Review: A Conjuring of Light (#3) by V.E. Schwab

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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 book is the final and concluding in a 3 part series from V.E. Schwab, and one I’ve been meaning to read for a very long time. I’ve been listening to this entire series partly on audiobook and partly reading the physical copies, and I have to say the audiobooks improved drastically as the series went on. I also read these with Alex, and it was great to have the motivation to read these as the last one is particularly chunky!

I really loved how the plots varied throughout this whole series. The first one was so different it almost stood as a standalone, and the other two seemed to have a more continuous plot, but still felt separate enough to keep things interesting. It definitely meant the whole series kept a fast pace and felt interesting throughout, rather than one feeling like a bridge book between the other two.

“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. 

I loved the characters and I definitely grew closer to them as the series went on, but it was also the most disappointing part for me. I just felt like I could have had an ever so slightly closer connection to them, and I just wanted to feel more emotion towards them in parts when I really felt like I should have done. I still loved the characters, but I couldn’t help but compare them to Six of Crows, another third person point of view fantasy with a found family aspect.

This last book did feel quite long, but it was well balanced. In places it almost felt like it was a little too long, but it definitely didn’t feel like a slog or a struggle to read in any way. The writing was absolutely amazing and was probably my favourite aspect of the entire series – these books have some brilliant quotes!

But the only way to avoid loss is to avoid love. And what a sad world that would be.”

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed reading this series but it didn’t quite reach 5 stars for me because I wanted to feel slightly more emotional than I did. However, I’d still highly recommend them!

★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: A Gathering of Shadows (#2) by V.E. Schwab

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It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift–back into Black London.
Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games–an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries–a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.
And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.

I’ve been reading this series as a buddy read with Alex which has been so much fun so far. Once again, I partly listened to this one on audio and the audiobook for this one was so much better than the first book. Instead of just having one narrator like in A Darker Shade of Magic, we have a male and a female narrator in this one and it really helped the story. I found it a lot easier to focus on the audiobook with multiple narrators and I wasn’t distracted by the voices.

We start the book on Lila’s point of view which I loved. Even though this book is in third person, there’s definitely a distinct separation between the characters that are being focused on and the narrator does change in the audiobook depending on it. I definitely have found myself enjoying Lila’s points of view more.

Kell would say it was impossible. 

Something I found myself absolutely loving about this book and the series in general is the fact this book has a very separate plot line from the first book. I often find second books in series can fall into being a bridge book between the first and third book, or just continue on and drag out the plot from the first. Without spoiling this book as it is the second in the series, this book follows a game called the Element Games or the Essen Tasch, which was so much fun to read about.

I found this one very fast paced again, which I’m glad about because the third and final book in this series is thick and I’m glad I’m not too daunted about going into it. I really like the characters but as with the first book, I did want a little more tension between them and a little more interaction to keep me interested in their relationship.

What a useless word, in a world with magic.

Overall, this was such a good second book in a series and there’s so much to enjoy. I’m very excited to finish off this series and see where A Conjuring of Light goes!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: A Darker Shade of Magic (#1) by V.E. Schwab

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Most people only know one London; but what if there were several? Kell is one of the last Travelers – magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons. There’s Grey London, dirty and crowded and without magic, home to the mad king George III. There’s Red London, where life and magic are revered. Then, White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. But once upon a time, there was Black London…

Apparently I’m on a morally grey character kick at the moment, but I’m so glad I finally picked up this book. I actually tried to read this one a couple of years ago, but I got around 60 pages in and realised it wasn’t quite the right time for me to pick it up. I’m so glad I waited, as I definitely enjoyed it more now I’m reading more fantasy as I understood it a lot easier!

There’s definitely something so unique about Schwab’s stories and I loved the concept of having multiple London’s that each had their own features. I read this one with Alex and I read the sections so quickly each day. I read a mixture of physical reading and listening to the audiobook, which was a mixed experience. The audiobook was good, but the narrator didn’t quite fit for Lila’s parts and I did prefer reading it physically.

I’d rather die on an adventure

The plot was super quick to get through and full of action and adventure which I loved. I can already tell this series is going to be a quick and entertaining one to read as we go on! I really like the characters as even though they’re very morally grey, I like the portrayal of their vulnerabilities and they seemed very real to me.

I like how the romance didn’t take centre stage in the story and didn’t feel very lovey-dovey, but I did miss a sense of tension that might have come with the closeness of the characters. I feel like one of the only things missing out of this book was the stakes sometimes feeling lower because of it.

than live standing still.

I’m super excited to see where this series is going to go and I’m so happy to be reading something else by V.E. Schwab!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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