Signs of a fantastic series:
- When you finish, you sit in a daze, unable to focus on anything else but what you just read for at least half an hour.
- You recommend it to anyone remotely interested in that genre (or, sometimes, not even then. You might recommend it to complete strangers on the street. I won’t judge).
- You want to start all over with book one, seconds after closing the last book.
For me, all these signs apply to the Shades of Magic series by V. E. Schwab.
The third and final book, A Conjuring of Light, picks up right where book two left off (but I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers). It’s a long book, but so so worth it. I’m still a little exhilarated, twenty-four hours after finishing it.
There’s some wonderful character development. Schwab gives us backstory on someone I’ve really wanted to know more about for ages, and we get to see dynamics we haven’t before, and I loved that. The interplay between such contrasting, yet complementing, personalities is wonderfully done and tons of fun. Especially anything involving Alucard Emery. He continues to be the man. Well, him and Rhy Maresh. Well, them and Lila Bard and Kell. Okay, so I adore all the main characters. Schwab is just great at writing people who feel real, at creating believable dialogue, and at making you invested in these lives.
I loved seeing some minor characters we haven’t seen as much getting some time in the spotlight, particularly King Maxim. He got one of the standout scenes (even if Rhy stole the emotions, at least for me, but I’m biased). And how clever of Schwab to give Maxim one of the best moments, because now I desperately want to read her Steel Prince graphic novel series, as it’s about him. Other characters, such as Hastra and Ned, were also a delight.
The plot is suspenseful and intense, featuring new magic we haven’t seen before. The villain is powerful and arrogant and merciless. It’s an exciting, dark, different conflict than in the other books. Darker Shade was our introduction to this world, Gathering of Shadows was an expansion of both world and characters, but here in Conjuring of Light, it all comes together. Things that have been set up in the other two really come to the forefront. The climax is splendid—exhilarating action, like we haven’t seen before. Sure, we’ve seen magicians fight each other, but never in this way and never with these team dynamics.
This book is very long, over 600 pages, and I imagine some would think it drags a little in places. I disagree: although the plot isn’t necessarily always fast-paced, there is a lot going on, in multiple POVs, with constant forward motion. Well, aside from occasional brief flashbacks, which serve to give insight and more information at perfectly timed moments. There is not a single scene I can think of that has no direction or purpose, so, for me, this book doesn’t drag; I was fully engaged the entire time. In fact, because this was the last of the series, I kind of didn’t want it to end.
In the end, A Conjuring of Light brings this trilogy to an exciting, satisfying conclusion. Schwab crafts some satisfying character development, some heart pounding moments, and overall some stellar writing. Almost every plot thread is resolved, but I still feel there could be so much more done in this universe, which is a thrilling and fascinating place. I’d love to live in it for longer.
So if you can’t tell, my wings feel severely clipped because I’m trying not to spoil anything, but… you must read this series. It is spectacular. Please, please, read it.
Overall rating: 9.3/10