A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab | Book Review

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab


Page Count: 624
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publication Date: February 21, 2017

(from Goodreads)

Witness the fate of beloved heroes – and enemies.

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.
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?
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.
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.

Spoilers! Read at your own risk!

“Anoshe brought solace. And hope. And the strength to let go.”

Oh my stars, where can I even begin with this review? There are so many scenes I want to mention, so many things I want to say. But there are just never enough words to even begin to explain how much this series, these characters, mean to me. I am so in love with this magical worth that Schwab has created. The world building is just phenomenal and I love learning the new languages that she creates.

I suppose for me it all starts and ends with Kell.

“You still have that crease between your eyes,” she said. “Still the same sad-faced boy you were that day.”

This boy, this beautifully broken, completely selfless, slightly mean, wonderful, frowny boy. I wish I could explain how much I love him. How much his torments tear at my heart, how much his smiles make me so infinitely happy, and how much his growth makes me feel like a proud parent.

Kell has developed so much throughout these books because of his encounters and choices and because of the people around him, namely Delilah Bard. When he meets Delilah Bard his world is shaken with no point of ever returning.

But it is in A Conjuring of Light that Kell becomes not Antari, not black eyed prince, not smuggler, just Kell, dazzling wonderful Kell, brother of Rhy. And I am so proud and happy for him.

It was that scene on the Maris’s boat, where she offers Kell the paper so he can remember his past; a past he so longed to know, but secretly never wanted to remember.

“Your true family.
But what did that mean? Was family the ones you were born to, or the ones who took you in? Did the first years of his life weigh more than the rest?
Strange thing about forgetting spells.
Rhy was his brother.
They fade on their own.
London was his home.
Unless we don’t let go.”

And then once he had in his hands what he thought he always wanted, he burns the paper.

I was a complete mess of tears.

My poor baby, it was such a beautiful scene. Though, I must admit, while I am proud Kell has finally realized family isn’t just blood, I am still extremely curious about his past and wish desperately that Schwab will write a novella for it one day.

“Kell swept Lila up into his arms, amazed at her lightness. She took up so much space in the world—in his world—it was hard to imagine her being so slight. In his mind, she was made of stone.”

I absolutely love his and Lila’s relationship. It’s the kind that doesn’t need flowery words, or many words at all, for you to know it exists. They both just understand each other so deeply. You see it in the subtle way they act around each other, you see it in the small glances and smiles that they share. Those are the types of relationships that I absolutely love and that kill me at the same time. I mean did I want the whole “I love you” spiel? Heck yes I did. But can I will without it?

Yes, I guess I can. Schwab does such a great job developing their relationship. All the tension and built up in A Gathering of Shadows made their A Conjuring of Light relationship even better.

“Caring was a thing with claws. It sank them in, and didn’t let go. Caring hurt more than a knife to the leg, more than a few broken ribs, more than anything that bled or broke and healed again. Caring didn’t break you clean. It was a bone that didn’t set, a cut that wouldn’t close.”

I will admit Delilah Bard makes me so mad sometimes (one example being that scene where she talks back to Maxim, I literally rolled my eyes). I was not really her biggest fan in A Darker Shade of Magic. However, I do very deeply respect and understand her. In certain aspects, we are both so very much alike.

“Now tell me, what do you want?”‘
“That’s a broad question.”
“And an easy one. If you don’t know the answer, you don’t know yourself.”
Lila paused, thinking, “Freedom,” she said.”

It was her conversation with Holland that made me really like and understand her better.

“No, I did not hesitate. I cut his throat, and added his death to the ones I count every day when I wake.” His eyes hardened on her. “Now tell me, Delilah, how many lives have you ended? Do you know the number?”
Lila started to answer, then stopped.
The truth—the infuriating, maddening, sickening truth—was that she didn’t.”

Yes, she is a completely and utter sassy badass, but that is not the reason why I started to like her more. It was her lines that resonate the most with me. I love her passion and her strong will; I love her strength to be better; I love her dreams of becoming a pirate and her thirst for freedom. I love the way she is around Kell, and how she always stays true to herself. I love Delilah Bard, despite her flaws and my occasional annoyances. She is a wonderful character.

“No one suffers as beautifully as you do.”

It’s so extremely hard to choose favorite characters in this series (okay fine, Kell will always be my number one, so my number two is very hard), but I am positive I have to give my second spot to precious little Holland. Oh, my poor baby Holland. This guy needs a protection squad what with all he’s had to endure. Out of everyone, he was the one I most desperately wanted to he have a semi-happy ending.

Because he so freaking deserved one.

“But Kell knew he couldn’t break Holland.
Holland was already broken. It showed, not in the scars, but in the way he spoke, the way he held himself in the face of pain, too well acquainted with its shape and scale. He was a man hollowed out long before Osaron, a man with no fear and no hope and nothing to lose.”

Holland gets so much redemption in A Conjuring of Light that, if you’re not like me who loved him since the beginning, I highly doubt you won’t be able to at least feel for him a little in this installment. We learn Holland’s history bit by bit; from his family, to his first love, to his best friend, and every single one of them left me a crying mess.

I love Holland. I live for his dry humor. He is so, so beautiful, his soul is beautiful, his love for his world is so beautiful.

While A Darker Shade of Magic was Kell’s story and A Gathering of Shadows was Delilah’s, A Conjuring of Light was without a doubt Holland’s story; just look at the covers. And while I wish I could give him all of the happiness in the world, I will grudgingly admit that his ending, so bittersweet and sad, was perfect for him. Even though it did leave me a sobbing mess.

“You told me once,” said Kell, “that you were either magic’s master or its slave. So which are you now?”
“That’s what you don’t understand,” said Holland letting the emptiness fold over him. “I have only ever been its slave.”

And, of course, I cannot forget about darling Rhy and charming Alucard. Rhy and Kell’s bond is hands down one of my favorite aspects of this series. I love them both so much. There is something so beautiful and wonderful about the fact that they would literally go to the ends of the earth for each other.   

“My bond with him didn’t start with this curse. You wanted him to kill for me, die for me, protect me at all costs. 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.”

Rhy’s character grows so much in A Conjuring of Light, he goes from that flirty prince to an amazing King, and gosh darn it, I am so proud of him.

“A king,” said his father, “belongs with his people.”
“And a prince,” he said proudly, “belongs with his king.”

I loved learning more about the King Maxim and Queen Emira. We learn how kind and caring they truly are, and how much they truly care about their sons; both of them. Their relationship was so sweet and beautiful, it had me in tears. His hot temper to her cold demeanor.

“He had never wanted to fall in love, never wanted to welcome that pain, would have happily faked an arrow’s bite.
And then he met Emira.”

I disliked them so much in A Gathering of Shadows, but damn did they end up capturing my heart and sequentially tearing it apart.

Alucard is an amazing great character, his sass, his wit and his banter with Kell was such a delight to read about. I loved learning more about his family and his past; the reason he left Rhy when it was so clear he was in love with him. And in that moment in the end where he shows up with the mirror, my heart was racing in my chest with happiness. His friendship with Lila is so wonderful, I love how they have each other’s backs.

“You’re my best thief,” he whispered, and her eyes burned.
“I should have killed you,” she muttered, hating the waver in her voice.”

I will forever still be wishing for a Kell and Alucard bromance scene (because I’m still positive they secretly love each other) though!

This book has its flaws, I am not so blind by my love of these characters to admit it. My biggest issue was that I never really felt the danger of Osaron. For the most part he seemed content to just sit in his pretty little black castle and mind his own business. It soon became apparent to me that he wouldn’t actually do anything major until our characters were ready to deal with him. I did like him as a villain though, but the amount of times he said “let me in” was getting a bit eye roll inducing, even for me.

My awful reviewer mind rating is probably more of a 4.9, but I am rounding up just because Kell and Holland are some of the best characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading about.

And now we get to the ending. I must admit, once I saw that I was nearing the end I practically dreaded reading it. I would sit on my bed, the book cradled in my hands and just stare at it.

It took me hours before I could finally muster up the courage to continue. And even then, as I reached those last few dreaded chapters; I kept stopping.

But that moment when I finally finished it, closing the book with tears flooding in my eyes, I felt so incredibly happy and sad. I do not know how I will ever be able to recover from the ending of a series that means so much to me.

I am going to miss it all so much.

“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.”

Overall, I just wanted to say that the finale for this series was perfect. It was satisfying, it was heartbreaking, it was beautiful, and it was so magical. But god damn it, is it bad that I just want to stay with these characters forever? That I want to keep reading about their adventures, their heartbreaks, their failures, and all of their successes?

That I never want them to go.

These characters have stolen a piece of my heart, and I know, without a doubt, I will never be able to regain it back.

A Conjuring of Light was everything I look for in an ending, but I want so much more. There’s still questions I have left, there’s still more things I want to know about; Kell’s family, Lila and Maris, the aftermath of White London, and Kell’s new issue with magic.

It is such a bittersweet moment because while I am so depressed beyond measure at the end of one of my favorite series, I am also so infinitely happy.

“Life isn’t made of choices, it’s made of trades. Some are good, some are bad, but they all have a cost.”

Thank you, Victoria. For bringing us this awesome story, for making me fall so head over heals in love with such wonderfully beautiful and flawed characters. Thank you for the magical ending that left me in a puddle of tears.

If you have not read this series yet then (I have no clue what you’re doing on this review, you little sneak) I so highly recommend it. I cannot recommend it enough. It is not without its flaws, but the world is so beautifully built, so filled to the brim with the wonders of magic, and the characters are so wonderfully flawed and beautiful that it’s definitely worth a try.

Anoshe. Until another day.

“Scars are not shameful, not unless you let them be. If you do not wear them, they will wear you.”

5 out of 5 stars


Buy A Conjuring of Light:

Book Depository
Barnes and Noble

Buy A Darker Shade of Magic

Book Depository
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One thought on “A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab | Book Review

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