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Shades of Magic #3

A Conjuring of Light

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Fantasy (2017)
The precarious equilibrium among the four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness easts 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. 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 and the Night Spire crew are attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible, as an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown and a fallen hero is desperate to save a decaying world...

666 pages, Paperback

First published February 21, 2017

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About the author

V.E. Schwab

67 books61.6k followers
V.E. Schwab is the author of more than 20 books for children, teens, and adults.
Alternate spelling of Victoria Schwab.

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5 stars
69,444 (51%)
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Profile Image for Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~.
347 reviews920 followers
October 1, 2019
The reason I am giving this book a 2 stars is because I expected so much more from both this book & this series overall and I am not very satisfied with the development or the ending. Schwab had so much potential going into this series, but ultimately I find myself very let down.

I honestly don't know how to review this book without spoilers and so from this point on there will be unmarked spoilers for the entire series.

***SPOILER ALERT TURN BACK NOW***

I feel as though this final installment was very disjointed.

We've got:

✔Perspectives tossed in here and there that ultimately amount to nothing.
✔Unnecessary emphasis on characters who haven't mattered at all in the first and second books.
✔A plot that takes almost 400 pages to really get going.
✔Questions raised without answers given.
✔A villain who feels neither scary, nor provides a real reason for his being a villain.

So the story begins right where A Gathering of Shadows leaves off. Lila runs off to save Kell and immediately kills Ojka. What was the purpose of creating this neat character, giving us a glimpse of her background, just to kill her off immediately? It felt rather pointless??

Then we spend the next almost 400 pages listening to Kell brood, Alucard jab at Kell while he broods, Rhy float around from room to room (after he avoids death again), and being incessantly reminded that Lila is a cool chick.

If you guys don't already know, Kell and I don't get along. I don't sympathize with his plight, and I find him unnecessarily mopey in most of his scenes (especially in the second book).

I don't mind Alucard, but I find his character to be a bit static. Even by the end of this book, he doesn't grow into anything new and he doesn't really participate in the action scenes in a meaningful way. His sole existence in this story is to create drama for Kell, Rhy, and Lila.

Rhy, though not one of my favorite characters, undeniably experiences the most growth of the four over the course of the book. He evolves his perspective on being given a second chance at life, and ultimately comes to understand what it means to be king. SO bravo I guess on that front?

Lila... Ugh. I want to like Lila so much but she's basically the same Lila we met on the streets in Grey London all those pages back.

Lila's character on her own doesn't bother me as much as the way the Schwab handles telling us about her. I got weary of reading phrases like "thief-soft footsteps" and "she was a mystery" used to describe her. Like... I get it. She's interesting & capable. You don't need to keep reminding me.

Outside of the main cast, we get chapters devoted to random one-time characters that don't really add up to anything, and we get chapters about King Maxim & Queen Emira & Tieren that... don't really add up to anything.

Throwing in perspectives like Nasi, a little girl from White London who admired Ojka, did absolutely nothing for the plot or the world building. This character appears two times, around page 140 and around page 520, but her existence bears no consequence on the story.

Using this character to explain more about Ojka's background could have worked, but since ultimately Ojka didn't end up mattering either it amounted to nothing more than a waste of time.

Adding perspectives like Ned Tuttle & King George IV was so incredibly boring, since once again nothing of consequence happens in Grey London while this plot unfolds.

Writing about Maxim and Emira was too little, too late for me. For the first two books, we've known these two to be side characters. This sudden shift to semi-main character status was jolting.

We only scratched the surfaces of the King's and Queen's lives, and there simply wasn't enough there for me to connect to. I felt completely unattached to them, so their eventual deaths were reduced to plot devices for Rhy's development instead of being meaningful on their own.

After a huge stretch of monotony, the plot finally gets itself going when the crew arrives at the floating black market. Here is where I started to become interested in where the story would go. The Inheritor was an interesting solution even if its existence felt very tailored for defeating Osaron.

For the last 200 pages I was engaged, but pretty disappointed that the resolution of the plot played out exactly the way it was supposed to. Hell, it played out better than it was supposed to really, seeing as Holland survived to see the plan through to completion.

No twists. No surprises. Our four main characters all survive. The end.

Now I'm left wondering:

What about Kell's past? Sure he decided he was better off not knowing about his true parents, but what about me as the reader? Resolving this question with Kell deciding he doesn't need the information was lazy on part of the author.

What about Lila? Where did she come from? How did an Antari originate in Grey London? How did she lose her eye, and why? No, we are too busy being reassured that Lila is sly and mischievous and special to worry about her past, I suppose.

How did the original tokens get into the different Londons? Can we know a little more history so that these worlds don't all feel like cardboard?

What exactly caused Osaron to manifest into Vitari? Shouldn't we be looking for a solution to this problem since this is the second time it's happened? Maybe a way to eliminate the threat that Black London poses by just existing as a magical black hole that spits out perilous villains every so often?

And that brings me to Osaron himself. He just doesn't scare me.

When I read A Darker Shade of Magic, for the first 100 or so pages I was totally and completely enticed by the threat that Osaron presented. His unwanted presence felt menacing and dangerous in Red London and I was intrigued.

But by A Conjuring of Light, he's still... just possessing people? Sure, they're chanting some creepy shit. Sure, he's killed a couple unimportant side characters.

But... Is that all you got?

Oh, and he creates an obsidian replica of the palace for... posturing? Intimidation?

Once all the citizens of Red London are asleep, he's back to being a temperamental, smoke bitch until he's defeated at the end, which wraps up nicely and neatly and quickly in the last 50 or so pages of the book.

I'm not impressed by Osaron.

All three of these books suffer severely from pacing issues, on both a microcosmic and macrocosmic scale. Each book begins with a slow to medium pace, then concludes in a rapid whirlwind of events which is jarring to say the least.

The series takes place over the course of what, a couple months? Maybe 4? Sometimes this can work, but in this case I don't feel it did.

I wish Lila had been gone for two years instead of two months. It would've made much more sense for her to come back after two years of studying with Alucard to feel confident enough to enter the Essen Tasch.

It would've given all of these characters time to grow into people I cared about.

Now, perhaps you noticed I have been neglecting to mention Holland.

That's because Holland was undoubtedly the star of the show.

Holland's moments were such a treat for me. I was immediately entranced by him, and I drank in every one of his stories that Schwab graced us with.

We get his backstory. We understand his motivations. We glimpse the events that have shaped him, hardened him, softened him. Holland's development causes the others' to pale by comparison.

He possessed a depth I could sink my claws into. His death in the Silver Woods was beautifully tragic, and wonderfully appropriate. I just wanted to wrap him in my arms and die with him.

If this series had been about Holland, I would likely be giving it 5 stars right now.

Aside from Holland, Schwab's writing once again is absolutely stunning. This is an author who always impresses me with her writing style. She is whimsical in her descriptions, unique in how she conveys emotion to her readers. I am truly a fan of reading her words.

But this series just did not deliver for me. I craved more intensity. I needed more unpredictability. I wanted meaningful characters that danced their way into my heart & a rich world that beckoned me to keep turning the pages.

What I found here was a superb concept with a less-than-superb execution.
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews154k followers
June 2, 2021
description

Worst Books of 2019 Video
The Actual Review

Rhy: I messed with magic. Nearly killed everyone. Actually, it's still killing everyone.

Lila:

Alucard: Respect your limitations.

Lila:


Kell: I've literally used magic my entire life and you've been at it for what, two months? This will literally kill you.

Lila: I'm calling mom.

Schwab:
By the power of author, I grant thee the power to do anything sans consequences.
description
The Actual Review :
“Life isn't made of choices, it's made of trades. Some are good, some are bad, but they all have a cost.”
The Four Londons have existed (somewhat) in harmony for the past few years - but all that is about to change.

The four realms (Black London, White London, Red London and Grey London) are like alternate realities, each with their own spin on magic.

They can be accessed by Antari, humans with special magic, who create doors to access the other realms.

Years ago in Black London, a piece of black magic became sentient and soon infected their entire world.

White and Red London sealed their doors and thought they were safe.

They did not know that the creature behind Black London's downfall was still alive and awaiting its chance.

When Holland, an Antari from White London was sacrificed, was thrown into what was left of Black London, he was unwittingly sacrificed to the sentient magic.

He became subject to the whims of an insane and insatiable magic. For the first time, in years, black magic will walk between the Londons.
“Death comes for us all," said Holland evenly. "I would simply have mine mean something.”
Meanwhile Kell and Lila must find a way to save their London, and all the Londons, before it is too late.
“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.”
Talk about a whirlwind!

Ultimately - this was a good third novel, though the more I think on it...the less I seem to like it. I'm going to cover - what I liked, Tragic Hero Holland and Lila-gate 2019.

What I liked - aka, I was entertained but not loving it...

It had plenty of action, adventure and mayhem.

I legitimately did not know what direction this will take nor who would die throughout this novel. That kept it fresh and exciting for me.

But it did seem to play fast and loose some of the book's original magic rules... which was somewhat annoying.

Putting that aside, I did really enjoy the plot.

The way the black London magic crept across the world - crazy-cool! Plus, I liked how the "big bad" was not a traditional villain.

He had no reasoning, no logic, no overarching goal. He wanted to do some bad things...and he did them.

And the characters! Rhys! Oh, I was so happy for him and his beau - such a perfect couple. It was wonderful to have such a strong couple in the book.

I did enjoy how Lila and Kell really found their stride in this novel - the way they played off each other warmed my heart.

But... they seemed like really good friends in their banter rather than lovers. I mean Kell does say he loves her a million times... but we do not see the love develop.

However, there were a few things that took me out of the novel:

Tragic Hero Holland - aka, you've had a sh*tty life? Let me sh*t on it some more

By no exaggeration, the treatment of Holland was so awful that it bordered on comedy.

The guy has been to hell and back all for what?

Everyone to sh*t on him, apparently.

Kell even knew that Holland had no control over himself while soul-bound to the evil twins, and yet Kell let everyone make Holland's life miserable.

Kell pushed a dying Holland into Black London to die... then gets all prissy when the half-dead guy makes a deal to save his entire country.

Everyone's hatred seemed nonsensical. There's justified prejudice and there's over-the-top.

It could be my tinfoil hat, but it felt like the author was throwing the book at Holland so she could check every box from the Misunderstood Tragic Hero (TM) trope.

Lila-gate 2019 - aka mom plays favorites

This book was Lila's personal sandbox. She could pretty much do anything she wanted because "reasons"...

Logically, Lila's powers should've been the weakest (she's a Grey Londoner, she hasn't practiced very long, etc...) but she continuously showed everyone up.

It felt a little like the author loved Lila so much that she gave her a free pass to do whatever. It got so freaking annoying that I literally just couldn't stand her in this book.

What is the point of creating rules for your world if one character just gets to do whatever they want, whenever they want??

Overall

This one was enjoyable. It dragged at times but picked up at the 400 pg mark.

The characters were unique and (mostly) believable.

I won't be returning for a reread but I'll definitely be checking out Schwab's other series.

Audiobook Comments
Well-read, though Lila's voice did grate on my nerves sometimes.

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Profile Image for Victoria Schwab.
Author 37 books103k followers
Read
February 10, 2017
With ACOL hitting shelves this month, I guess it's time to finally mark it as read...I don't know what else to say, except I've never been prouder of a book, and I really hope my readers enjoy the end of this journey.
Profile Image for Petrik.
663 reviews41k followers
February 3, 2018
As of now, this is the number one most overrated and worst trilogy that I've ever read so far.

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


No need for Anoshe, I don’t need any additional strength to let go of this series. Let it be known here that I won’t be reading any more books written by VE Schwab. This is where I must part way with her works. Trust me it’s better for me to do this. For her fans, I’m happy that you love her series but you don’t want to see me rant and rated her books with bad reviews right? I have read all her (Not under Victoria Schwab) book, including the novella ‘Warm Up’ and her books just degrade in quality with each new release for me.

'Vicious' being the first and the best one I read from her, it was a one hit wonder and believe me I would’ve continue with the series but the problem is, after reading this trilogy I change my mind. Vicious should’ve ended up as a standalone, it ended perfectly and I hate when authors decided to continue a standalone into a trilogy. Just like ADSOM (A Darker Shade of Mediocre), the first book started and ended well as a standalone and it should’ve stayed that way.

To sum up, my experience reading this straight after AGOS (A Gathering of Shit), it’s like wiping my ass with sandpaper instead of a tissue. In other word, a bloody asshole experience.



The plot continued straight after the previous book and I seriously thought this book would’ve been better cause it took you into the heat of the action and story right from the beginning but no, as soon as it landed on the 200 pages mark, it became so much worse. To explain this without spoiling anything, this series contained so many plot holes that a Diglett could make a living out of this series.

For example, it’s been stated from the first book that Kell lost his memory before he’s adopted into the Maresh family, just when I thought the book was going to tell his story, nope, the book said “fuck you, you’re not getting one” and instead, letting me know that Lila is a damned one of a kind. Apparently mentioning her Mary Sue existence repeatedly is more important than the characters background.

I’ll be honest, this book is less infuriating to read compared to AGOS because there’s less emphasis on Lila compared to before but my god this series is the first series that ever made me pray to a fictional character. I kept on praying to Kira Yagami, “Kira, please write Lila’s name. Cause of death: impaled by her own knifes through her mouth.” to end her life every moment she spoke.

“Then why are you smiling?” “Because,” she said, “bad ideas are my favorite kind.”


OH REALLY!? How about this? Take out your favorite knifes, cut your tongue out or drown yourself in the Arnesian sea. How bowdah for a bad idea? Seems like something you'd enjoy, hmm? Hmm? HMMM!?

Apparently being reminded that she’s a badass (pretty sure she literally has a bad ass now) is more crucial to the explanation behind her ultimate Mary Sue developments, there is no clear explanation behind all her powers, her background, NONE! But get this, instead of Kell’s and Lila’s background, VE Schwab decided to let us know about so many side characters that barely made an appearance in the previous books. Why in the world would I care about these side characters that barely exist from before when I couldn’t even care about the main characters already? Use these pages to flesh out the background of the main characters dammit, not providing POV for so many characters that are worthless to the main story.

Like the previous book, most of the story took place only in Red London. Seriously, the amount of wasted potential on the world-building of this series too damn huge. In fact, only the first book of the trilogy applied the 4 London concepts appropriately.

The main antagonist is also one of the worst antagonists I ever read in a fantasy or any book. Not only he’s like a ghost who’s less scary than Casper, Michelin would’ve made a scarier antagonist compared to this fart, no seriously, look at this beast.



The final confrontation is very underwhelming, to say the least. It took more than 500 pages to reach and it ended in less than 40 pages. Instead of a great climax scene, we receive a tedious 50 pages epilogue with cheesy romance.

Honestly, this book should’ve received a one star from me but again, I have huge praises towards Holland. This is literally the only redeeming factor of the book for me, unlike all other character, this book actually sheds light on Holland’s background beautifully. Right from his childhood up to why he’s the way he is now. In my opinion, Holland should’ve been the main character of the trilogy. IF every other character received the same treatment as him, this book would’ve been a much better experience. Instead all we get is brooding Kell, Mary Sue who have a fetish with knives and other worthless POV's less important than potatoes.

One last thing to mention, Rhy’s development is not bad here, in the first book he seemed like this creature that will literally fuck everything that moves, despite his stupidity in some part of the book, he actually has more personality and development compared to the Kell and Lila.

I could go on for so much longer on why this book didn’t work for me but I’ll just end it here. This series drained the energy out of me and now I’m literally exhausted. I seriously thought VE Schwab probably signed a contract with the devil or something during my time of reading this book to make this book reached its fame and praises with this quality. Don’t believe me? Look at the total number of pages of the UK edition, it’s 666.

Shade of Magic is easily the worst trilogy I ever read in my entire life so far. It will be hard for me to ever find another series as bad as this. I know I’m on the unpopular opinion side on this trilogy here but I honestly won’t recommend this trilogy for anyone who’s an avid adult fantasy fans. I feel robbed buying the physical books and thinking this will be an adult-oriented trilogy which it definitely isn’t. This is an unpopular and honest opinion of mine, I’m glad that a lot of you love this series but sadly, it’s just not for me.

Series review:

A Darker Shade of Magic: 3/5 Stars

A Gathering of Shadows: 1/5 Stars

A Conjuring of Light: 2/5 Stars

Shades of Magic: 6/15 Stars

You can find the rest of my Adult Epic/High fantasy and Sci-Fi reviews at BookNest
Profile Image for Ben Alderson.
Author 23 books13.1k followers
February 17, 2017
NO FAULTS.
AMAZING.
I LOVED IT.
IM CRYING.
anoshe


ANNNNOOOOOOOOSHHEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

i hope she does a spin off!
Profile Image for Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink.
258 reviews4,858 followers
June 5, 2017
I.... don't know what to do with myself. I am so completely overwhelmed with emotions and so far past blown away... and now I'm trying to write a review for one of the greatest stories ever told.

"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."


You guys... if you haven't picked up this series... start it now. As an aspiring author... I pray to get even a sliver of Schwab or Bardugo's brilliance. The writing was absolute perfection. But really quick.. can we just focus on how freaking awesome Schwab is as a person? I don't know if you've seen her twitter... but she's so open and honest about the struggles of being a writer (not to mention hilarious) but then she pumps out something like this book. Wow. Also, I got to meet her at Yallfest. I was in a wheelchair and I couldn't have gotten back to her signing - but she actually took time to come out to me. Victoria... *virtual hug*

Anyway, since I'm barely able to even function (I'm still a blubbering mess after finishing this book...) I'm just going to summarize a mess of words/statements below and hope it makes sense.

Be ready because the moment you open this book... you'll hit the ground running. It picks up literally seconds where the second left off... and it doesn't slow down. The first 20-30% was non stop craziness... and it was wonderful and painful and entirely too stressful and I found myself screaming and laughing and I don't even know.. you guys... I don't even know.

The only slow moments in this ENTIRE book were the flashbacks - and there were lots of little ones all throughout. They were very core to character development and I actually really enjoyed them.

I literally cannot even begin to talk about the plot. I'm going to refrain from giving away any details. But I'll say this- I really liked the first book though I felt it was slow at times. I LOVED the second as it took the series to a whole new level of emotional turmoil. This one just blew me away. The pacing was perfect (as I said, VERY fast paced, only slowing during flash backs) and full of surprises (and stress). I was so attached to everyone (even the side characters) that I was literally racing through the pages so now I'm going to have to go back and reread for details. I've highlighted about 30 quotes. I've cried and laughed and screamed and now I'm completely exhausted.

"We don't choose what we are, but we choose what we do."


To summarize, here's what you can expect.
1. Blood. Repeatedly. (Like... half of this book is fight scenes I feel like.)
2. New and interesting POVs.
3. Kiss your heart goodbye.
4. Tears. Lots.
5. Stress and anxiety because you'll love EVERYONE
6. Pirate ships. Magic. New magical abilities.
7. Brilliance. On every page.

So all I have left is to sit here and proclaim my love for the cast.

Lila is her usual BAMF self. She had so many witty one liners and she was endless entertainment. I love love loved her contribution to the story - she kinda has a character arc but kinda doesn't. She's learned to let people in, but at the same time, she's so true to herself. Some of the highlights for me were obviously moments with Kell- but also with Alucard. (Ok, brb, need to cry because of all the emotional beautifulness.)

Kell. I literally cannot. Precious smol- must be protected at all costs. This guy. The second book made me feel for him SO much. He's so selfless that even Rhy gives him crap about being so perfect. Oh my gosh Kell and Rhy- strongest brother relationship I've ever read. I need to cry again. Also Kell and Alucard banter was EVERYTHING. And then the parental issues... you'll just have to see.

Rhy - easily one of my all time favorite characters. He' so freaking hilarious and sassy and I feel like we would be best friends. He's easily as selfless as Kell, though he doesn't even see it. A little reckless, but he can't help it.

HOLLAND. Holy freaking crap of the world. I did not expect to care about him so much. I can't even function right now. BYE.

Alucard. I can't form words. BYE.

Ugh. The whole entire cast. Even the side characters like Lenos and Hostra .. and oh my gosh the whole Maresh family... I'm just... I want to cry because every character was so beautifully done.

The ending does not disappoint. Everything was wrapped up - and I'm just sitting here thinking... what now? What do I even do with myself? Do I pick it up and read it again? Do I sit here and grieve because its over? Ugh.

Lastly, I HIGHLY recommend the audiobook version!! The second book and this book are narrated by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading and they are both wonderful - but especially Kate Reading for Delilah. Seriously I was LOLing so much at her sarcastic wit.

You guys... read this series.

OH OH is this a Leigh Bardugo / Six of Crows reference? Ahahah.
"People spoke of love as if it were an arrow. A thing that flew quick, and always found its mark."


LAST THING SORRY. I made a playlist - check it out ;)
https://open.spotify.com/user/brilia/...

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Profile Image for Samantha.
406 reviews16.7k followers
March 7, 2018
No one is more stunned by this rating than me. For a series in which I was neutral on the first book and hated the second, this is one of my favorite finales. ..... I am confusion. Pleasant confusion... but confusion...
Profile Image for Ashley Nuckles.
190 reviews7,277 followers
January 10, 2020
Reread January 2020: sometimes you reread a story, and you realize you’ve forgotten how absolutely fucking incredible it is. This is one of those times.

If A Gathering of Shadows deserved 100+ stars, A Conjuring of Light deserves 10x that many. I have no words. This series is honestly my favorite out of everything I've ever read and I just want to reread the first one now that it's all over! My heart is so happy. Anoshe ADSOM.
Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 5 books13.5k followers
December 2, 2020
“A myth without a voice is like a dandelion without a breath of wind.
No way to spread the seeds.”


Victoria Schwab is my favourite. I've read every one of her books, from The Archived to The Near Witch, This Savage Song and Vicious. Alright, not the middle grade/childrens books, but I feel like I'm a little too old for that.
I love her. She is one amazing, badass author. She has such a beautiful mind, she writes the most fantastic, dark and thrilling stories. She is truly unique and I'm so excited what the future holds for her (and for her readers).

It may not come as a surprise when I tell you that the Shades of Magic series is one of my favourites as well. The concept alone is stunning. ADSOM swept me off my feet. In AGOS I lost my heart to Rhy and Alucard (I lost it to Rhy in ADSOM already, but a heart can be lost more than once when it's Rhy).
I had the highest of hopes for this finale. Maybe slightly too high. I think I scared myself a little. And while I loved the book it didn't take me by storm. I think it's one of those "It isn't you, it's me!" cases because I can't find anything wrong with this book. I'm just not in love with it the way I'm in love with book 1 and 2.
Writing a conclusion to a series is hard. It happens so (so so so) often that I'm 100% thrilled by a series and then 100% disappointed with the last book. Only a few authors manage to make the finale as great or even better than the prequels. Two rare examples are J.K. Rowling and Nora Sakavic. Even Leigh Bardugo and Maggie Stiefvater can't always convince me and they are two incredible writers.

So what happened here? Why was I hesitating to pick this book up, when I was desperately pining for it for a whole year? What was I scared of? Yup, you guessed it: Disappointment.
In the end, the pacing was great, but some plot twists felt superfluous, unnecessary. Red London is in a state of panic and destruction. Osaron is the most powerful evil black magician ever. There is no time for anything but battle preparation. And the three most powerful magicians, the three people who are truly capable of destroying Osaron leave the country for several days? I'm not sure that's very realistic. There were several situations like this, some where I thought that they could have been left out of the book entirely and nothing would have changed except for the page count. In the end, a smaller page count and a more crafted and compromised plot would have improved the book and left me more satisfied.
This fantasy world also lost some of its magic. Book 1 was so special and creative, book 2 introduced us to new cultures and characters, but book 3 didn't have this original and simply magical feeling to it anymore. Something went missing along the way. Even my favourite ship (Rhylucard) was less exciting than before.

Luckily Victoria's writing is on point. Here dialogues are simply really good and so is the world she created. I'm also glad that Lila finally got a grip and got off this ego trip that she was on in AGOS. She annoyed me to hell and back.
I couldn't give this book 5 stars even if I wanted to and 3 stars would have been the understatement of the year, but 4 stars feel just right.

Victoria Schwab deserves a break. She is writing books like a madwoman and her books are intense and nervewracking and probably a hard piece of work for the author. And while I can't wait for Vengeful and Our Dark Duet I just want to say thank you so much for the wonderful stories you share with us. You are truly awesome.

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Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,621 reviews5,059 followers
April 23, 2022
#1 A Darker Shade of Magic ★★★★★
#2 A Gathering of Shadows ★★★★★
#3 A Conjuring of Light ★★★★★

I’ve been putting off writing this review for a month, which is about the same length of time I put off finishing the book itself, because I simply have not been prepared to say goodbye to this trilogy. Reading these three books has been one of the most emotional, anxiety-inducing, and genuinely magical experiences of my entire life. I have so much to say, with no idea how to express any of it.

“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 can safely say that I have never loved every character in a series the way I do with this one. I mourned every loss, laughed and cried tears of joy over each close call, every triumph, every kiss and reunion. The thing about this trilogy is that there are certain evils which must be faced and conquered, but what really stays with you is the build-up of these characters and their relationships with one another. I can’t even choose a favorite, because I love them all so much, in such different ways.

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

In typical Schwab fashion, though, the action scenes are downright glorious. I love that, no matter how many moving pieces are in a battle, I never struggle to keep up with exactly what is happening, because her writing is so immersive that it transports you right into the center of the fight. You never know quite what twist or slight of hand to expect next.

“What are we drinking to?”
“The living,” said Rhy.
“The dead,” said Alucard and Lila at the same time.
“We’re being thorough,” added Rhy.

Of course, it’s not all war and heartache; there are always these gorgeous moments woven in of bonding, of bickering and playful banter. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much in so many moments of sheer and utter anxiety, but that’s this series in a nutshell—especially the second and third installments. I actually joked recently that I’m so happy there is going to be a spin-off series, but at the same time, I need ample room to recover before putting my heart through the misery of another book with these characters scaring me half to death and breaking my heart every other chapter.

“Death comes for us all. I would simply have mine mean something.”

I don’t know what else to say at this point. I wanted this review to be eloquent and thorough, but when I think back on this story, I am immediately pulled into such reminiscence for the feelings it drew out of me that I have a hard time viewing it subjectively and squaring it off into little, easy to describe compartments.

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.”

A month after completing it, I feel comfortable in now saying that this is the single greatest series I have ever read in my life, and Victoria Schwab has solidified a permanent place in my heart. I will buy anything and everything she writes in the future, and I will doubtlessly reread this trilogy over and over again. The writing is so flawless, and frankly, you could just tattoo this whole damn trilogy onto my body if there was enough room, and I’d be just fine with that, thank you.

You can find this review and more on my blog, or you can follow me on twitter, bookstagram, or facebook!

---

Buddy read with Terry and Julie! ♥♥♥
Profile Image for Caz (littlebookowl).
301 reviews40.3k followers
September 5, 2018
WELL.

This was an intense read, and I LOVED every moment of it (even when I was crying and in pain). A magnificent book and conclusion to a series. These characters have stolen my heart and run off with it. I don't mind, though.

Thanks Red & Kassie for buddy reading with me and making this reading experience so magical <3
Profile Image for jessica.
2,503 reviews30.8k followers
August 6, 2018
why on earth am i so emotional right now!?!?! its been awhile since a conclusion to a series has hit me so hard. goodness, my heart is full.

i loved that this picked up immediately where ‘a gathering of shadows’ left off. it was such a quick dive straight into the conclusion and this final book really has the best qualities of the previous two - more marvellous world building is at play as the characters travel beyond the city of london, and touching backstories/flashbacks are present to give even more depth and development to those characters with whom i have bonded. but where this book found its own voice was in its plot.

this was filled with so much more action and adventure that wasnt quite as prevalent previously. so much was at stake that i couldnt put this down - i became so invested in the captivating writing, the constant peril and intrigue, and the emotions i felt for the characters and their redemption. just everything about this pulled me in and wouldnt let go.

and even though this book hit every mark all the way through, it was really the ending that shined for me. this was wrapped up so nicely and provided the closure i needed after pouring my heart and soul into this story across three books. i felt very at peace with the way the story was resolved, which is all i could have asked for.

and so to this series i tenderly and lovingly say, anoshe - until another day.

4.5 stars
Profile Image for Simona B.
886 reviews2,969 followers
February 23, 2017
“Myths do not happen all at once.”

You would not be wrong in thinking of me as a girl of few certainties.

“...They do not spring forth whole into the world.”

The usual ones: the love of my family, my love for them, and one big dream -we all have one of those, even when we don't know we do- that keeps me going.

“...They form slowly, rolled between the hands of time until their edges smooth...”

There are also one or two things peculiar to me alone, of course. Unfortunately, they have a tendency to be dull things. But one of these, the brightest one, I think, is that I love stories. Always have, always will.

“...until the saying of the story gives enough weight to the words—to the memories—to keep them rolling on their own.”

And once, I used to think I knew how stories work. I thought I was able to pick them up, look them over, and tell who and what and where and when. (Though not the why; the why is always another story.)

“...But all stories start somewhere...”

I thought indeed that I could say, here it starts, and, there it ends. But as I grew, and read, I started to see that things are not quite this simple. It would take a certain story to finally make realize the truth. The truth being...

“...and that night, as Rhy Maresh walked through the streets of London...”

The truth being, stories don't like to have their boundaries set. Never have.

“...a new myth was taking shape.”

And never will.

description

•One day I'll publish an essay on what makes for a good storytelling, and all I will write in it will be: Victoria Schwab nailed it all down. There is no other way to put it: in A Conjuring of Light, and in the Shades of Magic series more generally, she was perfect. Elegant, graceful, confident, composed while vibrant and stirring while unruffled, polished, dynamic, exquisite; in two words, absolutely regal. Schwab's prose is something you can't equal, because it's one of a kind, something you can't forget, because it won't let you go, and something you can't even believe, because it is, very simply, too beautiful and mesmerizing to be true.

Each one of these characters is so fleshed-out I'm honestly astonished that even their names can stay put and flat on the page. In the previous instalment, I'd had some issues with Lila, who in my eyes had gone through the whole book being more boastful and hot-headed than I -or anyone- could take, instead of showing the determination and strength that had captivated me in A Darker Shade of Magic. But the Lila we meet in this conclusion is definitely more mature, while losing none of her distinctive fierceness and boldness and tenacity.
“There were a hundred shades between a truth and lie, and she knew them all.”

Kell, Rhy and Alucard are just as amazing as we all knew they would be, plus, prepare yourselves to be delighted -and wrecked, and shattered, and wrecked some more- by some secrets concerning Alucard's (and to a degree Rhy's) past and some crucial plot-twists determining our favourite crown prince's future. The events test them both, and they are made all the stronger by their obstacles, the ones they share as well as the ones they have to overcome alone. Rhy's dedication and resolve, in particular, are splendidly inspirational.

•It seems my stupid, stupid mind realized this only with this book, but Holland is such an incredible and extraordinary character. I cannot explain how much my heart bled and sang for him. I feel the need to reread the whole series just to appreciate him as he deserves and as I should have done from the beginning.
“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.”

Osaron is one of the best villain I've had the (dis)pleasure to meet in a long while, and I was completely caught off guard and captivated by how compelling he proved to be. Besides, I utterly adore the concept that he's pure magic.
“It is an arrogant man that thinks himself a god.
And an arrogant god, thought Tieren, looking to the window, that thinks himself a man.”

•The plots of A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows were already exceptional, but A Conjuring of Light basically towers over them. Fast-paced and heart-stopping, yet it never comes off as overly packed or in any way excessive -since we've already established that Schwab's trademarks are elegance and balance, I shouldn't even need to specify it.

There is one single insignificant tiny thing that felt slightly random, or maybe out of place, and that's the favour that Lila traded with . I expected it to be brought up again before the end, and it wasn't, and it felt a bit like a loose end. I'm really trying not to hope that Schwab purposely made it so, so as to have a sort of foothold for a possible continuation/spin-off/something, I promise I'm trying, but it just seems so natural and obvious once you notice. I just don't want my heart broken (again).
Speaking of loose ends, I also thought Nasi's POV had been introduced because she would have a role later in the story, but that was apparently a red herring or purely a necessity in order to develop Ojka's character.

•I think that plot-wise this works perfectly, and I feel that this was exactly how things were supposed to go, but I was and still am dreadfully curious about . I guess that's just something I'll have to live with. (See how hard I'm trying not to hope?)

➽ I could try to put into words what I feel for this series, I could put my thinking cap on and make countless attempts, and still I would get nowhere. There simply are no words. I can only redirect you to my review of A Darker Shade of Magic and my review of A Gathering of Shadows, and hope they'll make my point a little clearer. Because believe me, you want to pick this series up. Of course, afterwards you'll want to kill me for introducing you to the most addictive obsession (?) of your life. But I'm more than confident that you'll also want to thank me. And until then, anoshe.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,398 reviews9,516 followers
March 6, 2017
LORD HAVE MERCY! THIS BOOK!

 :



I was so afraid to go into it because I just knew everyone was going to die and that would be it, THEN END! Yes, people died. Yes, I let out some tears at parts. Yes, it was amaze balls. Yes, there was a lot of blood and violence. Yes, there was evil and magic and good. YES! YES! YES!

I love Rhy, Kell, Lila and Alucard so much. I even started to love ole Holland. There are other side people too. ❤

There is so much stuff going on. It starts right out of the gate and just doesn't really stop. Maybe a break here and there but not too much. I think this was a perfect ending to this trilogy.

And I love that Lila is a bad@ssed woman in the book! I love when author's add a woman that can kick arse and take names.

"Tell you what, " said the first attacker. "If you beg, we'll make it quick."

Lila's blood sang the way it always did before a fight, clear and bright and hungry. "And why," she said, "would I want to rush your deaths?"

"Cocky bitch," growled the second. "I'm gonna fu--"

Her knife hissed through the air and embedded itself in his throat. Blood spilled down his front as he clawed at his neck and toppled forward, and she made it under the next man's guard before the body hit the ground, driving her serrated blade up through his chin before the first blow caught her, a fist to the jaw.

She went down hard, spitting blood into the street.

Heat coursed through her limbs as a hand grabbed her by the hair and hauled her to her feed, a knife under her chin.

"Any last words?" asked the man with the rotting teeth.

Lila held up her hands, as if in surrender, before flashing a vicious smile.

"Tyger, Tyger," she said, and the fire roared to life.


If you haven't read this trilogy and have been wanting to, I suggest you get on it because it's freaking awesome!

 :

Anoshe.


MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
680 reviews1,045 followers
January 25, 2020
Just...wow ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

"Because 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."

What an epic trilogy this has been! That quote pretty much sums up my love for all of these characters. Dark magic has come to red London, leaving a trail of death and devastation in its wake. Kell, Lila, Alucard, Holland and a small crew take to the high seas to find something, ANYTHING that can defeat Osaron.
Meanwhile Rhy (my darling love) is at the palace, trying to keep the people calm in the midst of panic and fear.

Despite me constantly stopping and starting this book, every time I picked it back up I wondered why I put it down in the first place! So much action and drama. We learn more of Holland's background (and I learned to love him as well).

"Dawn to dusk. A fresh start. A good end."

Plenty of stuff happens that I won't mention because spoilers. But this was such a wonderful round up of the trilogy, and I even got a bit emotional at the end! Love love love, and I will definitely be coming back for a reread!

"Death comes for us all...I would simply have mine mean something."
Profile Image for prag ♻.
586 reviews585 followers
March 20, 2018
Patient Name: Pragya Maresh Bard
Status: DEAD
Cause of death: Unknown; possible sources: V.E. Schwab
Symptoms: Screaming; thrashing; crying profusely; repeatedly muttering lila bard
Diagnosis: WHAT THE FUCK I AM DEAD HOLY SHIT

SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT SANCT




WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD





Delilah Bard:

He said she was mad and stubborn and no use to us dead - an accurate summary of lila bard by tieren, head priest and knower of things

“You think this is a bad idea,” he said. It wasn’t a question. But it sparked something in Lila, rekindled the fire in her eyes and ignited a grin.
“Without a doubt.”
“Then why are you smiling?”
“Because,” she said, “bad ideas are my favorite kind.”

It’s no secret (if you know me at all) that I identify as Lila Trash™, and @allthehaters, here's a list of reasons why LILA BARD IS AWESOME AND YOU'RE WRONG:
1. SHE SINGLE HANDEDLY RESCUED KELL FROM A PARALLEL UNIVERSE FROM A CAGE PROTECTED BY THE SHARPEST KNIGHT IN WHITE LONDON
2. She's fucking badass.
3. She's Lila Bard and she doesn't give a damn.
My friend (who hated Lila) said she wasn't as annoying in this book. And I suppose, in a sense it's true - she went through a hell lot of character development. She hated goodbyes, but she said them. She hated caring, but she cared anyway. She wanted to run, but she stayed anyway. These subtle changes were far more powerful than any words could be.



If book #1 was Kell and book #2 was Lila, this was Holland. Holland, who V.E. Schwab ships with sadness. Holland, who lost everything but still fought for his world. Holland, who broke my heart because FUCK NOBODY DESERVES SO MUCH PAIN.

The bodies piled. Athos watched. Astrid grinned. Holland’s hand moved on its puppet string. And his mind screamed until it finally lost its voice.









- Kell x Lila:
They kiss so much?? Honestly I should have kept count of how many times they kiss because they’re rushing off to danger every two seconds and just kiss before all the time just for luck you know
- also LILA ALMOST DIED and kell breaks apart and jfc he carries her back and hugs her and MY HEART








- Rhylucard: I SHIP THEM SO MUCH. SO DAMN MUCH.
- I swear, 75% of my highlights from this book are rhylucard moments because they're so precious honestly
“Luc?” rasped Rhy.
“I’m here,” answered Alucard. “I’m here. Stay with me.”
He tried to speak, but his heart slammed against his ribs as if trying to break through.
It redoubled, then faltered.
- He woke up and called him luc my heart is over he was dying and what he thought of what said was luc jfc
Alucard clutched his lover’s hand.
- HE CALLED HIM HIS LOVER I AM DEAD I AM DYING
- THE WORLD WENT TO HELL AND YOU KNOW WHAT ALUCARD’S REACTION WAS:
All that mattered - all that would ever matter - was this.
Rhy was alive.
- I mean, how can you not cry reading that?





Also can we talk about Kell on Rhylucard & Alucard walking in on Kell and Lila because it's the best thing ever:

- I love Protective Kell™ so much
“I told you to keep him safe, not cuddle”


- also this:
“Kell,” she said, the word something between a whisper and a gasp.
And then the door burst open.
Alucard stood in the doorway, soaking wet, as if he’d just been dumped in the sea, or the sea had been dumbed over him.
“Stop fucking with the ship.”

- I have never laughed so much in my life



This book is a monster. Actually - V.E. Schwab is a monster. A beautiful cold hearted monster who will stop at nothing less than my death. Well? There you have it. A GODAMM PERFECT ENDING.

This is why I run. Because caring was a thing with claws. It sank them in, and didn’t let go. Caring hurt more than a knife to the leg, motor then 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.





VERDICT: VICTORIA SCHWAB HAS SHATTERED ME AND I DON'T KNOW IF I'LL EVER BE FINE. WHAT I DO KNOW IS THAT EVERYBODY ON THIS PLANET NEEDS THIS TRILOGY IN THERE LIFE.





pre-review(s) because I'm trash lmao


update: IT'S HERE OH MY GOD I'M SCARED TO ACTUALLY READ IT WTF

another update because I CAN'T CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT WHAT IS THIS LIFE I NEED THIS BUT I CAN'T READ IT will probably skip school and read it the second it comes out because yes I'm Trash honestly I've never wanted anything in my life so much??

ALSO I HEARD THERE'S DEATH I WILL SUE IF THERE'S DEATH

(messages from me to may and honestly i'm mad because nobody's as excited for this as I am HELLO IT'LL BE THE END OF AN ERA) (also i feel like it's been a lot of time since I said this but I LOVE LILA BARD just an update)








Do you know what I just realised? (yes this is an update because I thought I was ready, guess what I'M NOT)

This book releases in 18 days.
Which is to say, 432 hours.
259200 minutes.


15552000 seconds till we get more Kell and Lila and Alucard and Rhy.

I know it's not accurate. Fight me.
Profile Image for Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd).
332 reviews7,312 followers
September 11, 2017
Updated 9/11/17:
I will be crying for the next 75 years. This was perfection. It was such a good conclusion.

▪️▪️▪️
UMMMMM so I finished A Gathering of Shadows and placed an order for this book within 10 minutes. It only took so long because I had to find my credit card. GIMME.
Profile Image for Kainat 《HUFFLEPUFF & PROUD》.
293 reviews718 followers
Shelved as 'never-ever-ever'
April 19, 2017
DNF 39%

Disclaimer: It's not the book, it might just be me!

Here is the thing, i thoroughly enjoyed Darker Shades of Magic and Gathering of Shadows! However, having to wait an entire year has ruined this series for me. I no longer care about the plot or give any shits about what happens to these characters. I've simply moved on, it seems. This is precisely why i loath starting unfinished series. I am sure it's not a bad book but since i didn't like however much i read, i can't rate it any higher.

(based on what i read)

There is no character development whatsoever.
AH, it bothers me so much. (except Holland)
Lila, let's talk about her first. What is the matter with her? I didn't mind her recklessness in the first book, quite enjoyed it actually. In the second book, however, it was getting a little too ridiculous. i also saw others complaining about it as well, i still decided to overlook it. STUPID ME! This one was just way over the top! This has got to stop. It was just annoying and unrealistic. I couldn't read this bullshit any longer let alone actually take it seriously.

Kell. My precious baby Kell. Oh, how i loved you for years, Kell! You people probably don't have any idea how much I appreciated a character like Kell, who isn't a cliched alpha male crap. (that seems to be the most recent trend in YA *rolls eyes*) His loneliness, him wanting to just belong somewhere got me, man! He seemed totally out of character in this last book. He was whiny and boring AF. Not a great combination, I must say.

I can't stand them as a couple!! They didn't have to be romanticly involved. It felt forced. I've always had an extremely hard time imagining Lila being in a relationship with anyone. IT'S MANON BLACKBEAK ALL OVER AGAIN!!! I'm disgusted and disappointed.

Then there are Rhy and Alucard, who i absolutely, 100% do not give a shit about.

I wanted to keep reading this for Holland.. maybe one day I'll finish it. Just for him.
Profile Image for Anne.
3,839 reviews69.1k followers
May 15, 2017
Ehhhhhh.
I finished this one a while back, but I just couldn't decide how I felt about it.
I mean, it was ok. Nothing was horribly wrong, and I certainly didn't feel pissed off when I closed the book. It just left me with this vaguely meh feeling.
Like...why did I read all of this?
This was, at 624 pages, a HUGE book. <--for me!
I know some of you read massive tomes every night before bed, but I usually snack on comic books or fluffy romance novels, so when these bigguns don't deliver I feel a tad disappointed.

description

And I'm not actually saying it didn't deliver, because look at all the bjillion 5 star reviews! Apparently, I'm one of the few people on the planet that had a lukewarm reaction to A Conjuring of Light, so please don't take this review as a slam on the book. It's a solid finish to the trilogy, there are no dangling threads left out there, and I was (for the most part) satisfied by the way it wrapped up.

description

Schwab is a fantastic storyteller, and since she's managed to write my oldest son's favorite story ever --> Vicious, I'm afraid if I say anything less than glowing I'll have to sleep with one eye open.
You never know with kids these days...
*ducks*

description

Still, I did have a few issues. I'll tag the ones that are possible spoilers...

I guess the other thing I wasn't crazy about was Lila and Kell's relationship. It never felt genuine or even really romantic. I don't know why, but they just seemed like a very dull couple. And I think Schwab can write depth to her romantic attachments because Rhy and Alucard had depth.

P.S. This has nothing to do with the story, but I could not for the life of me stop thinking: Alucard is Dracula spelled backward!
My kids used to LOVE The Batman vs. Dracula movie and there was this one scene in it that kept running through my mind during this entire book...

description

description

Dun, dun, duuun! *gasp!*

Anyway.
I guess the rest of it was fine. There was some great stand out moments that I really enjoyed, and I think anyone who has read the first 2 books should be satisfied with this last installment. Overall though, I can't say I this would be a series/trilogy that I'd want to reread.
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
527 reviews57.6k followers
March 8, 2017
I was incredibly excited to read the last book in this series and wow was it action packed.
Almost too much if that's possible.

I definitely enjoyed it (and recommend it!) but it wasn't as good as the two other ones in my opinion. I overall liked how things were wrapped up at the end but I felt like Lila's character was a bit one-dimensional.

More in my wrap up at the end of the month!
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,156 reviews97.9k followers
May 29, 2018


1.) A Darker Shade of Magic ★★★
2.) A Gathering of Shadows ★★★

“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 have read one book in this series every year for the BooktubeSFF Awards. And every year I enjoy what I’m reading, I close the book pretty pleased, and then I sit down to write my review and start thinking about how these are such big books with so little happening. And I know they are character driven. One of my favorite books of all time is the most character driven thing out there, but for some reason I just don’t love this series like everyone else does.

A Conjuring of Light is the third and final novel in this trilogy that surround four different parallel Londons:
Grey London - is like our real world's London, with no magic. Delilah Bard is from this London.
Red London - is the home of the main protagonist, Kell, where he and his royal family rule. There is an abundance of magic in this London, most coming from a red river which lights up the whole city.
White London - is a city in war with itself. It was ruled by evil twins, but now has a new king. Everyone in this London tries to fight for magic and power within this corrupt city.
Black London - and is still basically a mystery. It is essentially a lost city, since regular people cannot travel between worlds.

And after the brutal cliffhanger ending that was A Gathering of Shadows, A Conjuring of Light picks right back up after the events! And without saying anything too spoilery, since this is the concluding novel and all, our main character, Kell Maresh, and his home, Red London, are in serious danger. But with the help of a ruthless thief/assassin, Lila Bard, a swoon-worthy pirate, Alucard Emery, the best prince to have ever lived, Rhy Maresh, and a very morally grey Antari, Holland Vosijk, they are trying to save everything they’ve ever known and loved.

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

And even the idea of four different color coded Londons, with a handful of magical people who can travel between them, is so damn genius that I don’t even have words for it. Also, V.E. Schwab is such a talented writer. The way she echoes phrases from different books, or even sentences from previous chapters, is so powerful and is able to evoke all the emotions from me. She truly can weave and craft paragraphs together so expertly and I’m constantly impressed with her writing.

I just feel like not a lot happens in her books. Like, a few big, key, important things happen without question, and storylines get completed, but I just feel like it is such a longwinded journey to get there. And these books are so easily consumable that you don’t really realize until after you’ve closed the book. I mean, at least for me and my personal reading experiences. Seriously, go back and look at my other two reviews; I say the same thing. Also, the big bad villain just fell so very short for me. The magic started off so dang well, but the villain really ended up feeling lackluster to me.

But my biggest complaint about the other two installments in this series is that they don’t read or feel adult to me. But you know what A Conjuring of Light reads and feels like? Adult, without question. Also, just a little caveat, if an author says their work is in a certain age bracket/genre, then it is. I am just saying A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows don’t feel or read like adult fantasy to me, but I’m not saying they aren’t. But ACOL did give me those brutal moments that made me go “okay, this isn’t YA” quite a lot.

Also, trigger and content warnings for abuse, torture, abduction, slavery, captivity, talk of suicide, violence, gore, heavy blood depiction, abandonment, and depiction of grief and PTSD. Oh and I guess sexual content, too, but nothing too graphic. (Also, hello, perverted Melanie here to report that that sex scene was 11/10 and was so smooth and sexy and I actually loved it!)

“I have never known what to make of you. Not since the day we met. And it terrifies me. You terrify me. And the idea of you walking away again, vanishing from my life, that terrifies me most of all.”

But my biggest love for this series is Rhy Maresh, who has completely and without question stole my heart. He is easily my favorite character in this series. My beautiful, pure, cinnamon roll, unbreakable boy. I stan one man from this series, and it’s him. And he deserves everything good in the universe.


Breathtaking art meliescribbles

“We don't choose what we are, but we choose what we do.”

Overall, take this review with a large grain of salt. I am for sure in the minority with not loving these books as much as everyone else. And even though this isn’t my favorite series, I think Victoria is incredibly talented and I can’t wait to see what she does next. And I truly think that these books get better and better, with A Conjuring of Light being my favorite in the series, and the last couple chapters of this book had me smiling from ear to ear in pure happiness. And I ultimately do feel really fulfilled and happy with the ending. Plus, I’m very interested (especially after gushing with my friend Julie) with reading the graphic novel series set around a character from this world. Also, I have the highest of hopes for the spinoff that Victoria is working on. I just hope I fall completely head over heels in love, instead of only just enjoying.

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Buddy read with Julie! ❤

Readalong for the BooktubeSFF Awards which is being hosted by:
🌑 Samantha from Sam's Nonsense
🌒 Frankie from Frankie Reads
🌓 Kaitlin from Kitty G
🌔 Rachel from Kalanadi
🌕 Thomas from SFF180
🌖 Connor from Connor O'Brien
🌗 Sam from Thoughts on Tomes
🌘 Chelsea from TheReadingOutlaw
🌑 Elena from Elena Reads Books
Profile Image for destini.
239 reviews504 followers
July 10, 2017
the only reason i haven't skewered and started roasting myself like a kabob for not finishing A Conjuring of Light the first time around is because i finished it the second time and appreciated it for all that it is worth, dEAR LORd.




you know that feeling when you've just walked out of the theater after watching a bomb! ass! movie! that has literally changed your entire being because you've, like, dementored the shit out of it and feel like you're 73% what you've just watched.

that's how i feel after finishing this aND I FEEL LIKE I CAN DO ANYTHING RIGHT NOW.

thankfully, i've retained some of my wits (although an argument can be made otherwise) and will not act on this feeling because i'm pretty sure someone'll just end up walking in on me slowly bleeding to death with my foot stuck in a hole in the wall as i try to enter a different universe.

this book has taken so much from me .............. my heart, my time, my dignity and i just think back to a few days ago where i was seriously concerned because i thought i wasn't really feeling anything for this book. i thought too much time between the first two had passed and now, this series was nothing more fond memory to be left in its place.

i know what you're thinking, who let this plebeian get an account on goodreads and spew this fAKE NEWS. to which i must say....... i hear ya, i respect ya, i'm there.

but then things happened and more things happened and those things turned into other things and the things almost ruined ma life and then things thing'd and i'm just here trying to survive The Things.

and if that makes no sense so you, then welcome to my life, where this book didn't leave me speechless but speechful and none of it makes any sense but i'm just feelings the feels right now.

because these characters find their way into your heart despite your best efforts and the writing is tOP NOTCH and the world-building leaves you breathless. i mean, it's been years since i've said to myself, holy hot darn do i wish this world was real and i was in it but ........ well........ holy hot darn to i wish this world was real and i was in it.

all i have left to say is that this series is over and i am Distraught.
“But all stories start somewhere, and that night, as he walked through the streets of London, a new myth was taking shape.”
Profile Image for Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen).
422 reviews1,621 followers
June 30, 2017
4.25 Stars

Overview:


“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.”


Okay, I know my rating is picky and oddly specific, but it’s true. I enjoyed this more than AGOS (making it my favorite of the series) but it's still just shy of 5 stars.

In fact, that's what I rated it in a blind-emotional fury immediately after I finished. Because there was a lot I loved. ...But also some stuff I didn't.

Another BR with Sana. (Even though she hated AGOS, smh.)

Pros:

I need to read another Schwab book like now. This series was my first experience with her writing and I love it. She utilizes crisp sentences and sensory details so I can completely visualize the scene. She expertly lets the scene rise and fall and is a master at setting tone.

Listen and let me tell you about my two new children: Rhy Maresh and Alucard Emery. I JUST REALLY LOVE BOTH OF THEM OKAY.

Rhy especially has a ton of character development. I laughed with him at the beginning and here my heart broke for him. He has to step up so much and really come into his own as a leader and I just love it.

Alucard and Kell bickering like old women is my new aesthetic. I could have honestly read a whole book about this, I swear. (But I also loved getting to see more of Luc’s backstory and taking him more seriously)

The ending works very well. No spoilers, but everyone ends up in believable places and there’s certainly ramifications.

Speaking of which, the villain here is kind of awesome. Not quite the direction I was expecting for this series, but it works very well and I loved getting inside his head.

There are certain scenes the whole series seemed to be building towards and they are tense. Very well done and some of these really blew my mind.

Yes, hello it is I. Still loving Holland and just silently weeping in the background. Just such a dynamic character with such a strong presence on the page.

Cons:

At almost 700 pages, this is a little long. Places seemed overstuffed while others seemed off-topic, and there just some major pacing issues. The first 100 pages or so take off right after the explosive ending of AGOS, but then everything veers one direction and then another and sort of clambers together by the ending.

I really liked a lot of these elements, but couldn’t help by feel they were a little random? This floating market idea was super cool and I loved the way it played out, but it literally came out of nowhere.

There were several characters who were expanded upon here—the king, queen, visitors from neighboring cities and others. While I really enjoyed their perspectives and how they impacted the story, it felt a little out of place to just now learn about these characters. I wish a lot of this started in the second book.

Listen: Lila is a fun character, but she has no development.

She seems almost exactly the same here as she did at the beginning of ADSOM. She definitely is fun, and I love how capable she is. But at some point the narrative switched to continually telling me what a bad-ass she is. She felt ridiculously over-powered. Why did the second book include a whole plot about magic having consequences and Kell warning her about her recklessness if nothing comes of it???

In Conclusion:

Anoshe


-----------------------------

I'm here for Rhy and Luc. ❤️❤️

(And maybe even Kell)

(Everyone but Lila, probably)
Profile Image for  Teodora .
288 reviews1,586 followers
March 8, 2023
I'm just going to get hooked by this book BRB
description
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4.45/5 ⭐
“Scars are not shameful, not unless you let them be (…). If you do not wear them, they will wear you.”

Well, of course, this book has at the very beginning something the second one lacked almost in all of its length – action that makes me go up the wall.

Okay, I don’t say that A Gathering of Shadows did not have action at all, because it did, but it wasn’t as packed and as accurate to the actual course of the story as it was in A Darker Shade of Magic and in this one.

With that beginning, there was no doubt in my mind that A Conjuring of Light was going to be waaay messier than I initially thought (before actually picking it up). And you know what? I was right.
Messy as hell. 10/10 for the mess, good job with that Ms Schwab!

First things first, even though I really liked this (it gave me a three-course anxiety meal and all that)  I still felt like I couldn’t give it 5 full stars because it was a bit too long for how they handled the whole situation at the end.

It wasn’t bad at all, but it did leave me with a bit of a bitter taste just at the end (and as I type this I am literally wrinkling my nose remembering the feeling). I wanted either less amount of plot or a more complex solution to the problem. But oh well, we can’t have it all I guess.
description

Now, I know that I started off by telling you things I did not like about this book and I generally don’t do that but I really had to give a little fair warning at the beginning, just in case someone’s getting bored with me and my silly little words, you know, waiting for me to get to the point.
And if you thought the things I didn’t like about this are over, think again :D
There is more to come. But later.

Now let’s talk about things I did like. Because – you guessed it by my rating – I did like thing in this too.

For me, Schwab’s writing style is always something I look forward to reading. I always love the way she tells a story. I love the way she is building up her worlds. I love the way she is inserting a little bit of evil in all of her characters.

You simply cannot trust any of V.E. Schwab’s characters.

And that seems to be a rule. But that’s not bad, because the world in which they find themselves is always some kind of general chaos or evil.
“Life is chaos. Time is order.”

Even so, I did love the characters, because even though they are so not trustworthy, they still have something good in them and I dare say, some of them are quite lovely actually.

Alucard, for example, is one character that I truly loved and I enjoyed reading about and his and Rhy’s interactions made me so giggly happy you haven’t a clue.
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Also, I started liking some characters I didn’t really think I would, at least not from the beginning. And that’s always something that gets me by surprise in a very warm way (which hey, it's a good thing!).

However, I did hate the fact that I had to struggle with some of the characters’ stubbornness. And here I will definitely include Kell, Rhy and, the queen of stubbornness herself, Lila Bard.

Why do they feel the need to rebel against a piece of advice? Why not find smart solutions to what is actually bothering them? Why simply go absolutely rogue and create three problems while trying to solve a tiny one?
No clue, I swear. But I wanted to bang their heads into a wall at some point in the book.
description

This book felt a bit like anarchy, to be completely honest. I mean, it did pump some serious amount of adrenaline in my veins at some point and that wasn’t really a bad thing. It was so well written and the characters – annoyingly stubborn as they were – actually made sense to the whole action. The story unravelled nicely and the only thing I wished from it was to not be, I don’t know, so rushed at the end. To make them last a bit longer.

That ending really felt like everyone has struggled and suffered so much for so little. Hello?? The solution was RIGHT THERE IN YOUR FACES.
That easy. Ugh.

I did enjoy this book. And I do recommend the whole trilogy, it’s absolutely fantastic, wildly imaginative and different from other books of the same genre. A uniqueness signed V.E. Schwab.
“They ran together with the river and the mist and the moonless sky until they were everywhere.”
Profile Image for Piera.
40 reviews2,837 followers
February 21, 2017
A truly beautiful ending to an incredible series. Schwab never disappoints and this book, as well as the first two, were phenomenal.
Profile Image for rin.
411 reviews490 followers
February 22, 2017
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.


me: *slams fist on table* time to write acol review
inner me: you can't write a serious one even if they paid you
inner me: you're going to babble and yell incoherently
inner me: it would be full of cringe
inner me: and you will also cry
me: *slams two fists on table* THATS THE PLAN

I HONESTLY DONT KNOW WHERE TO START. SO MANY FEELINGS.

acol is a beautiful conclusion of one of my most favorite book series and i spent 10 minutes crying because it's over. i can't easily let my favorite characters and one of my favorite worlds go.

i pulled an allnighter to read this book, i binge read it for 11 hours, had like 2 hours of sleep in two days, paced around my flat like a fucking zombie numb and empty after i finished it and I REGRET NOTHING. i loved this book so much!!! it's so intense, action-packed and glorious. i enjoyed the story and all characters interactions and i WISH it would've been longer (even tho its 600+ pages lmao)

this book made me cry so fucking much though. like, i don't cry easily and GODDAMN IT VICTORIA why. acol made me feel so many things, it made me laugh, made me cry, made me so worried sometimes, i felt like dying. sometimes it was SO FUCKING CREEPY and sometimes it was so FLUFFY. also JEEZ there was no relaxing, something good happens and you're like 'oh phew' and then you turn the page AND SHIT HITS YOU IN THE FACE. pls give me a break????
i'm very sad that the story has ended but at the same time im very happy.

A Conjuring of Light may mark the end of one adventure, but remember: when it comes to this world, new doors are always being made.
- Victoria Schwab


!!!!!!!!!!
everything further contains spoilers which i won't mark as spoilers so PLEASE don't read it further if you haven't read the book yet
!!!!!!!!!!




listen, i expected it to be cool, but it was way cooler??? but what's with this KILLING SPREE. remember when victoria was like oh this book is 35% death and i was like phew it doesnt sound so bad AND THEN THIS BOOK MURDERED LIKE EVERY SIDE CHARACTER I CARED ABOUT AND I WAS LIKE WHAT THE FUCK VICTORIA. i cried the hardest at calla's death, maxim's death, hastra's death (omg i cant even think abt it without tearing up??? he thought he was a bad guard and then he saved kell and,,,,send help why did my tiny son die he should've been a priest but then kell might've died WHY) AND HOLLAND'S DEATH (i knew holland would die and i knew he would die like he did (finally free and calm but JESUS. FUCKING. CHRIST. i didn't know i have so many tears in me).

“Death comes for us all,” said Holland evenly. “I would simply have mine mean something.”


about holland though. for me he was the highlight of this book. i didn't like him in the first book and then agos happened and i softened to him BUT IN THIS FUCKING BOOK HE JUST BROKE MY HEART SO MANY TIMES MY SOFT SPOT FOR HIM IS THE SIZE OF OUR UNIVERSE. he got a redemption arc and this redemption arc is 9138483/10, his backstory made me cry so many times (like, his brother tried to kill him when he was a little boy???? a girl he loved and was happy with tried to kill him?? his best friend was killed and he couldn't save him??? he was tortured and captured and he couldn't do anything about it but just count his kills (i will never stop crying that he did it) and suffer??? and then it happened again after he just got free??? my poor tortured soN, i wanted to tuck him in the bed and cover him with all the blankets i have). i loved his interaction with kell so much and i loved holland so much and i can't convey my emotions about him in the text because DAMMIT he's totally the best character of this book and one of the best antagonists-but-not-really i've ever read about and can i have more characters like holland pretty please. i fucking started bawling when he trapped osaron and then i kept sobbing when he woke up and i couldn't stop weeping when he died because i knew it would happen and in a way it was a perfect ending for him (he died and his world lived and that is what he always desired and awknfaliefn im dead) but DAMN IT HURTS.

Lila met Holland’s gaze, expecting—maybe even hoping—to find that cold, implacable calm, perhaps tinged with disgust. Instead, she found shades of sadness, loss. And somehow, strength. The strength to go on. To try again. To trust.


i loved INTERACTIONS in this book so much.

kell and rhy are forever my most favorite brother duo. they love and care about each other so much i would die for them.

rhy and alucard are two idiots in love and i hope they're forever happy. alucard's backstory is so horrible (i cant believe his brother survived but good people didnt wtf can he jump off a cliff thank u very much nobody needs him) and i'm so happy that rhy understood and forgave him and wjskfeafjsklfskl pls be happy.

kell and lila (!!!!!!!!!!!!!). i shipped them from the very beginning AND THEY FINALLY GOT TOGETHER AND THEY'RE SOOO CUUUUTEEE. i love kell and lila and their relationship and the fact that kell would rather shoot himsef in the head than trust her (jk). i love how they're different but they complete each other in their own way. i love that the series wasn't really focused on their romance, but it's still enough and it's beautiful and i want to cri. also kell is very efficient teacher isnt he.

Ned stared at her with open awe. “You’re like him.”
“No,”said Kell dryly, striding past him. “She’s one of a kind.”


kell and alucard gave me life with their bickering.

kell and holland!!!!!!!!!!! good shit right here!!!!!!!!!! kell cared about holland and i cried at this and i wish it was different between them, like, holland is so older brother material for kell and AAAAAAAAAAAAA. and holland, too, was pretty fond of kell here i think. and i want to weep again because it could've been so much more.

ALSO THE SQUAD aka kell, rhy, lila and alucard. omg how much i loved that scene when they drank together and their interactions overall AND I WISH THERE WERE MORE because damn this is the squad i can read hours about.

THE THREE ANTARI. one of the best things that happened in this book. i wanted this from the very beginning and YESSSS kell, lila and holland finally worked together AND HOLLAND WAS THE ANCHOR, THE CENTER and this is perfect???

Lila looked to Kell. “You didn’t teach me this one.”
His jaw was slack. “I …I didn’t know it.”
Holland gave them both a bland look. “Amazing,”he said dryly. “There are still things you haven’t learned.”


i loved all characters in this book, and thanks to victoria schwab for creating them and i cant believe i have to say good bye to them.

*cries externally*
*cries internally*
*cries eternally*

as i already said im pretty satisfied with the closure. but i'm not satisfied with complete lack of backstory for lila. like, kell's parents thing was at least acknowledged, holland got a decent backstory that i will never stop crying about, but lila got nothing. i wanted to know more about her from the very beginning of the series and we didn't even get glimpses into her past. (i also don't understand how she almost died when kell said 93289894 times in adsom that antari are almost invincible and it's really hard, almost impossible to kill them and then bam lila could've died if holland didn't heal her. i understand that her wound was fatal but idk). pretty much only issues i have with this book tho.

overall, for me this book was perfect. fast, intense and exciting. i wish it weren't the end.
pls hold me while im crying
12108392810293/10

It wasn’t a good-bye, not really.
What was the word for parting?
Anoshe.
That was it.
Until another day.


Anoshe.

~~~~~~~



did i finish this book or did this book finish me?

fyi i spent last two parts fucking bawling
my pillow is wet my nose is running my eyes are dry i feel empty and dead inside i need a hug

rtc hopefully

~~~~~~~

pre-reading:
*new updates are posted in the beginning


first of all, is this holland vs danes twins flashback
second, WILL thERE BE A MOMENT WHERE HOLLAND DOENST GET HURT JESUS

~~~

WHY R U SO CRUEL STOP TORTURING ME @VESCHWAB

~~~

im dead dead dead dying dead dead deceased
14 days until acol im yelling

~~~

#GiveHollandABreak
#HollandProtectionSquad

what has become of this review
~~~

(src Victoria's twitter)

H E L L O :-)

~~~
HI GUYS I AM SCREAMING YOURE WELCOME TO JOIN ME


*yells*
~~~

i love how alucard cant stop antagonizing kell
50 days YAy
~~~

TELL ME ITS ABOUT HOLLAND IT MUST BE ABOUT HOLLAND RIGHT
~~~

this is also very beautiful i have feelings™
~~~

hnnnng
~~~

my precious girl i miss her so much
~~~

:D
~~~
9/10/16
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

K E L L L A U G H E D my baby
~~~
8/10/16

;А;
~~~
15/09/16
ACOL'S FIRST SNIPPET Y'ALL
~~~
10/06/16

i am fine this is fine i aM NOT FINE HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO WAIT UNTIL FEBRUARY VICTORIA IS SO CRUEL
(i am trying to prepare for my exam which is tomorrow AND SHE DROPS THAT)
~~~
23/05/16

 How was she supposed to fight a woman whose knives didn’t even stay in her hands?
The answer, of course, was simple: the same way she fought anyone else.
Quick and dirty.


THE COVER IS SO BEAUTIFUL OH MY GOD SO GORGEOUS I'M HYPERVENTILATING

THE EXCERPT ALSO!!!! Lila being badass while saving Kell! SIGN ME UP!!!!!!
How are we supposed to WAIT UNTIL FEBRUARY

~~~
28/04/16
IT HAS A RELEASE DATE!! FEBRUARY 21, 2017!!

~~~
20/04/16
IT HAS A TITLE

~~~
17/04/2016
IS IT RHYLUCARD
Profile Image for Hamad.
988 reviews1,299 followers
September 12, 2019
“Life isn’t made of choices, it’s made of trades. Some are good, some are bad, but they all have a cost.”

* A Darker Shade Of Magic 🌟🌟🌟🌟
* A Gathering of Shadows 🌟🌟🌟
* A Conjuring of Light 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

🌟 This series has been on my TBR since before this book was even released and I kept procrastinating and the general rule in this situation is that I am always sleeping on a good book! I really enjoyed it that it deserved a 5 stars from me. This makes it the 4th book to get this rating out of 95 books I read this year and I will try to explain why.

🌟 After my mild disappointment with the second book which I thought was slow and suffered from middle book syndrome, I lowered my expectations significantly before starting this one as it was the largest, and I could not imagine reading 666 pages of slow pacing as in book 2.

🌟 What I love in Schwab’s writing is her small multiple chapters, this book almost had a 100 chapters (not kidding) and they were short which kept me attached to the story with the dreaded “just one more chapter”. This style became like Schwab’s specialty in writing as it could be found in most of her books.

🌟 Now small chapters alone are not a recipe for a good book, but add Schwab’s good writing and that would it make a very good recipe! There is something she does where she writes a kind of parallelism that I really really love and I don’t think I can give an example without spoilers so I will leave it for you to discover it in the book. There was the right mix of banter, sarcasm and serious writing at the right doses. I found many quotes that I really liked and if I highlighted them my book would have ended up half highlighted!

“What are we drinking to?”
“The living,” said Rhy.
“The dead,” said Alucard and Lila at the same time.
“We’re being thorough,” added Rhy.



🌟 The characters in this one developed immensely and then Schwab killed all of them! No, I am kidding but this was brutal and many characters do not make it so do not get attached to any of them! But I almost liked all of the characters whether they were primary or secondary ones!!

(Me, whenever I think about the characters in this book:)

description

🌟 Now the plot in this one was definitely better than the second book and it makes up for it because it felt like it was a bridge for all that happens in this one and a lot does happen specially at the beginning! There were a few questions that were left unanswered and a few things that felt like they were coincidences but in reality were very important for the story!

🌟 Summary: I loved this one, from the writing to the characters to the pacing and plot! It was an addicting book from start to end and although there were a few details that irked me, I am trying to ignore them for the majority of the book which was excellent and I will be continuing Schwab’s books in the future for sure!
Profile Image for April.
146 reviews255 followers
March 20, 2017
Okay, I'm a mess inside. Nope. This series is not over. Never the less this book was such a perfect wrap to this series. It was beautiful and heartbreaking. Definitely deserves all the stars. "Anoshe - until another day."
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