favorite characters, I loved the fast-paced action, I loved the unraveling of the devastation of the world(s) and everything these characters will do to save their own worlds and homes and loved ones.

In other words–I loved this book. A perfect, fitting end, to a perfect, awesome series.


Ana: 9 – Damn Near Perfect and a 9 to the whole series too

Thea: 9 – Damn Near Perfection for the book; 8 overall for the series

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