Shades of Magic #3
by V.E. Schwab, Victoria Schwab
Published on February 21, 2017 by Tor
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
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The battle between four magical Londons comes to a head in this stunning finale to the New York Times bestselling Shades of Magic trilogy by rising star V. E. Schwab.
Londons fall and kingdoms rise while darkness sweeps the Maresh Empire—and the fraught balance of magic blossoms into dangerous territory while heroes and foes struggle alike. The direct sequel to A Gathering of Shadows, and the final book in the Shades of Magic epic fantasy series, A Conjuring of Light sees Schwab reach a thrilling culmination concerning the fate of beloved protagonists—and old enemies.
How does someone review the most emotional, roller coaster ride of a series conclusion they’ve ever read? In truth? I’m not really sure but I have a lot of feels that I’m struggling to put into words.
I adored A Darker Shade of Magic when I first visited the four Londons of V.E. Schwab’s world. It quickly made my list of must-read fantasies. Then came A Gathering of Shadows and all hell broke loose. So much happened and so fast that I was left in a daze upon finishing and forced to wait for what seemed like an eternity until A Conjuring of Light released.
Honestly, I was dreading the release a bit because it meant the end of the Shades of Magic series and I wasn’t ready for that. I’m still not ready and I’ve already read it. So right, the book. Was it good?
Do you really need to ask me that?
I’ll start by saying that while A Gathering of Shadows was crazy action and all sorts of things happening at once, A Conjuring of Light slowed things down a bit but not in a bad way. Loose ends needed to be tied up and I think of the three books, this was the most emotional both from the story perspective as well as reading it.
AGOS left off on a major cliffhanger that’s quickly addressed at the beginning of ACOL but that’s not the worst thing the gang has to deal with this time around. Where the book lacked some of the action of previous installments, it more than made up for it with the relationships between all the characters. Everyone has a part to play and are forced to make heartbreaking decisions that had me flying from one page to the next.
Goodness, this is hard without spoiling something from a previous book.
So the big bad from Black London has decided to take over a new world and while it’s a battle of who will come out on top at the end of the day, there’s a lot of backstory dropped into this one that you don’t see in previous books. Holland, for example, gets a whole damn history written for him and I was internally bawling (just wait, the tears broke through by the end). He’s a character that I loved to hate in ADSOM, then he began redeeming himself (marginally) in AGOS, and finally came around in ACOL.
Though he can’t hold a candle to my ships. Last book we met Alucard and I fell in love with an unavailable “privateer” (I mean, Kell is my one true love so that’s alright, I’ll fight Lila). The sailor and Rhy needed a happy ending and I was screaming every few chapters because it was constantly under attack. There were moments I may have had a minor freak out. No big deal.
Those two had the biggest struggle of my ships. To be honest, I expected more with Lila and Kell but the two had that unspoken relationship where you know they’re a thing but nothing is ever said. It comes through their actions. They did relatively well throughout the whole book, though had their respective personal struggles as well as balancing the dynamic of the entire group.
Somehow I’ve kept it together this far but just give me a moment. I have to talk about the ending.
First, every time I see the word Anoshe I start tearing up (and yes, that includes when I typed it). But it’s nothing compared to when I reached that first conclusion of the story. You know, that moment when everything is (relatively) alright and what’s coming up is the wrap-up, the conclusion to the conclusion.
I stopped reading, 17 pages to go. And I sat there, fighting the tears and the lump in my throat because somehow all those emotions sneaked up on me. I don’t cry very often, like ever really. And never over a book.
Almost ruined the pages with tears, y’all. Moved it just in time.
And so I picked up the book once more and I read those last 17 pages and closed it, completing the end of an extraordinary fantasy series. I have never had such a strong reaction to a series ending. Ever. And I’m not sure I will again.
Don’t let these books go to the wayside. If you haven’t started the series and decided to read this review anyway, I’m very confused but alright, now go read them! And if you’re putting off ACOL… I understand. You’ll likely never be ready for the end but know that you’re not alone in that. And I don’t think there’s anything else I can truly say as my heart hurts too much to put those feelings in words. I’ll just leave you with one that, if it holds no meaning now, it soon will.