Guys. Guys. GUYS.
It’s Tuesday, February 21st.
Today was the release date for V.E. Schwab’s final installment of the Darker Shade of Magic trilogy, A Conjuring of Light.
And right now, I’m having a hard time figuring out what to say about this book.
A Darker Shade of Magic is a delightful, fantastical romp.
A Gathering of Shadows is adventurous and action-packed and everything exciting I wanted in a story.
A Conjuring of Light is perfection.
I’ll admit, after the cliff-hanger of Gathering, I wasn’t sure what would happen in Conjuring. I had suspicions, of course — I’d be a pretty terrible English major if I didn’t go through my catalogue of plot devices and twists while I’m reading a book — but I didn’t know how it would all play out.
And you know what? I’m glad I didn’t guess every twist that happened.
The events of the first fifty pages or so was what I expected from the first probably third of the book, but that’s what makes it so wonderful. The characters and their decisions are complex, and this is not a fairy tale that can be pared down to an easy-to-digest adventure. Instead, there are more steps to defeating evil than simply joining together a trio of unlikely heroes and letting their desire for good to win. There are betrayals and love and acts of compassion and acts of violence. There are mysteries that can be solved, and mysteries that shouldn’t be.
And it all comes together in this novel.
Although I’ve been known to cry at a lot of things, especially movies, books take a lot to make me actually tear up. I’ll make noises of distress or joy, and sometimes I’ll get a little tight-chested. Harry Potter makes me weep like a child, pretty much regardless of which book I’m reading. Tell the Wolves I’m Home brought me to heaving sobs that I couldn’t shake for a good five minutes.
Conjuring didn’t make me sob, didn’t bring tears streaming down my face, but the last twenty pages were so perfectly aligned to what I hoped would happen, what I felt would be right in the course of the plot, that I couldn’t help tearing up.
There’s a line in Darker from Lila (who is one of the most fantastically badass characters, male or female, that I’ve had the pleasure to read) that I love:
“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
Her smile widened. “Everything.”
In a series of books that I began based on the beauty of the cover and the promise of magical Londons, I feel that Schwab has given me a whole world into which I can dive again and again and the world she created exists as truly as Middle Earth and Hogwarts and Narnia. It’s gorgeously done, and I feel, at the end of Conjuring, as though I have seen everything.