Author: V.E. Schwab
Publication Date: Feb 28th, 2017
Rating: ★★★★/4 Stars
Genre: Fantasy, contains M/M relationship (more in the review)
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.
This is the last book of the Shades of Magic trilogy and having read and enjoyed the books an awful lot, there was no doubt in my mind that I would read the last one. I started it two weeks ago, exactly and what a mistake that was. I’m currently doing my second to last semester and being the overachiever I am: I’m juggling three literature courses with a shitload of reading material which held me back from doing any serious dents in this one in a shorter time.
I also was horribly anxious about being spoiled for this series since a lot of the people who I follow on twitter read it and are very liberal with their tweets concerning major events in the book. Thankfully, I managed to read this in peace and didn’t get spoiler. Anyhow, onto my actual review:
There is not a big number of words I could use to describe how I felt while reading this book besides: anxious, worried, so tired, and freaking sad! Of course, I mean them in the best ways possible! Victoria Schwab is nothing if not a words’ wizard. I have an honest believe that she’s a witch who’s on this earth just to make me slobber over her words. Anyway, now that it’s obvious to all how much I adore Ms. Schwab, onto the book.
I do not intend to spoil but whoa what a trip this is. By the size alone, I knew that the plot was going to be as thick as ever since it had to wrap up many threads from the previous book.
It began where A Gathering of Shadows left off with our favorite red haired prince being… tormented… Which seems like Schwab’s favorite position for all of the characters. Kell, who always made me feel so sad because he’s so alone in the first book, is not alone this time, because voila, Lila Bard is here and she’s saving us all with all her knives.
The fight scenes are in abundance in this book but so is the banter and the love the characters have for one another. And for the sake of anyone who’s sensitive to the mention of blood, you might wanna be cautious about reading this series since the Antari use their blood a lot when casting magic… which they do a lot. That point kind of was important for me to raise since although I’m okay with the mention of blood, it put me on edge while reading the book.
Lila and Kell are probably my favorite heterosexual couple ever. This is not a spoiler since duh they’re adorable and perfectly sassy and sardonic together since book one. But there are other main characters who totally stole the breath from my lungs: Rhy Maresh and Alucard (DRACULA?) Emery. Rhy is such a good boy that I couldn’t help but be super proud of him in every fricking chapter where he put his city, and his family, and his friends first. However, Rhy didn’t leave me with a sense that he didn’t grow, on the contrary, Rhy’s caring for others only made him more of himself than ever. So did Alucard, who gives you the sense that he wears a lot of masks (har har not a pun on book two) and finally sheds it in this book. He puts himself right there for the perfect reasons and for that Alucard made me tear up with joy multiple times.
Now, for the character whose name is definitely not tattooed on my ripcage: Holland Vosijk (who I just saw a fancast of Sebastian Stan and henceforth I’ll suffer forever and ever.) I’ll admit it: I’m weak for the kind of character who tries to do good for all but ends up pissing off a shitload of people and probably creating chaos. I just can’t help it. I’m weak for the messy ones. Holland was the messiest. While reading this book, I felt like Holland kind of deserved somewhat more of what was given to him because God Damn It When Will He Stop Suffering? Anyway, now that I’m over with the book, I see somewhat of what Schwab had in plan for him and I appreciate it. Of course, I’m still going to write fanfictions where a grumpy Holland kisses a certain winter king a lot and a lot, but that doesn’t mean I disliked how A CONJURING OF LIGHT handled his arc.
The whole book as the third in a trilogy was excellent. There is enough action to keep those who fell for the fast pace of books one and two. There is even more family and love and relationship angst to keep us all clutching our pearls. There, surprising no one, is a lot of crying… mostly done by you, readers. So, if you’re planning on reading this series: please drink lots of water and maybe curse Schwab every 300 pages.
P.S. I am planning on doing an eyeshadow look inspired by the book’s colors! Watch out for that.
P.S.S. Considering that this is the third book of a series, I won’t talk about the diversity since we all know it is. Anyway, a quick round up: Both Alucard and Rhy are bisexuals (the labels aren’t used.)
I’m adding the following after hashing out the book with Fadwa who is so nice for letting me whine so much about Rhy Maresh. I’ll try not to spoil but just to be sure: don’t read this if you’re wary of spoilers.
My problem with the book is the fleshing out of Rhy and Alucard’s relationship. Why do I care so much about them? Because they’re incredible characters on their own who are both POC and both are bisexual and they really deserved much more that what I got.
In this book, it begins with Rhy suffering because of his tie with Kell. So, I was excited because Alucard was there all the time, meaning maybe the cool tension between them, which stems from Alucard “leaving” Rhy three years ago and hence breaking his heart, could thaw. Well, they did spend a lot of time together but there wasn’t a lot of alone time for them to really talk about things and when they did talk there was still this unsatisfying air of TENSION. That’s probably good for any other readers but I really wanted more from them because they had so much potential.
I love lovers who did something shitty and they separate and get a second chance not only for the angst (which we got a loooot for these two) but also for the endless sweetness of reminiscing. We got short flashbacks of feelings and giggles and them being cuties, I guess but I really wanted fleshed out flashbacks of their first meetings, the first time they like knew they had feelings for each other and that kind of mess. I love the sap and they deserve so much sap.
Also, in the end, I felt sort of unsatisfied about Rhy and Alucard’s relationship. I don’t know if Schwab wrote them in this way because she had more ideas and more plans for them but for main characters who had cut-outs travel with her for a long time, they kind of deserve more.
I have more things to say about these two characters but for now I’ll just stick to their relationship because anything else is a spoiler. Anyway, if you want to talk more about them I’m available here or at Twitter! Send me an email. I love responding to emails… there is no word count limit.