Title: A Conjuring of Light
Author: V. E. Schwab
Published: February 2017
I would recommend reading further only if you have already read A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2).
Summary: Picking up immediately after the cliffhanger ending of A Gathering of Shadows, Lila endeavors to find Kell and devise a plan to beat the dark magic threatening to destroy their worlds.
Thoughts: Wow! V. E. Schwab really puts you through it in this third installment of the Shades of Magic trilogy. SO. MUCH. HAPPENED. It’s hard to consider where to begin, so I will start with the most stand-out feature of this series, Schwab’s expert writing. There’s something I can’t quite put my finger on about her writing, but I know it makes me feel a sense of anticipation for what’s to come and utter confidence in the whatever direction she is going to take it. Does that make sense? I just completely trust V. E. Schwab to deliver something really good, which she of course did. There are a lot of moving pieces to this book. You know what the goal is the whole time, but this story does not take the shortest distance between point A and point B. When I was in 9th grade, I went on a trip to Costa Rica with my mom’s school. I remember we were taking a bus to this local town that was only 17 miles away (as the crow flies), but because of a large lake and the lack of developed roads, it took us hours to get there. That little anecdote reminds me of this book. This leads me to my only critique of this book, it made just a few too many tangents. My favorite thing about the first book, A Darker Shade of Magic, is how it defied so many fantasy books’ epic grandeur and simply told a great story in a straight forward way. A Gathering of Shadows introduced a bit more loops and turns, but A Conjuring of Light took it to a new level.
A great addition to this story, was the opportunity to get to know characters a bit better by taking deeper dives into the pasts of Holland and Alucard. There were deeper dives into everyone’s history, but I think getting a clearer picture of these two guys, especially Holland, added so much to the story. V. E. Schwab is really good at making sure you know that “bad” or “evil” characters are not 100% bad, just as the “good” characters aren’t always perfectly good. She adds a real humanity to each of her characters, which is why they are so beloved. I think some of the magic elements she used were really interesting. There were magical concepts that I didn’t see coming, but totally thought were feasible. Sometimes magic can be so fantastical that it reminds me this is a fake world. I didn’t that way with this world, I felt fully engrossed in these Londons the whole time because Schwab writes with a refined stroke of the key.
Anyway, I liked this book and I loved this series. It did not disappoint. It completely lived up to its hype. Well done V. E. Schwab.