Review: A Conjuring of Light (V. E. Schwab)

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Genre:
Fantasy
Publisher: Titan Books
Series: Shades of Magic #3
Publication date: February 28th, 2017
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal
Page Count: 666
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Buy from Book Depository, Kinokuniya Malaysia

Read my review on the first two books:
A Darker Shade of Magic
A Gathering of Shadows

Blurb:
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.

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(contains spoilers if you haven’t read the first 2 books!)

“Anoshe was a word for strangers in the street, and lovers between meetings, for parents and children, friends and family. It softened the blow of leaving. Eased the strain of parting. A careful nod to the certainty of today, the mystery of tomorrow. When a friend left, with little chance of seeing home, they said anoshe. When a loved one was dying, they said anoshe. When corpses were burned, bodies given back to the earth and souls to the stream, those left grieving said anoshe.

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

I just finished A Conjuring of Light minutes ago and currently at a loss on how to write this review. I knew this was going to be hard.

But I wasn’t preparing for how hard it actually is.

A Conjuring of Light is the third and final installment in the Shades of Magic trilogy and rarely does a book break me from within like A Conjuring of Light. Rarely does a book can hook me in from page 1 and pull me in every time I’m not reading it, so I wonder what’s actually happening without me. Rarely does a book gripped me so hard that I felt so close to tears as the plot unraveled and I’m left a hollow husk of a soul wishing I could save all those damned souls.

Then again, not every book is A Conjuring of Light.

This book left me breathless at the end. It is by far the best of all three installments. I can’t even begin to describe which parts of the book made it so effin’ brilliant. It was a mixture of everything, from the plot, to the brilliant character developments, to the amazing world building.

And the deaths.

Oh my god, so many deaths.

“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.”

I mean I knew it was coming, Schwab herself said to prepare for it. But I am still in shock. I remember stopping to put down the book after a beloved character was killed, and questioning all of my principles as a reader and why do I willingly tolerate this mental torture….

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I love all of the characters in A Conjuring of Light so much this time around. I still remember reading A Darker Shade of Magic and forgive me, but I loathed Delilah Bard. She was my first ever female MC that I wasn’t sure was the villain or heroine, and the more books I read by Schwab, I realised that her style always lingers within the grey of both worlds. So you can imagine my struggles to get on board with Miss Bard’s shenanigans.

But I’m so glad to see how Lila has developed really well throughout all 3 books. From a skilled thief to a powerful magician, I’m proud to see Lila become a ruthless yet thoughtful human being who no longer runs away from every situation where she could end up caring for the person more than she liked. We got to see a side of her that struggled to deal with Barron’s death, along with a few others, making her more humane than she would have wanted people to believe. And this vulnerability is what made her such a unique character, craving for safety and solidity after growing up in such a terrible disposition. I also loved how her relationship with Kell progressed once she realised that safety can be in the arms of the person you care about…

“She was a thief, a runaway, a pirate, a magician.
She was fierce, and powerful, and terrifying.
She was still a mystery.
And he loved her.”  

And she is the perfect example that you shouldn’t ever change yourself to impress someone. A person will love you for all of your strengths and flaws. No matter how crazy you are.

Now let’s talk about Holland, because that’s obviously him at the front of that book cover. We got to see so many sides of Holland in A Conjuring of Light that it gave us so many new perspectives on his history and motives. I love how Schwab writes so well of his past and interweaving it with the present and why he did the things he did in this series. Whilst he was clearly the villain in the beginning of the series, his transition to something else that involved Kell and Lila allowed us to see him for who he truly is at the end of the book. Which was surprising because I thought Kell would be the limelight of this final installment. Yet, the reality is so much better.

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Being 666 pages thick, expect some non-stop high intensity action coming your way. I was surprised and excited to see how fast A Conjuring of Light progressed throughout the pages because I felt the previous two books were slow in revealing the climax. But this book was perfect. So perfect that I couldn’t keep up.

With all the new characters, schemes and plots to overthrow the shadow king, the deaths that overtook some of the characters…

It was truly chaotic to be honest.

But in a brilliant way. In a way that keeps you on your toes and second-guessing what happens next. Who dies and who lives? You can never truly be accurate in your prediction when it comes to Schwab. That much this book will tell you.

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Overall, I don’t think anyone reading this had any idea what to expect in the beginning. Despite Schwab’s multiple warnings in Twitter to brace ourselves, we still felt the shock and pain after reading this book.

I sure did. And the scars will take a very long time to heal.

I hope you brace yourself. Because you have no idea what’s going to hit you.

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★★★★★

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