A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic)
by V.E. Schwab
Cover Artist: Will Staeble
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765387462
Date: 21 February 2017 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Free from the trap of Black London, Osaran looks for a new place to rule. One with a lot of magic to spare like his old world. The tournament is over and the battle for Red London begins. In his way are Rhys, Kell, and Lila Bard.
Rhysí life is linked to Kellís. This link provides both a weakness and an opportunity. If Kell dies, so does Rhys. When darkness descends on Red London, Rhys is one of the few who can move undetected. He will try to help his people, but the darkness which controls and destroys covers the city.
Kellís link to Rhys is another part of his the obligation he feels towards the royal family. Although considered a member of that family, his magic and duty keeps him apart. He searches for a way to save London and Rhys, and explore his past along the way.
Lila Bard is free from the droll life of Grey London. She has sailed the high seas and fought in the magic tournament. Now she must travel with a small band to get an item which can save London. At a special market the band will trade for that which they desire, but the cost is high.
This is the final chapter in the Shades of Magic series. As with the other two novels, there is an individual novel arc as well as the longer arc of the series. Although there may be further adventures set in this world, this story is done. I appreciate that it was kept to a trilogy rather than the ever expanding series which seem to be permeating through science fiction and fantasy.
The series mixes magic and alternate worlds seamlessly with Antari serving as the gateway between the four Londons. There is less travel between the realms in this volume as the focus is on Red London and its world. The world outside of London is explored in more detail. This type of story should appeal to fans of alternate history as well as elemental magical fantasy.
While not a new author, the Shades of Magic series is a breakout effort for Schwab. She continues to hone her writing by trying to tell different stories and not be typecast. In a recent talk, she described writing each story at different points in her life. The stories are thus truly her stories, and she hopes that readers will find something to like. One of the big takeaways from the talk is that not every story is for every reader, and that is okay. Her goal isnít to please everyone. That is a lesson which some never learn. Although I know I wonít enjoy every novel she writes, I look forward to many new adventures with V.E. Schwab.