A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (Shades of Magic #3) / ★★★★☆
One sentence summary: Dark magic is taking over Red London and its people, and the royal crown and the Antari – the most powerful magicians in the world – must find a way to stop it.
Lila smiled. “The trick to winning a fight isn’t strength, but strategy.”
Alucard raised his eyebrows.. “Who said anything about fighting?”
She ignored him. “And strategy is just a fancy word for a special kind of common sense, the ability to see options, to make them where there were none. It’s not about knowing the rules.”
Her hand fell away, the bottle crumbled again, falling in a rain of glass.
“It’s about knowing how to break them.”
Genre: Fantasy/Young Adult
A Conjuring of Light is the third and final book in the Shades of Magic series and I found it to be a very satisfactory, very plot filled conclusion. So much happened in this book I sometimes wondered if it would be better as two books, but I loved getting lost in this brick of a novel and staying there for hours. This entire series has just been a really pleasurable, fun set of books to read. One of my favorite things about them have been their pacing- even though so much happens, they’re consistent, and none of these books have felt rushed. A lot happens in this final book, but it still kept a steady pace.
This books picks up right where the second book, A Gathering of Shadows, leaves off, and I loved how wild everything got right from the start. So much takes place within the first third of the book I kept thinking, what could possibly fill the next 400 pages?? This book took me on an adventure I did not expect, and very little felt wasted to me. This book was bloody, adventurous, heartwarming, and just a whole lot of fun.
While this book is full of bloodshed and action, it never stressed me out too much, which could be a mark of tension not being high enough, but somehow I enjoyed the ride more than fearing the outcome, which doesn’t happen very often. I think it’s because my expectations of this book weren’t through the roof, but tailored to the kind of story Schwab had provided me with in the previous two novels- I knew I was going to get a good, thorough story of adventure in a universe I’ve grown to love.
I love this series and while my favorite book of the three is the second book, A Conjuring of Light was a great ending to the series, and leaves just enough open to more in the future, which I hope Schwab chooses to explore.
I loved seeing the way the overarching plot from book one – which surrounded Kell and Lila – expanded to a larger cast of characters. I loved the backstory in this book, I loved the relationships formed and the exploration of them. I enjoyed the romance because it gots its spotlight, but it was never overwhelming, and it never hindered the characters, but only served to propel them forward. Also, I just loved the pairings. I ate up that romance, and I love the amount we got, which I felt wasn’t too much, but certainly not too little. Schwab struck a good balance.
Lila Bard is definitely one of my favorite female book characters now. I loved how Schwab wrote the female characters, which had a lot to do, simply, with their inclusion and prominence in what might often seem to be male dominated places, especially in older time periods. Royalty was not simply made up of powerful men, but queens, princesses, female guards. Lila wasn’t the only girl on a ship full of men. Vengeance and evil, innocence and meekness was not exclusive to any gender, any rank, any place. Any kind of character was capable of turning the plot in a new direction. Again, I found balance in Schwab’s characters, and I really appreciated it and loved it.
I must admit, however, that I really didn’t care for Rhy’s parents, the king and the queen. I knew the book wanted me to sympathize with them, but they were so unsympathetic in the last book that it made it hard for me to care. The chapters from their points of view were the only one I disliked reading and found rather boring.
I really grew to love the characters in these books and I’m sad that I don’t have any more books to pick up with them in it. There were some areas that I felt we deserved backstory and didn’t get it, which disappointed me a bit because that was something I was excited for. But I absolutely loved what we did get.
Favorite character in the series? Kell. Favorite in this book? Holland. Bonus: Hastra.
I only have one major complaint with the writing in this book and since I have not seen anyone else mention it, it may just be me. I felt that the first two sections of this book were written very differently from the rest of the book. There was a lot of sentence breaks.
For dramatic effect.
Or maybe to enhance the faster pace of the beginning.
I don’t know.
But it bugged the heck out of me.
So much so that it drew me out of the FANTASTIC way this book started.
Which is a shame.
But anyway, once the action settled, the writing reverted to the writing style I’m used to from Schwab, which is a bit denser and less full of breaks. She still writes with a lot of breaks, but the beginning I found excessive. I was relieved that the entire book wasn’t written that way.
Was I satisfied?
Yeah! There were a few questions I wish had been answered, which I’m going to address in a spoilery section below, but I’m happy with it. This series was a lot of pure fun, and I thought this was a great ending.
My biggest gripe? Not learning Kell and Lila’s backstories! AND WE HAD THE CHANCE TO LEARN KELL’S! Kell, why??? I mean, I know why, and I do appreciate it and actually like it to a degree, I know he was choosing his family and discovering his “real” one probably would have opened up a whole new can of worms, but I had felt like the first two books were prepping us for it and then we didn’t get it.
But even more than Kell, I wanted Lila’s backstory. I was SURE we were going to learn the story of her glass eye. Who took her real one? Why? When? Where? The thing that gives me hope that there could potentially be an answer to this is the fact that Lila owes a favor to Maris, the trading woman on the ship. I think that leaves a lot left for Lila’s story to continue on, if Schwab has anything in mind (which I hope she does). I feel like there’s still a lot for Lila to learn and discover about her own magic.
Also, HOLLAND. I loved getting his backstory in this book. I didn’t expect to come to love him like I did, but I did. I loved the team he formed with Lila and Kell, the band of Antaris with the rings, and the trust formed between them. I especially loved how Kell would never let him go, kept saving his life, even though literally no one else cared about Holland- because for most of his life Holland was the only other Antari Kell had known. And I LOVED his ending with the people from his past saying “The king is coming ” and him finally slipping into peace. Loved loved loved.
And like I said above, I was not impressed by the king and queen, but particularly the king. I knew symbolically how his actions were significant, but I kind of just felt like they were a waste and he didn’t have to die. Still, I’d expected Rhy to be king by the end, so I liked that.
I was kind of hoping Ned Tuttle might play a bigger role. But I still enjoyed his contribution. I thought that wrapped up the Grey London king of England’s interest in magic nicely.
All in all though, great book, great series. Happy Steph 🙂 If you’ve read it, please share your thoughts!!