Witness the fate of beloved heroes and notorious foes in the heart-stopping conclusion to V.E. Schwab’s New York Times bestselling Shades of Magic trilogy.
*Kirkus' Best Fiction of 2017*
This edition will include the following special features:
*Full glossary of terms from the entire series
*Q&A between V.E. Schwab and her editor
As darkness sweeps the Maresh Empire, the once precarious balance of power among the four Londons has reached its breaking point.
In the wake of tragedy, Kellonce assumed to be the last surviving Antaribegins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. Lila Bard, once a commonplacebut never commonthief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry.
An ancient enemy returns to claim a city while a fallen hero tries to save a kingdom in decay. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.
Shades of Magic series
1. A Darker Shade of Magic
2. A Gathering of Shadows
3. A Conjuring of Light
About the Author
VICTORIA “V.E.” SCHWAB is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books, including the acclaimed Shades of Magic series, This Savage Song, Our Dark Duet and Vicious. Her work has received critical acclaim, been featured in the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Washington Post and more, translated into more than a dozen languages, and has been optioned for television and film. When she’s not haunting Paris streets or trudging up English hillsides, she splits her time between Nashville, TN and Edinburgh, Scotland and is usually tucked in the corner of a coffee shop, dreaming up monsters.
Read an Excerpt
A Conjuring of Light
By V.E. Schwab
Tom Doherty AssociatesCopyright © 2017 Victoria Schwab
All rights reserved.
Delilah Bard — always a thief, recently a magician, and one day, hopefully, a pirate — was running as fast as she could.
Hold on, Kell, she thought as she sprinted through the streets of Red London, still clutching the shard of stone that had once been part of Astrid Dane's mouth. A token stolen in another life, when magic and the idea of multiple worlds were new to her. When she had only just discovered that people could be possessed, or bound like rope, or turned to stone.
Fireworks thundered in the distance, met by cheers and chants and music, all the sounds of a city celebrating the end of the Essen Tasch, the tournament of magic. A city oblivious to the horror happening at its heart. And back at the palace, the prince of Arnes — Rhy — was dying, which meant that somewhere, a world away, so was Kell.
Kell. The name rang through her with all the force of an order, a plea.
Lila reached the road she was looking for and staggered to a stop, knife already out, blade pressing to the flesh of her hand. Her heart pounded as she turned her back on the chaos and pressed her bleeding palm — and the stone still curled within it — to the nearest wall.
Twice before Lila had made this journey, but always as a passenger.
Always using Kell's magic.
Never her own.
And never alone.
But there was no time to think, no time to be afraid, and certainly no time to wait.
Chest heaving and pulse high, Lila swallowed and said the words, as boldly as she could. Words that belonged only on the lips of a blood magician. An Antari. Like Holland. Like Kell.
The magic sang up her arm, and through her chest, and then the city lurched around her, gravity twisting as the world gave way.
Lila thought it would be easy or, at least, simple.
Something you either survived, or did not.
She was wrong.CHAPTER 2
A world away, Holland was drowning.
He fought to the surface of his own mind, only to be forced back down into the dark water by a will as strong as iron. He fought, and clawed, and gasped for air, strength leaching out with every violent thrash, every desperate struggle. It was worse than dying, because dying gave way to death, and this did not.
There was no light. No air. No strength. It had all been taken, severed, leaving only darkness and, somewhere beyond the crush, a voice shouting his name.
Kell's voice —
Too far away.
Holland's grip faltered, slipped, and he was sinking again.
All he had ever wanted was to bring the magic back — to see his world spared from its slow, inexorable death — a death caused first by the fear of another London, and then by the fear of his own.
All Holland wanted was to see his world restored.
He knew the legends — the dreams — of a magician powerful enough to do it. Strong enough to breathe air back into its starved lungs, to quicken its dying heart.
For as long as Holland could remember, that was all he'd wanted.
And for as long as Holland could remember, he had wanted the magician to be him.
Even before the darkness bloomed across his eye, branding him with the mark of power, he'd wanted it to be him. He'd stood on the banks of the Sijlt as a child, skating stones across the frozen surface, imagining that he would be the one to crack the ice. Stood in the Silver Wood as a grown man, praying for the strength to protect his home. He'd never wanted to be king, though in the stories the magician always was. He didn't want to rule the world. He only wanted to save it.
Athos Dane had called this arrogance, that first night, when Holland was dragged, bleeding and half conscious, into the new king's chambers. Arrogance and pride, he'd chided, as he carved his curse into Holland's skin.
Things to be broken.
And Athos had. He'd broken Holland one bone, one day, one order at a time. Until all Holland wanted, more than the ability to save his world, more than the strength to bring the magic back, more than anything, was for it to end.
It was cowardice, he knew, but cowardice came so much easier than hope.
And in that moment by the bridge, when Holland lowered his guard and let the spoiled princeling Kell drive the metal bar through his chest, the first thing he felt — the first and last and only thing he felt — was relief.
That it was finally over.
Only it wasn't.
It is a hard thing, to kill an Antari.
When Holland woke, lying in a dead garden, in a dead city, in a dead world, the first thing he felt then was pain. The second thing was freedom. Athos Dane's hold was gone, and Holland was alive — broken, but alive.
Trapped in a wounded body in a world with no door at the mercy of another king. But this time, he had a choice.
A chance to set things right.
He'd stood, half dead, before the onyx throne, and spoken to the king carved in stone, and traded freedom for a chance to save his London, to see it bloom again. Holland made the deal, paid with his own body and soul. And with the shadow king's power, he had finally brought the magic back, seen his world bloom into color, his people's hope revived, his city restored.
He'd done everything he could, given up everything he had, to keep it safe.
But it still was not enough.
Not for the shadow king, who always wanted more, who grew stronger every day and craved chaos, magic in its truest form, power without control.
Holland was losing hold of the monster in his skin.
And so he'd done the only thing he could.
He'd offered Osaron another vessel.
"Very well ..." said the king, the demon, the god. "But if they cannot be persuaded, I will keep your body as my own."
And Holland agreed — how could he not?
Anything for London.
And Kell — spoiled, childish, headstrong Kell, broken and powerless and snared by that damned collar — had still refused.
Of course he had refused.
Of course —
The shadow king had smiled then, with Holland's own mouth, and he had fought, with everything he could summon, but a deal was a deal and the deal was done and he felt Osaron surge up — that single, violent motion — and Holland was shoved down, into the dark depths of his own mind, forced under by the current of the shadow king's will.
Helpless, trapped within a body, within a deal, unable to do anything but watch, and feel, and drown.
Kell's voice cracked as he strained his broken body against the frame, the way Holland had once, when Athos Dane first bound him. Broke him. The cage leached away most of Kell's power; the collar around his throat cut off the rest. There was a terror in Kell's eyes, a desperation that surprised him.
"Holland, you bastard, fight back!"
He tried, but his body was no longer his, and his mind, his tired mind, was sinking down, down —
Give in, said the shadow king.
"Show me you're not weak!" Kell's voice pushed through. "Prove you're not still a slave to someone else's will!"
You cannot fight me.
"Did you really come all the way back to lose like this?"
I've already won.
Holland hated Kell, and in that moment, the hatred was almost enough to drive him up, but even if he wanted to rise to the other Antari's bait, Osaron was unyielding.
Holland heard his own voice, then, but of course it wasn't his. A twisted imitation by the monster wearing his skin. In Holland's hand, a crimson coin, a token to another London, Kell's London, and Kell was swearing and throwing himself against his bonds until his chest heaved and his wrists were bloody.
It was all useless.
Once again he was a prisoner in his own body. Kell's voice echoed through the dark.
You've just traded one master for another.
They were moving now, Osaron guiding Holland's body. The door closed behind them, but Kell's screams still hurled themselves against the wood, shattering into broken syllables and strangled cries.
Ojka stood in the hall, sharpening her knives. She looked up, revealing the crescent scar on one cheek, and her two-toned eyes, one yellow, the other black. An Antari forged by their hands — by their mercy.
"Your Majesty," she said, straightening.
Holland tried to rise up, tried to force his voice across their — his — lips, but when speech came, the words were Osaron's.
"Guard the door. Let no one pass."
A flicker of a smile across the red slash of Ojka's mouth. "As you wish."
The palace passed in a blur, and then they were outside, passing the statues of the Dane twins at the base of the stairs, moving swiftly beneath a bruised sky through a garden now flanked by trees instead of bodies.
What would become of it, without Osaron, without him? Would the city continue to flourish? Or would it collapse, like a body stripped of life?
Please, he begged silently. This world needs me.
"There is no point," said Osaron aloud, and Holland felt sick to be the thought in their head instead of the word. "It is already dead," continued the king. "We will start over. We will find a world worthy of our strength."
They reached the garden wall and Osaron drew a dagger from the sheath at their waist. The bite of steel on flesh was nothing, as if Holland had been cut off from his very senses, buried too deep to feel anything but Osaron's grip. But as the shadow king's fingers streaked through the blood and lifted Kell's coin to the wall, Holland struggled up one last time.
He couldn't win back his body — not yet — not all of it — but perhaps he didn't need everything.
One hand. Five fingers.
He threw every ounce of strength, every shred of will, into that one limb, and halfway to the wall, it stopped, hovering in the air.
Blood trickled down his wrist. Holland knew the words to break a body, to turn it to ice, or ash, or stone.
All he had to do was guide his hand to his own chest.
All he had to do was shape the magic —
Holland could feel the annoyance ripple through Osaron. Annoyance, but not rage, as if this last stand, this great protest, was nothing but an itch.
Holland kept fighting, even managed to guide his hand an inch, two.
Let go, Holland, warned the creature in his head.
Holland forced the last of his will into his hand, dragging it another inch.
It did not have to be this way.
Osaron's will hit him like a wall. His body didn't move, but his mind slammed backward, pinned beneath a crushing pain. Not the pain he'd felt a hundred times, the kind he'd learned to exist beyond, outside, the kind he might escape. This pain was rooted in his very core. It lit him up, sudden and bright, every nerve burning with such searing heat that he screamed and screamed and screamed inside his head, until the darkness finally — mercifully — closed over him, forcing him under and down.
And this time, Holland didn't try to surface.
This time, he let himself drown.CHAPTER 3
Kell kept throwing himself against the metal cage long after the door slammed shut and the bolt slid home. His voice still echoed against the pale stone walls. He had screamed himself hoarse. But still, no one came. Fear pounded through him, but what scared Kell most was the loosening in his chest — the unhinging of a vital link, the spreading sense of loss.
He could hardly feel his brother's pulse.
Could hardly feel anything but the pain in his wrists and a horrible numbing cold. He twisted against the metal frame, fighting the restraints, but they held fast. Spell work was scrawled down the sides of the contraption, and despite the quantity of Kell's blood smeared on the steel, there was the collar circling his throat, cutting off everything he needed. Everything he had. Everything he was. The collar cast a shadow over his mind, an icy film over his thoughts, cold dread and sorrow and, through it all, an absence of hope. Of strength. Give up, it whispered through his blood. You have nothing. You are nothing. Powerless.
He'd never been powerless.
He didn't know how to be powerless.
Panic rose in place of magic.
He had to get out.
Out of this cage.
Out of this collar.
Out of this world.
Rhy had carved a word into his own skin to bring Kell home, and he'd turned around and left again. Abandoned the prince, the crown, the city. Followed a woman in white through a door in the world because she told him he was needed, told him he could help, told him it was his fault, that he had to make it right.
Kell's heart faltered in his chest.
No — not his heart. Rhy's. A life bound to his with magic he no longer had. The panic flared again, a breath of heat against the numbing cold, and Kell clung to it, pushing back against the collar's hollow dread. He straightened in the frame, clenched his teeth and pulled against his cuffs until he felt the crack of bone inside his wrist, the tear of flesh. Blood fell in thick red drops to the stone floor, vibrant but useless. He bit back a scream as metal dragged over — and into — skin. Pain knifed up his arm, but he kept pulling, metal scraping muscle and then bone before his right hand finally came free.
Kell slumped back with a gasp and tried to wrap his bloody, limp fingers around the collar, but the moment they touched the metal, a horrible pins-and- needles cold seared up his arm, swam in his head.
"As Steno," he pleaded. Break.
No power rose to meet the word.
Kell let out a sob and sagged against the frame. The room tilted and tunneled, and he felt his mind sliding toward darkness, but he forced his body to stay upright, forced himself to swallow the bile rising in his throat. He curled his skinned and splintered hand around his still-trapped arm, and began to pull.
It was minutes — but it felt like hours, years — before Kell finally tore himself free.
He stumbled forward out of the frame, and swayed on his feet. The metal cuffs had cut deep into his wrists — too deep — and the pale stone beneath his feet was slick with red.
Is this yours? whispered a voice.
A memory of Rhy's young face twisted in horror at the sight of Kell's ruined forearms, the blood streaked across the prince's chest. Is this all yours?
Now the collar dripped red as Kell frantically pulled on the metal. His fingers ached with cold as he found the clasp and clawed at it, but still it held. His focus blurred. He slipped in his own blood and went down, catching himself with broken hands. Kell cried out, curling in on himself even as he screamed at his body to rise.
He had to get up.
He had to get back to Red London.
He had to stop Holland — stop Osaron.
He had to save Rhy.
He had to, he had to, he had to — but in that moment, all Kell could do was lie on the cold marble, warmth spreading in a thin red pool around him.CHAPTER 4
The prince collapsed back against the bed, soaked through with sweat, choking on the metal taste of blood. Voices rose and fell around him, the room a blur of shadows, shards of light. A scream tore through his head, but his own jaw locked in pain. Pain that was and wasn't his.
Rhy doubled over, coughing up blood and bile.
He tried to rise — he had to get up, had to find his brother — but hands surged from the darkness, fought him, held him down against silk sheets, fingers digging into shoulders and wrists and knees, and the pain was there again, vicious and jagged, peeling back flesh, dragging its nails over bone. Rhy tried to remember. Kell — arrested. His cell — empty. Searching the sun- dappled orchard. Calling his brother's name. Then, out of nowhere, pain, sliding between his ribs, just as it had that night, a horrible, severing thing, and he couldn't breathe.
He couldn't —
"Don't let go," said a voice.
"Stay with me."
Excerpted from A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. Copyright © 2017 Victoria Schwab. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
One: World in Ruin,
Two: City in Shadow,
Three: Fall or Fight,
Four: Weapons at Hand,
Five: Ash and Atonement,
Seven: Setting Sail,
Eight: Uncharted Waters,
Ten: Blood and Binding,
Eleven: Death At Sea,
Thirteen: A King's Place,
Tor Books by V.E. Schwab,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This unforgettable story took my breath away.
Schwab ended this trilogy so delightfully. If you haven't read this series, treat yourself.
Such a wonderful ending to a rich and solid trilogy. Loved every part of the clean up at the end
One of the best series finales I have read in a long time. I was wary going into A Conjuring of Light because I did not enjoy my time with A Gathering of Shadows. But it was so good. I love all these characters and Schwab has a talent for fleshing out each character, even the minor ones. Everyone is given the right amount of attention and arcs are built up and fulfilled in a satisfying way. I even ended up liking Lila in this one and she hasn’t been my favorite. But she wasn’t half-bad. I still don’t ship her and Kell, but I do ship Rhy and Alucard. Rhy is probably my favorite character in the series and he just goes through so much growth in this one. The villain in this book is also done so well. Osaron is intimidating, powerful and is a legitimate threat to this world and everyone in it. Holland is also a great sympathetic villain. You understand his motivations and why he does what he does. Everything in this book feels earned, including the losses and the happy endings. Most everything is wrapped up nicely by the end with just a few breadcrumbs dropped for future books. Even though I didn’t personally like the second book, I would highly recommend this series.
I loved this book with a passionate deep, 1000 stars a million hearts kind of love. I am seriously beginning to believe that V. E. Schwab can do no wrong, and if you do not have a collection of her books in your library then it is terribly lacking. This series could and should be loved by every reader. The adventure is intense, layered, and meaningful, as is the romance and character building. So now just prepare yourself for my sharing of some of my favorite moments. “‘I was distracted by everything about you, Lila. I still am. You’re maddening, infuriating, incredible.’” “His copper lashes sank lower over his two-toned eyes. ‘There’s As Travars, to travel between worlds.’ She rolled her eyes. ‘I know that one.’ He lowered himself a fraction, bringing his lips to her ear. ‘And As Tascen,’ he continued breath warm. ‘To move within a world.’ She felt a shiver of pleasure as his lips brushed her jaw. ‘And As Hasari,’ he murmured. ‘To heal’ His mouth found hers, stealing a kiss before he said, ‘As Staro. To seal.’ And she would have let him linger there, but his mouth continued downward. ‘As Pyrata.’ A breath against the base of her throat. ‘To burn.’ ….” “‘Well, Mother, you got your wish. You simply failed to realize that that kind of love, that bond, it goes both ways. I would kill for him, and I would die for him, and I will protect him however I am able, from Faro and Vesk, from White London, and Black London, and from you.’” “Standing there on the prow of the Ghost, he realized with startling clarity that death and glory didn’t interest him nearly as much as living long enough to go home. To make sure that Bard was alive, to try to find any remaining members of the Night Spire To see Rhy’s amber eyes, press his lips to the place where his collar curved into his throat. To kneel before his prince, and offer him the only thing Alucard had ever held back; the truth.” But seriously please just read this series. You really won’t regret it.
I loved the first book in this Shades of Magic series so much that I preordered signed hardcover copies of book 2 and book 3 to support the author. Unfortunately, they will be going from my recommended reads shelf to the eBay resale pile. "The king was gone, still gone, and without him, London was getting bad again, getting worse." This sentence quoted directly from the last book pretty much sums up the series. MIGHT as well have called the fictional world "Chuggaboo" as none of the charms or descriptives of London were present at all. Lack of world building aside, the writing prose was fine. What wasn't fine was the ridiculous number of times Schwab descibes magic as "humming" or "singing". The first dozen repeats had me rolling my eyes, another dozen internally screaming why. Then, it got to the point where I had to go and tell someone. Seriously, for every instance I could think of at least 3 new words to better describe it. Multiply that by the number of occurrences (of which, I eventually I lost count) and you have a truck load of missed opportunities. "Slick" is infinitely used to describe everything under the sun from blood to magic to any kind of liquid substance or bodily fluid on the ground (drink every time the word is used and that might be the last time you ever play that game). I am truly amazed how this book made it past the editor or proof readers for that matter. Did no one suggest a Thesaurus?! Used sparingly, the voice would have been clever. But the author went with abundance, which quickly turned into overuse. There are many other examples of redundancy throughout. If you can forgive the minuscule vocabulary (I get that it's YA, but c'mon), there were some interesting places the characters visited. Namely, the Ferase Stras. The floating market full of forbidden trinkets woven between docked pirate ships was a neat idea, but short lived. One moment we are being entertained by our beloved main characters having to pay for their last-hope treasure using years of their life as currency, and the next we are witnessing the exact scene from Harry Potter where the enemy is making cracks in the castle's magical forcefield. What's left? It's a book series mainly about the characters moreso than anything else. But those same characters betray their own personalities at the most random times, sometimes within the same page, that it just feels hypocritical and unpleasant. If you aren't jarred out of the story by that, you will be thanks to the pacing. Book 1 was fantastic. Book 2 was pointless and 512 pages too long. I held out hope and even lowered my expectations that Book 3 would redeem this series, but it didn't. Sadly, it's an example of a great idea for a novel that should've been a single, standalone book. I say that because it's a book revolving around magic at its core. MAGIC. You literally have the most endless, infinite, boundless concept for a fantasy setting and this is what you arrive at? For the main characters and the reader, it's continually hinted at that magic is this intricate thing that can be harnessed, given shape. But when it does it disappoints. For all that, why were we never given more of an explanation as to how magic actually works? Except for the first book, are the other Londons worthless? They're used as a token here, mentioned for good measure there. I was par for the course for other reasons. The Shades of Magic series was held together by a delicate thread, and in the end, it snapped.
This book, oh my goodness this book. This is the kind of book that will break you and put you back together again in the best way. I really loved the growth of the characters, especially Lila. I also really loved I loved the way that this trilogy ended, it just made sense. This is one trilogy that I will definitely reread.
This book is everything that a fantasy novel should be. There was never a dull moment, which is truly magical in a 630 page book. Absolutely fantastic; I didn't want it to end, but it ended perfectly. See more reviews at my blog! http://areadingredsox.blogspot.com
I'm so ridiculously happy that there will be more books in this series. A fitting ending for this amazing crew, but I'm so excited to be seeing them again. This is probably going to be a short review because I don't think I can even handle the feels and everything that was this book. Did this book feel like 624 pages? No, it felt like a whirlwind of amazingness, emotional turmoil, action packed adventure, and EVERYTHING. If you haven't gotten in on this series yet, you need to. I was so afraid that this series was overhyped, not interesting, or far too much for me. However, this series brought smiles to my face, exceedingly high expectations I place on world building now, and so many amazing characters who I never thought I would be so invested in. The ensemble of these books were truly amazing, and this book truly let them shine. Do you ever read a book that truly takes thoughts and critiques out of your head? I really can't even tell you what I love because it's just so good. I can't form the words to tell you that you need to read or what I thought on things because I just know it was good and my words will never be able to form that. Yes, I did knock one crown off. Sometimes, I did feel like there were some super unnecessary portions of the novel, but I think it's because I just wanted to go so fast in this book to find out what happened that I hated the wonderful long game characterization that Schwab added. It seems silly but I wanted to know what was happening with baby Lila and Kell instead of reading about the complexity of what Maxim was dealing with and his past. I'm sure in a reread I will appreciate it a lot more, but for the read now, I had to knock one off. Seriously, this book was everything that I wanted it to be, and I canNOT wait to get to the new series. I never thought that my heart could be so invested in the four main characters in this book than it was the last one, but Schwab did it with ease. She is a powerhouse, and she has forever sold me on her work. Fitting end in the series, but an open door into so much more for her! Four crowns and an Ariel rating!
I think another reviewer said it best: "Unsurprisingly, I loved it. Surprisingly, it didn't break my heart." So let's get to it, shall we? A Conjuring of Light is the third and final book in the wonderful Shades of Magic series. I won't bother recapping the whole series, because if you made it this far I am going to assume you read the first two. The third book picks up right after that tortuous cliff hanger in A Gathering of Shadows. Final books in series make me nervous. The endings are typically either brutal or unsatisfying. This book was neither. It tied up all the endings (though not all end happily), the pacing was awesome, and the dialogue was just fantastic, as always. My only critique is that I wish there was more Lila, but I think the book could be just Lila and I would still want more. I don't want to spoil anything, so I will leave you with this: read this series. Its fantastic.
*A Conjuring of Light is the final book in Schwab's Shades of Magic Series which begins with A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows. As such this review contains major spoilers for book one and two.* "Life isn't made of choices. It's made of trades. Some are good, some are bad, but they all have a cost." -- "We don't choose what we are, but we choose what we do." Once there were four Londons. Black London was consumed by magic a long time ago. White London will die without more magic. Grey London never had any magic. Then there's Red London, the jewel of the Maresh Empire and a shining beacon of magic across its world. That magic is what makes Red London so beautiful; it's what is threatening to destroy it as well. An interloper from Black London is tearing its way through Red London leaving destruction and death in its wake. Kell is used to being alone and to thinking of himself as isolated thanks to his Antari blood but all of that changes when the only home he's ever had and the only family that matters is threatened. But Kell can't fight this battle alone. Not if he wants to win. Lila has thrived in Red London leaving behind her life as a thief to pursue her dream of becoming a pirate. She made it through the magical competition of the Essen Tasch but not she has to learn to control her magic before it begins to control her. Kell and Lila will have to use every spell and trick they know to face a new threat from Black London. Along the way they'll rely on old friends like Kell's brother Prince Rhy and uneasy allies like the mysterious Captain Alucard Emery. Even old enemies may become allies before the battle is over. To survive, to win, will take everything the Antari have to give and maybe even more in A Conjuring of Light (2017) by V. E. Schwab. A Conjuring of Light is the final book in Schwab's Shades of Magic Series which begins with A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows. As such this review contains major spoilers for book one and two. A Conjuring of Light picks up shortly after book two. Everyone is in peril and trouble is brewing. The tension does not let up from there. At more than six hundred pages you would thing this book would feel bloated of slow. It doesn't. Schwab's story is perfectly paced to give this series the conclusion it deserves. Written in third person this novel alternates perspective to follow all of the major characters that readers have come to know and love over the course of this series. Rhy is still struggling with what it means to be a prince without magic while also processing the way his life is now tied to Kell's. Alucard is haunted by his past and not sure he can ever be free of it. Lila still has so much to learn about being an Antari and letting people love her instead of running away. Kell, similarly, is still struggling to define what family means for a man with no memory of his past. Does a past he can't remember mean anything compared to the family he has known for most of his life? Then, of course, there's Holland. Before A Conjuring of Light it's easy to say Holland is the villain of this story and stop there. Schwab's deliberate and complex characterization, however, slowly reveals that there is much more to this oldest and most experienced Antari. This story is also peppered with flashbacks for all of the characters though most notably for Holland. It's a rare epic fantasy that can be grim and tense and also make you laugh out loud. Schwa
Carving out time to read the last thirty days has been a struggle. Doubly annoying because I'd been looking forward to this book a LONG time. I was afraid that only getting to read a few pages a day would make the experience less enjoyable, I wanted to be immersed in the world, not easy to do when so little time can be spent in it. Thankfully the chapters were short. The characters still came to life for me and I feel even more in love with them. Even better for the last 100 pages I was able to devote two whole days to and finally find out what would happen. Very satisfying read. Lived up to my expectations. Any fan is likely to be well satisfied and secretly hoping it hadn't had to end - but I suppose this journey of their story did have to have a conclusion. Maybe someday, in some form, we'll get to revisit them.
There’s this moment you have when you start a book that you believe will be an amazing and life-altering piece of literature. And then one of two things can happen. 1) It is devastatingly disappointing and forces me never to trust what I know again or 2) It is heart-wrenchingly beautiful and forces me to never trust the author with my heart again because it will be destroyed by his/her words and will probably drag me through the cobbled streets semi-conscious while doing so. Luckily, two fit A CONJURING OF LIGHT. I regretted not getting into the SHADES OF MAGIC trilogy when it first started. When I finally did, I devoured both A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC and A GATHERING OF SHADOWS in a matter of days and was left with the largest book hangover I had ever had. I fell in love with the Londons that Schwab built and the characters that she grew from the beginning. Even as I write this review, I feel the unsettling emotional turmoil over realizing that this arc of Schwab's world is over. At least for now. There were a few loose ends in A CONJURING OF LIGHT that cannot be left undone and I hope the return to it is soon. I know that she has a few series that she wants to progress, but goodness, I really really want something else out of this universe! Every single page of this book was beautifully written. Even new moments (*coughssteamyonescoughs*) that I'm not used to reading in her writing that kept me going to reread after I finished the book. I fell madly in love with the ginger-haired, black/blue-eyed Antari, the crossdressing knife-wielding pickpocket, the charming and devoted Red London prince, the troubled and tragic White London Antari, and the charismatic and strong privateer. I fell in love with them all over again. The development was beautiful and the growth in every single relationship was perfect and moving and made me want more. I want books upon books written about their everyday lives until they are old and gray. I don't care if they're sitting and having tea. I want to read about them. I had the delightful opportunity to go to one of V.E. Schwab's events and I don't think it's a mystery that she's said again and again that she loves to write for Holland and I will specifically point him out in this review. He devastated me. The way that you watch a scene that unfolds in a movie and you find your nose stuffing up, your eyes stinging, and then your tears welling up. You don't realize that you are crying until the tears have falling and you feel them on your cheeks, your chin, your neck. It's only when you go to wipe your face that you feel the hot tears turn cold on your hand. He had one of the most wonderful arcs and stories of growth that I have ever read and I fell more in love with his personality as the books progressed. His ending in A CONJURING OF LIGHT left a hole in me, but I could not imagine his resolution being anything else. KILL ME, KELL AND LILA. I am so happy that there has never been a real threat of a love triangle because this was not a series to put that in. At least with Kell and Lila, of course. I found their relationship so freakin' pure and witty and fun and DAMN, that scene. You know what scene I'm talking about. That scene on the boat... The ending. Oh my gosh. I remember when I was finishing it and it was late into the night/early into morning that I read that last word - Anoshe. I remember the air being knocked out of me.
Wonderfully written. I felt the fight in this story, and enjoyed of second of the ride.
Well this book is just absolutely everything. LIKE I'M STILL NOT OKAY A DAY LATER. The ending to the Shades of Magic was absolutely everything you expected it to be and so much more. The plot was thrilling, the action was amazing, the romance was almost swoon-worthy, and the twists oh the twists. My little heart can't take it. Schwab is offically master of the POV change. We flip through so many Points of View in this book it's amazing. And it was one the great things about this book. It seemed to work so seamlessly, that you had to take a second to realize that it was an addition of X POV. We get insight to so many characters that it seems to add another layer to this amazing book. The Story takes up right after the killer cliff hanger of A gathering Of Shadows and it doesn't let up until the very last page. There is not a single page of boring or calm in this story. So be prepared for that. It is a 600+ page book of THRILL and ANXIETY. There's betrayal and lvoe and action and back story and just so much amazingness. So many great quotes too. This is one quotable piece of fiction. I don't know how else to describe and review this amazing piece of story without giving away big spoilers but i can say beprepared for Death, lots of death, and lots of plot twists that will wrench your heart in two. Do remember that Schwab has said that this ARC has ended, whereas we could easily be given more in this world. Kinda like SOC is post Grisha. So begin praying that we get that world soon because it's barely been a day and I already miss my Londons. Anoshe
Love this series!
(review taken from http://literaryweaponry.com) I’m sitting here staring at a blank screen, completely unsure of where to start. I came across the first book of this series, A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, only last month. I devoured it and the second book, A Gathering of Shadows, in three days. I couldn’t get enough. The characters were diverse and had depth and the story was completely engrossing. So, of course, I immediately got on Amazon and pre-ordered the third book which came out Feb 21st, 2017. The thing is that when it was delivered I postponed starting on it. I didn’t want the story to be finished. This world Schwab created had gotten to me and I knew that once I read this book it would be over. Sure, you can go back and re-read a book as many times as you like but there is only one first time. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to that magic. Obviously, I finally gave in. I was not disappointed. “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.” We return to the story exactly where A Gathering of Shadows left off. Kell has been captured and taken to White London where he is being mercilessly tortured. Because of their magical bond that means every pain inflicted upon Kell is felt by his brother, prince Rhy. Lila understands what is happening and takes off to save Kell. Go Lila! It is difficult not to love such a strong, determined character. She takes matters into her own hands and usually comes out on top. If you are the kind of person that looks for a a strong female lead in literature you could do a lot worse than Lila Bard. Kell’s capture is the beginning of a devastating time for Red London. The city is under siege by an ancient enemy. Osaron, the dark king of Black London, has invaded Red and seeks to claim it for his own. Every citizen is at risk of being consumed by Osaron and precious few are able to avoid his dark grasp. It spreads through the city quickly and there is no one able to stop the onslaught of this black plague. Once Lila succeeds at rescuing Kell they both return to their home in Red. Despite valiantly trying to save as many citizens as possible they are forced to retreat to the palace. The palace has been warded against Osaron’s onslaught and for now those few who are within it’s walls are safe. Now they must find a way to combat this usurper and save their citizens. Kell, Lila, Alucard, and (surprisingly) Holland take on this task and work tirelessly to defeat Osaron once and for all. This book has everything. A motley cast of characters that you can’t help but love and root for, the arch villain (who oddly reminded me of Ultron from The Avengers) set on destroying everything they hold dear, and the perilous task to stop him. Will the three Antari’s magic be enough? Schwab’s conclusion to her Shades of Magic trilogy is wonderful and (shall I say it?) magical. She gives us something to root for while systematically breaking your heart. The writing is full of lovely details and has excellent flow. I will admit that it didn’t grab me as much as the first two books did but maybe that was just me avoiding the inevitable end to a fantastic story. “Anoshe was a word for strangers in the ... (remaining can be found at http://literaryweaponry.com)
What a gut-wrenching, beautiful, amazing end to one of my favorite series. Highly recommend this trilogy!
Great conclusion to an enthralling adventure!