Review: A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

If I could put about 10,000 of the anxious-looking emoji with wide eyes here, I would. I can’t believe the Shades of Magic series has come to an end. I can’t believe there are no more pages in this story to flip through.

Suffice it to say, this third and final book in the series was a roller coaster. If I hadn’t been strapped in I would have gone flying from the carriage with every twist and turn. Don’t even get me started on the heart-stopping drops.

The story begins right where it dropped off in A Gathering of Shadows. Bad stuff is happening. Dark magic is on the rise. Not great.

While there are many facets to this series that deserve praise, the biggest and brightest part of this story is the characters. I’m always impressed with authors who bring a character to life from the page — so real that I can feel them as they dance through my imagination. Their steps don’t fade, even after the story ends, and those are the books that take a place of prominence upon my bookshelf. V.E. Schwab obviously possesses magic, as she created five such characters.

Lila, Kell, Holland, Rhy, and Holland are unique, flawed, relatable characters who are still living inside my head. V.E. Schwab is a queen for her ability to keep each character distinct – there’s no bleeding of character traits or responses. And each character is complete, no half-formed wisps to fulfill some slight need within the story. I don’t want to delve too deeply into each characters’ psyche in fear of spoiling the story, but GOODNESS they’re amazing — how they develop, their evolution from beginning to end, their hopes and dreams, their passions, their relationships with one another.

The world V.E. Schwab creates deserves immense praise, as well. When I first started the Shades of Magic series I was a bit skeptical. Alternate dimensions have never been my cup of tea. But magic is my lifeblood and everyone was raving about this series, so I put aside my reservations. Ho’ boy, am I glad I did. Schwab has created a world that teems with intrigue and magic and angsty young adults who have to save the world. The magic seems plausible while also stretching towards awe-inspiring. The series traverses across the different realms — Grey, Red, White, and Black — and keeps each distinct with Schwab’s evocative descriptions. And the world she creates is the perfect backdrop for her characters’ angsty adventures.

The Shades of Magic series has become one of my favorites, up there with The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner and the Harry Potter series. And A Conjuring of Light was a riveting conclusion to this epic tale.

-Melanie

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