A Conjuring of Light is the third and final instalment in the “darker shade of magic” trilogy by V.E.Schwab that I absolutely adore. I had to wait a while to read the final book. The review for A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows are linked.
ACoL picks up immediately after A Gathering Of Shadows ends, with Kell transported to White London and stripped of his magic, and Lila following after him. The source of all magic has taken over Holland and is on the hunt for more power. It finds Red London, launching an attack on the city and the people with disastrous consequences. The only way they will be able to survive is by putting old grievances aside and working together for the sake of their world.
Those who have read the reviews of the earlier books will know that I fell completely head over heels in love with this series, and this final instalment didn’t disappoint. With magic running wild they really need to stop being stubborn and work together, which is easier said than done when Lila, Kell and Holland are involved without adding in sea captain Alucard.
This book, this entire series, have had me laughing, crying, falling in love and curled up anxiously on the edge of my seat waiting to see who will survive each page, each battle, each use of magic. This book in particular ramped up the action, with battle scenes or fights and fairly graphic consequences of torture. There were betrayals and arguments and fights between characters with words hurled that stung more than a blade.
The characters were as wonderful as always. Kell, the rebellious prince who doesn’t feel like he is a prince. Rhy, the actual prince who wonders if he is really living. Lila, reckless hothead of a thief. Alucard, the disgraced noble turned privateer desperate to make amends. Holland, battle hardened and wondering just when it’s going to be over. And the supporting characters are awesome as well. In this book there is more of an insight into the thoughts and conflicted feelings of the King and Queen of Red London, especially in regards to how they see Kell.
There are some hilarious moments, and some terrifically sad ones. Holland was given a significant back story that makes characteristics and his apparent cold-heartedness make so much more sense. It also gives him a bit of redemption arc through his role in the fight against Osaron (the pure magic – Shadow King). Rhy is also given room to grow even more as a character, from the spoilt princeling in A Darker Shade of Magic to the man who has seen so much more than he should, a man who stands with his kingdom no matter what, and a man who would do anything for the life of his brother. Lila is unpredictable and reckless many times, and never really seems to learn from her mistakes. But she, Kell and Holland are supposed to represent ability to hold magic in check rather than raw strength so I see where that is coming from.
I love this world. I love the idea that there is magic, but that it has to be magic in moderation and even a world where magic is balanced has to fight. I love the writing, I love the characters, I love the scenes, I love Lila, I love that the consequences of magic are continually explored, I love how the politics of a kingdom and a people are presented. Basically, I love this series so damn much. Have a few of my favourite quotes from this particular book.
“Life isn’t made of choices,” Said Holland. “It’s made of trades. Some are good, some are bad, but they all have a cost.”
“What are we drinking to?”
“The living,” Said Rhy.
“The dead,” Said Alucard and Lila at the same time.
“We’re being thorough,” added Rhy.
Tieren curled a finger around his beard. “Love and loss,” he said, “are like a ship and the sea. They rise together. The more we love, the more we have to lose. But the only way to avoid loss is to avoid love. And what a sad world that would be.”
So if you haven’t read this series, I highly recommend it. I’m even going to a book signing/A Conversation With V.E.Schwab in London in a few weeks and I am incredibly excited!