A Conjuring of Light
5/5 STARS - WARNING *SPOILERS*
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.
Kell, Lila, Alucard, Rhy, and Holland are all back in this thrilling and epic conclusion to Schwab’s Darker Shade of Magic series. Our favourite characters are forced to join in an uneasy alliance in order to save Red London... once again!
A Conjuring of Light (ACOL) kicks off right after the jaw-dropping conclusion of the second book, A Gathering of Shadows, where Rhy is dying in Red London as Kell’s magic is cut off in White London by the ‘being’ Osaron. Lila, from Grey London, manages to travel to White London and save Kell, cementing that she is in fact like Kell and Holland, an Antari, even though she does not have one black eye (more on this below).
From the first page till the very last, the book doesn’t stop: it’s full of action, magic, death and romance (*cough* finally!!!). Our characters are once again on a mission to save Red London, from fighting in the streets to fighting pirates, surviving death, travelling to a floating market full of dark and impossible artifacts, to fighting their own inner battles and the betrayals we did not see coming.
At 666 pages, the book is an absolute monster, but at no point did the energy of the novel let down, the pace and tension just keep growing and growing, drawing me into this insane world even more.
The characters worked well together and successfully defeated Osaron, but the cost was high: Holland’s magic (and accidently a little bit of Kell’s). I want to concentrate this review on the endings for our characters, because this book made me so incredibly happy.
Kell and Lila finally hooked up! While there were snippets in the first two novels, Schwab finally gave us something to cheer about when they kissed and *cough* did a few naughty things on board a very small ship (still laughing at Alucard). Kell finally -- and when I say finally, I mean about-bloody-time -- realised one of Lila’s eyes was not real (after it was smashed during a fight). It is mentioned in the earlier books that Lila lost it, that she didn’t remember the incident, and that’s why Kell didn’t realise she was an Antari, just like him. After the loss, Lila got a replacement eye – all black, marking her as an Antari. Kell and Lila got their happy ending, sailing off to discover the world together and my heart just swelled.
Rhy and Alucard are just everything. They love each other fiercely, yet dance around each other; Rhy too terrified Alucard will once again break his heart and Alucard not sure how to tell Rhy the real reason why he left and did not return. Rhy saves Alucard from Osaron’s dark magic, yet he cannot allow himself to be with Alucard, even when Alucard tries to tell Rhy the truth. My heart broke a little at this point. Rhy’s parents, the king and queen, are killed during the events of Osaron, and Rhy is crowned king. Rhy’s life is now tied to his country, and he can’t see himself living the life he dreamed he could have; he doesn’t allow himself to see a future with Alucard, doesn’t allow himself the sliver of hope. However, Alucard finds a way to show Rhy the truth, and Rhy forgives him and requests that he remain at his side as his Court Magician. Although, we all know the real reason and confirmation is provided as Rhy enters Alucard’s rooms later that evening.
And finally, Holland… A character I despised so much through the first and second novels, yet in the third, I couldn’t hate him no matter how much I wanted to. Instead, I felt empathy for him reading the flashbacks of the horrible life he has lived; the betrayal by those those closest to him. Holland became the good guy in a way: in the end, he sacrificed his life to save everyone else’s and I found myself tearing up as he took his last breath in his home world.
Overall, Schwab gave us a happy ending for our beloved characters: it was everything and more than I could have ever wished for. I can’t recall the last time I finished a novel with a happy heart and happy tears in my eyes.
Thank you, Schwab, for bringing to life the most incredible characters and an utterly epic fantasy series.