Some four months back, I was reading the A Conjuring of Light when my housemate Bill was felled by a stroke. In the midst of that upheaval, with about 200 pages left to read, I returned V.E. Schwab’s book back to the library. And as noted a few postings ago, it’s taken me a while to get back into reading.
But I vowed to myself that I would finish this book. And now I have. I did not restart the book, just picked up from about page 430 where I left off in March. I remembered most of what going on, as the our heroes where beginning their final plans to take on the Shadow King.
“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. 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? 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. And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.”
Certainly a satisfying ending, even if Schwarb goes all Game of Thrones with, with the killing of many ancillary characters. Still, a more serious tome yet sprinkled with dark humor. Kell becomes remarkably better character, yet still finds ways to annoy me, while Delilah remains the most three dimensional. And as much as I like Schwab's characterization of Rhy’s and his love for the pirate Captain Aulcard, she made the young prince go through a lot of pain to get the man of his dreams. Love is like this, I guess.
The ending is clever, if not foreshadowed long before. But it can also border on the deus ex machina. But when you create a villain with unstoppable power, the only way to end it seems to pull this overused trope out.
Overall, a good series, and I’m curious if the author will continue with at least some of these characters. Delilah Bard is certainly worth reading more about.