Review: A Conjuring of Light

A Conjuring of LightA Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED…
The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.

WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?

WHO WILL RISE?
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 of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.

WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.

This was the book I was waiting for since last year, and the most awaited book in 2017 for me, and honestly, it was worth every second of anxiety, worry and excitement. The short version of this review is that as a finale, A Conjuring of Light wraps up things well, while causing a lot of heartache during a big stand. My favorite in the series is still A Gathering of Shadows, but A Conjuring of Light came close.

Long version:
A Conjuring of Light picks up right at the moment where AGOS left off – with Kell now captured by the new White London monarch and Lila setting out to rescue him. Meanwhile, in Red London, chaos has erupted since the prince Rhy is dying (again) while Kell has been cut off from his magic. Osaron (now in total control) sets his sights on a more alive world for his consumption and moves to Red London, seeking to take it under his control. Needless to say, this is basically an apocalypse happening over in Red London. Efforts by our heroes to fend him off prove largely insubstantial, until they realize an old invention can help them. But in the meanwhile, they have to shore up their defenses and keep the palace standing to defend against him.

ACOL is the book where you get a lot of POVs, so we get multiple character arcs – Alucard’s past, Holland’s past, Rhy’s parents’ stories, more canon of the magic of the world. Grey and Black London is mostly out of the picture in this one, and White London is barely at the start, so most of the story takes place in Red London. There is a lot going on, plot-wise, as they are chasing various solution with regards to Osaron, and the fact that he cannot be killed directly is a major obstacle. On the other hand, the immortal-like status of the Antari works in Rhy’s favor, for he is pushed beyond anything before as he takes up the duties of being a prince and leader to his people. There is the threat of Osaron looming, but closer to home, there are also diplomatic tensions to consider. Rhy’s pain and grief over it all are displayed so well. Speaking of pain, Holland’s chapters are a special brand of heartache – his story has always been tragic but Schwab delves into his lonely past, too, and it is full of betrayal and loss of control. I would suggest some caution for those easily affected by violence, as his chapters often involve torture or suggestion of violence.

Onto our main pair, Kell and Lila, they were pretty much a couple at the end of AGOS, but here we see them truly become a pair. They are like a magical package deal – standing together, fighting together, scheming together. They complement each other well, and Kell was always in love with her, so this was more about Lila finally deciding to stop running from him, and start running with him. It calls back to their magnificent partnership in ADSOM, where they together brought down a throne and another Antari, and a piece of magic. Lots of amazing moments between these two, and you can see the ease of their tempers around each other. What do they say? ‘In a fight they are lethal, but around each other, they melt’ – that applies to them.

Lastly, this book has a death toll that nearly gets to Game of Thrones level, so if you are attached to some secondary characters, brace yourselves. The ending chapter, Anoshe, however, is an epilogue of sorts and gives us a hope that life becomes okay for our characters. Each of their arcs culminate in a satisfactory way, which is kind of all we readers hope for. It is sad saying goodbye to this series but I will just say this – Anoshe.

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