Happy March Madness to Everyone! One of my favorite weekends of the year! Good luck to everyone’s favorite teams, unless of course it happens to be Kansas! Go Green! 💚
Overview (No Spoilers): A Conjuring of Light is Schwab’s last installment in the Shades of Magic trilogy, in which she has created a fascinating literary world that never truly lived up to the potential it possessed. I fully acknowledge my bias toward desiring the world building and characters to contain a certain level of detail and depth, however I have a hard time accepting the Shades of Magic as it is, due to the unique realm(s) that Schwab created holding so much conceivable developmental possibly. In the previous two novels, A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows my reoccurring grievance lie in the lack of connection felt with the main characters. I had high hopes that in this concluding novel, the missing depth would be resolved in spectacular fashion, but alas the storyline continued in the same mediocre manner. With that being said, Schwab tells a highly entertaining story that has kept my interest and curiosity throughout the series. I vey much enjoyed my time in the realms of the four Londons, finding the needed connection in the side characters whose depth more than made up for the link missing in the main protagonists. A Conjuring of Light has multiple, edge of your seat battle scenes as well as an intriguing glimpse outside of London, even if this peek was rushed and a tease at best. Overall, while A Conjuring of Light was an entertaining read, the series as a whole settled to be just ‘ok’ or ‘good’ whereas I felt as though Shades of Magic could have easily made the transition into a ‘great’ trilogy by flushing out blatant plot holes or adding protagonist depth.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- Well after three books we finally find out that Lila is an Antari, as suspected in the first book, but actually acknowledgment of this power had been dragged out as long as possible.
- Many of the side characters were killed off in this story, however NONE of the main characters were killed off. I can’t believe I’m actually complaining about this, but the lack of killing off one of the main characters worked to keep this series mediocre at best. For example, after the concluding battle, even Holland survived despite sacrificing his magic. Yes, it was heartbreaking to lose Lenos, Hastra, the King and Queen, however they were side characters at best.
- The series concludes with the Shadow King being banished, however none of the problems with the overlapping realms are solved with Red London again selfishly cutting off ties to Grey London abruptly. Also, Holland is returned to White London, where we presume he dies. Red London who selfishly cut off the power to this realm to save itself from Black London again doesn’t do anything to alleviate this suffering world now that the Shadow King has been dealt with. The poor tortured soul of Holland never sees his dreams of saving his world realized, despite the protagonists of Red London having a happy ending.
- The Pirate Black Market was fascinating however as a whole this inclusion added significantly more questions than it answered. Who were Kell’s parents? Why didn’t he want to know where he came from and regain his blocked memories? Will he eventually remember as Maris said he should have already? Who is Maris? How old is she? What will the favor be that Lila has to return for her new black eye?
- Holland recognizes that Lila wields a forbidden magic that compels people to do her bidding. Will anyone else recognize this? Will there be repercussions?
- The betrayal of the Veskan prince and princess and subsequent assassination attempt of the King and successful attempt on the Queen seems so unlikely and out of place in this story. You’re telling me that in the midst of potentially a world ending mysterious power invading, there would be seemingly petty squabbles over power taking place?
- How was the power ‘leaking’ into the Grey London? If the Shadow King could reach into the White London and take hold of Ojka why couldn’t he take control of the people in that London as well to gain power?
When reading it is common that I encounter words that I’m not privy to the exact definition, however it is easy to infer the meaning of the aforementioned word based on the context of the sentence and story. As such, new to the Critiquing Chemist, you’ll find an additional section that includes vocabulary words that I encountered upon reading the book being reviewed and either had to look up the definition or it is a word in which I would like to add to my repertoire. This endeavor is easier when in the Kindle format, and potentially impossible with audiobooks, however I’m going to attempt to continue this section for all future book reviews. I’ll be using the definitions from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
Rakishly: lacking restraint; especially : marked by indulgence in things (as drink or promiscuous sex) deemed vices
Staccato: cut short or apart in performing; marked by short clear-cut playing or singing of tones or chords
Scrying: foretell the future using a crystal ball or other reflective object or surface
Benign: of a gentle disposition