A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V. E. Schwab
Publication Date: February 28th 2017 by Titan Books
Rating: 5 Stars
Genre: Adult, Fantasy.
Find: Goodreads | Amazon
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.
An absolute masterpiece. This is how you write fantasy. A Conjuring of Light was an intense, magical and perfect conclusion to the Shades of Magic trilogy. The story picks up right where we left off and the action doesn’t stop. With Osaron unleashing his power on Red London, Kell and Lila are pushed to their very limits, casualties are inevitable and they are forced to align themselves with the most unlikely ally.
The characters remain to be at the heart of this series and every single one of our leading cast have an incredible character arc.
There is so much that can be said about Holland in this series but all I will say is that his arc throughout the series is the most harrowing and heartbreaking. Getting an insight into his mind was a tragic journey but also made us understand his actions in the past books. His connection with Kell was also a fascinating aspect of this series and the emphasis on how Kell and Holland’s positions could have been the reverse was not lost on the reader.
“Life isn’t made of choices, it’s made of trades. Some are good, some are bad, but they all have a cost.”
Kell had his own journey in this book. Feeling the guilt of the events that led to Osaron’s dominion, Kell is even more determined to right the wrongs he deems himself responsible for. There’s still a sense of resentment at his treatment of being a possession but his sense of duty and loyalty to Rhy keep him grounded.
Rhy well and truly came into his own in this book and he had plenty of shining moments. With Osaron occupying Red London, Rhy is forced to become the leader he always aspired to be one day. He also had to do so alone, for a time at least.
This series has placed a strong emphasis on the bond between Kell and Rhy. There is no one without the other. They are brothers in every way except by blood and the strength in that bond is unwavering. A Conjuring of Light gives the brothers a chance to explore their own limitations and broaden their horizons and stand on their own two feet. They will always be bound but that does not mean that they are completely dependent on one another.
“…I would kill for him, and I would die for him, and I will protect him however I am able…”
Lila also came into her own in this book. In the previous two installments, we’ve seen her refusing to form any lasting connections, instead choosing to run. A Conjuring of Light sees Lila deal with her emotions head on. We see her mourn the loss of the people that lent her a helping hand, that cared for her even when she shut them out. More than that we see her embracing the people that have unwittingly made themselves a permanent fixture in her life. She’s still stubborn, she still makes impulsive and reckless decisions but we also see her work with the others and run towards them when she’s faced with a challenge she can’t face alone. Her growth has been a steady progression but she well and truly comes into her own in this book.
Romance has never been at the forefront of this series but there are two romantic relationships that progress in this book. Kell and Lila danced around each other in A Gathering of Shadows, but in this book they emerge as a team. There’s no denying the attraction between them and seeing these two come together was a delight. Rhy and Alucard also take some significant strides in their relationship. With the magic and spectacle of the Essen Tasch behind them, Rhy and Alucard are forced to face the hurt and heartache of their last encounter. Again, there’s no denying their feelings but for Rhy, he needs that sense of security. The hurt of Alucard’s parting runs deep and for them they needed to rebuild that trust in one another before they could be together. These two relationships are a perfect example of a healthy relationship. These guys communicate with one another, are secure in their feelings but still retain their sense of individuality.
Another key component in this series is the magic. The magic system is incredibly intricate and consistent. The characterisation of Osaron as an entity in itself makes the magic all the more vibrant and dangerous. Exposing the limitations of this magic made it all the more complex and unraveling it was a treat.
“Magic made everything feel so impermanent, it was easy to forget that some things, once changed, could never be undone. That not everything was either changeable or infinite. Some roads kept going, and others had an end.”
If there was one thing to note about this series is that not all threads are tied up by the end. Some of these loose threads actually made sense in terms of the characters choice on the matter. However, there are new potential threads that are left open to explore if Schwab ever decides to re-visit this world.
Overall this was a fantastic conclusion to what has been an intense and thrilling reading experience. The characters remained to be the heart of the story and it was a joy to see them grow and come into their own and explore the dynamics between them. The ending was bittersweet and hopeful and will leave every fan hoping that Schwab decides to re-visit this world.