Book Review: ‘A Conjuring of Light’ (2017)

The short: 4/5 ✦. The stellar final installment of The Shades of Magic series, with beautiful writing and high levels of sass and magic.

The long: 

Victoria Schwab does it again.

Though this novel is more of a tome at 600-plus pages, there’s scarcely a dull moment. Each character gets their moment to shine and to develop and grow and to truly earn their place in the story. The writing is smooth and elegant, beautifully detailed without being too heavy, and even the exposition is delivered with handy flashbacks or merely tantalizingly hinted at. (KELL’S BACKSTORY.)

This is not to say the book ends in a cliffhanger; as I noted in my review for A Gathering of Shadows, each of these novels has a distinct beginning, middle, and end, formulating a complete story while also leaving room for subsequent tales. Too many series, I feel, rely on suspense and drama to entice readers and instead leave them disappointed. The end of A Gathering of Shadows was indeed intense, but it was built up throughout the course of the book, and most of the plot threads had been resolved. The same goes for A Conjuring of Light, in which all previous questions are answered, a new story emerges naturally, and reaches a deserved conclusion. But it’s no secret that Schwab enjoys writing in this world, and it’s so well crafted, there’s plenty of strings to pull at to make new stories. We can only dream~

Now, there were a couple things that were less than stellar. I wasn’t fond of the Queen’s story, even as Schwab tried to add more backstory for her. She still felt rather bland, a standard “mother” character. There’s also a POV character who seems like they have a purpose, but they end up not being involved in the main story at all. The whole world itself, while incredibly detailed, still seems rather small and limited to London(s), and I kinda wished for more information on the rest of the world, though I suppose we got a bit of that in the other books. And lastly, there are quite a few deaths, which is to be expected, but some people seem to repeatedly come to brink of death, only to be miraculously saved. Of course, it’s not like I want them to die, but it requires more suspense of disbelief than I feel deserves to be allotted.

ON TO THE GOOD STUFF:

  • Kell’s coat (always)
  • Rhy and Alucard
  • Alucard
  • Holland’s history
  • Lila, finally coming into her own and becoming more well rounded as a character
  • ~*~MAGIC~*~ (pros and cons)
  • Loads of information on Antari
  • Just overall being a very well-done and wonderfully written book

I’m very glad that I picked up this series, and it’s one I’d like to add to my personal collection someday. It’s a masterclass in storytelling and fantasy writing and character development — and also just a really good story.

Header image: A Conjuring of Light by Victoria Schwab, published February 21st 2017 by Tor Books

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