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This is the final part of the A Darker Shade of Magic Trilogy, there may be spoilers for the first two parts in the following chapters. Please read those books first before continuing with this review. Reviews of the previous novels can be found here - A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows.
A Conjuring of Light begins exactly where A Gathering of Shadows finished. With Rhy in mortal danger in Red London, and Kell in White London is slowly drained of his magic. It is up to Deliah’Lila’ Bard to save them both as she finally tests the limits of her newly found magic. If Lila is an Antari it will mean that she like Kell will be able to travel between the different Londons. From the very beginning, this is a very fast paced book with the plot flowing quickly between a number of characters and their perspectives, whilst still keeping the main focus on Lila, Kell and Rhy as they are forced to face a number of truths as danger surrounds them from all angles.
The main danger comes from Osaron who was freed from Black London by Holland. Holland had hoped that freeing Osaron would save White London, but Holland didn’t bargain on Osaron wanting more than he could give. With their precarious deal going bad, Osaron travels between the Londons into Red London where the magic is so much stronger. Osaron sees himself as a “god” and this is the major plot of the story, how do you destroy magic that has become personified? It is the horror of Osaron’s will that Red London now has to deal with. Osaron infects the citizens of Red London, either causing them to give up their will to Osaron, becoming his puppet or in other cases, the citizens resist so much that their own magic burns them to ash.
With everyone in Red London now fighting for their survival, the palace, led by Rhy’s parents, have some tough decisions to make on how to handle this incursion, especially as it looks from outside the palace that they are protecting the foreign dignitaries in the palace over their citizens. Through many trials and errors, those left untainted by Osaron’s influence are shown how strong Osaron is, so much so that it really feels like there is no hope left for these characters.
Throughout A Conjuring of Light, V. E. Schwab has been able to fill out the backstories of a number of characters that had felt one dimensional in earlier parts of the trilogy and it is a credit to her writing that these characters are given useful and illuminating history without the story ever feeling bogged down in too much detail or derailing the main story. I especially enjoyed getting to understand the King and Queen of Red London more, as well as, getting to read about Holland’s early life, so that his motivations throughout the series are much clearer.
There are numerous scores to settle between the characters, with Kell and Alucard at each other's throats with a deep rooted animosity, while Lila will never be able to trust or forgive Holland for what he did to her in A Darker Shade of Magic, these scores are brought to life especially when they are forced to work together, but this allows for heartfelt moments to feel like they are deserved and need to be cherished, rather than brushed over to get to another scene of action. There is a great deal of sadness and tragedy that befalls the characters in their fight against Osaron. During the novel, there are great sacrifices, and the dialogue really portrays the characters emotions and views well during these moments. The palace is also the setting where Rhy and his parents have to deal with diplomacy and international politics, which gives characters many chances for betrayal when this inevitably happens, it is all the more shocking for it.
A Conjuring of Light is everything you could want from the last book in a trilogy. I really enjoyed finding out more about what White London was like in the past. It made the events that happen in the present, much more impactful, with those actions really having consequences on the characters. I found that this was an immensely satisfying ending for those that survived, I liked that there are little hints of the lives the characters will live, after you have finished reading the story. Like the best books I have read, V. E. Schwab has left me wanting to read more about these characters that have come alive in my mind.
Review by Michelle Herbert
9.5/10 from 1 reviews
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