I’d been putting off reading the final part of the Shades of Magic trilogy because I’d fallen in love with the characters and their world so much that I didn’t want the adventure to be over, yet I finally gave in to the competing desire to find out how it all ends.
A Conjuring of Light starts immediately after the end of A Gathering of Shadows (reviewed here). There’s a certain sense of circularity in that the plot of the final book resembles that of the first, A Darker Shade of Magic (reviewed here) as once again magic incarnate spreads like a plague possessing or destroying all who come into contact with it, yet this time the stakes are so much higher. There’s a real sense of desperation as Kell, Lila, Holland, Rhy and Alucard battle to save the besieged city, and they have to set aside their differences and grudges to work together to fight a common enemy.
A Conjuring of Light was full of enough suspense, betrayals, sacrifices, romance and humour to keep me hooked right up to an ending that felt both satisfying and bittersweet. This is one of the best fantasy series I’ve read in a long while, and a trilogy that I’ll happily re-read at some point. Have a lovely week. X
Set four months after A Darker Shade of Magic (reviewed here), Kell and Lila have parted ways, as Kell tries to return to his duties as Prince of Red London while the delightfully rogueish Lila has chosen to make a fresh start in Kell’s world and has almost fulfilled her dreams of becoming a pirate (technically a privateer) on board the Night Spire under the charming Captain Alucard Emery. Meanwhile a new King rules White London, waiting and plotting revenge against our heroes.
Kell, who was never completely comfortable with his notoriety and privileges as both Prince and one of the last of the magical race of Antari, is now also struggling with the distrust and suspicion of his family and subjects alike in the aftermath of the night black magic ran through Red London consuming and killing those who came into contact with it.
A Gathering of Shadows follows Kell, Lila and Alucard as they compete in the Element Games against magicians from across the world to find out who is the greatest, though the tournament at times feels entirely secondary to the slow-burn romance as Kell and Lila try to resist their attraction to one another, yet their eventual reunion is worth the wait and I just love the chemistry between them, like a pair of magnets constantly attracting and repelling each other.
The middle book in a trilogy often has a hard time defining itself but A Gathering of Shadows finds a balance between giving us greater insight into the characters and developing their relationships while setting the scene for the final book, and when the White King finally makes their move, this ends on a cliffhanger that left me desperate to know what happens next. Have a lovely week! X
It took me a while to get into A Darker Shade of Magic as almost the first third of the book is spent setting the scene, introducing the two magicians, Kell and Holland, the last of the magical race known as the Antari – easily identified by having one entirely black eye – and explaining that there are four parallel Londons. There is Grey London where magic is waning; Red London, where magic is comparatively ordered and balanced; White London, where magic is chaotic and cruel; and finally the ruins of Black London, where magic became corrupted, and the city eventually had to be sealed off to prevent the corruption from spreading. One aspect of the story that I really enjoyed was that magic is not just a force to be used as in most fantasy stories but had a will of its own and could be downright dangerous to those who came into contact with it.
The story follows Kell, who acts as a messenger carrying correspondence between the rulers of each London until he is tricked into transporting a forbidden relic from one London into another. Along the way, we’re introduced to Kell’s counterpart and rival, Holland, who serves Astrid and Athos Dane, the tyrannical rulers of White London, and Lila Bard a thief from Grey London, who reminded me of the Artful Dodger in the best possible way. It takes around 100 pages for anything interesting to happen, but after that this tale becomes a gripping adventure as pretty much everything that possibly could go wrong for Kell and Lila does. The rest of the story is so full of suspense, action and humour that it more than made up for the slow start.
The ending wraps up most things neatly, but there’s an almost throwaway comment about part of Lila’s appearance that hints towards the possible direction of her character development and somehow I don’t think we’ve seen the end of the antagonist Holland, I can’t wait to find out how the rest of this trilogy unfolds. Have a lovely week! X