A Conjuring of Light ~ V.E. Schwab (Shades of Magic #3)
[WARNING: This review contains spoilers]
MAY 23RD UPDATE: After a lot of thought, I have decided to drop my rating from 5 stars to 4 stars because of the issues I had with the ending. Most of the book was 5 stars, but the ending felt like 3.5 stars, with some parts closer to 2 stars.
The Worldbuilding and Writing
As usual, Schwab utterly impressed me with her ability to weave an intoxicating and intriguing tale in an equally amazing world. The sleeping curse had a strong Sleeping Beauty feel to it that I really liked, and the whole Black curse itself reminded me of Neil Gaiman's The Sleeper and the Spindle.
There were more actual consequences, and character deaths that actually meant something, in this book, and I appreciated that. I hate it when a character dies but it means nothing because they either weren't well developed or important, or there wasn't a thematic meaning behind their death and a result of it shown in the other surviving characters. This book did character death really well.
Unfortunately, there were a few loose threads that were not tied up by the last page and that really disappointed me. Fortunately, the rest of the book was astounding and action packed, so it didn't really bother me that much; it just left this what could have been hole in my heart I can't seem to fill. Or maybe that's just that the series is over. Who really knows?
"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."
Kell: As usual, Kell is my bae and I love him, and this book was no different. He's a tad impulsive, but he means well, and he cares so deeply for everyone he loves. His struggle with blame, responsibility, and when all the problems began was interesting and well done. However, while hinted at, there was no resolution to the question of his parents and what KL stood for, which I had been anticipating since the beginning of the first book, so needless to say, I was disappointed with that.[However, while hinted at, there was no resolution to the question of his parents and what KL stood for, which I had been anticipating since the beginning of the first book, so needless to say, I was disappointed with that. (hide spoiler)]
We don't choose what we are, but we choose what we do.
Lila: She annoyed me a lot less in this book, because it seems she actually met her match in Holland, who wasn't taking any of her crap. She realistically struggled with power balance and testing her limits—learning that you can't set your own limits, no matter how much you might want to. However, like Kell's unresolved plot, Lila had no consequences for impersonating Stasion Elsor, which I thought would come up again in this book, perhaps with Stasion confronting her, but instead he was completely forgotten, and what she and Alucard did to him was ignored as if it didn't happen.[However, like Kell's unresolved plot, Lila had no consequences for impersonating Stasion Elsor, which I thought would come up again in this book, perhaps with Stasion confronting her, but instead he was completely forgotten, and what she and Alucard did to him was ignored as if it didn't happen. (hide spoiler)]
"Even glass can be strong," said Rhy, "if it is thick enough."
Rhy: He really came into his own in this book, dealing with his mental health and his responsibilities as a royal to his city. He was a real treat to read and I'm very glad he was a POV character. He changed as a person but stayed who he fundamentally was,which a lot of authors can't seem to get right.
"I think you're a romantic. One of those fools waiting for the someday king to come. Waiting for the magic to return, for the world to wake up. But it doesn't work like that, Holland. If you want change, you have to make it."
Holland: I love Holland. He's seriously competing with Kell for top spot in my heart. I was surprised to find so much of myself in him, and, well a bit out of style at first, his backstory scenes were very good and needed. I really felt for him and understood him.
Osaron: He was such a good villain!!! I love nonhuman villains and he is honestly a new favorite. His ego and his insatiable desire for more made him quite fearsome.
Maxim and Emira: I'm glad we got to learn more about them through their perspectives.
Alucard: I still don't like him, and I don't really like him with Rhy but only because we're told they love each other, and yes, we're shown that they'll do anything for each other, but passionate action when presented with immediate danger and true love are very different things. I didn't feel a romantic connection between them, and I felt that their personalities didn't really work together for a long term relationship. Also, that "you're mine" line has really got to go.
Hastra: I just...I just love Hastra. He's the sweetest, most wonderful person ever, and I only wanted the best for him. Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold.
Cora and Col: While a bit reminiscent of Astrid and Athos, they were well done and honestly surprised me, but in a good way.
Those who thought death looked like sleep had never seen it.
This book kept me on the edge of my seat (or, let's be honest here, bed) the entire time. I would have devoured it faster, but it was a buddy read and I was (and still am as of the time of this review) ahead of my buddies. I'm torn between 4.5 and 5 stars, because I did have my problems with it (the very ending after the climax, mostly) but I did thoroughly enjoy it and would consider it a favorite. I'm just so sad it's over now 😢
Magic made everything feel so impermanent, it was easy to forget that some things, once changed, could never be undone. That not everything was either changeable or infinite. Some roads kept going, and others had an end.
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