A Conjuring of Light book review

by V E Schwab (2017)Β Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

Image result for a conjuring of light uk

β€œLove and loss,” he said, of β€œare like a ship and the sea. They rise together. The more we love, the more we have to lose. But the only way to avoid loss is to avoid love. And what a sad world that would be.”

– V E Schwab, A Conjuring of Light

Darkness is spreading through Red London and theΒ AntariΒ must leave the city and travel in order to find a way to stop this great power which is threatening to destroy their world. Friends and foe join together to protect the city and its people, love and magic blossoms as well as power being tested and the grief of a city losing to darkness. Kell must do all he can to save his family, joined by the adventure-seeking Lila and nobleman Alucard as they sail out to find a way of beating dark magic.

β™₯

OH. MY. GOD. I can’t believe this series is at an end. Schwab has such an amazing way with words I seriously don’t know how she does it – building a completely insane but brilliant world filled with magic and the most wild and crazy characters, each with their own stories and past. It was such a beautiful end to an awesome trilogy that I will never forget – the shades of magic series is one of my favourite ever and I want everyone to read this series.

The book starts off pretty much where AGOS left and it was heartbreaking and action-filled right from the beginning without so much as a breath to take in between all the drama. The huge cliffhanger that we were left on at the end of AGOS gets resolved and the plot for the book is set as they have to find a way to stop Osaron.

ACOL sees Osaron take over Red London and Kell, Lila, Alucard and Holland (yes Holland is back and has aΒ lotΒ of character development too) must work together to seek of an object that could stop Osaron’s take over of Red London. Rhy has his own mission to save as many of his people as possible, the ones that can fight against and come out triumphant to Osaron’s magic, all the while the King is creating his own ways to stop the disease over London.

There is so much character development in this book as we see Rhy becoming more King than Prince as he tends to his people, Kell trying to save everyone and Lila and Kell becoming something more. We see the other side to Alucard as he races to save his sister and the relationship between him and Rhy is an adorable as ever.

There was also so muchΒ sass in this book! I love the banter between the two brothers and the relationship between Kell and Alucard – the fact that he despises him because of how he hurt his brother. Kell and Rhy are so cute together and the fact that they aren’t brothers by blood just strengthens their relationship even further because they just make the cutest brothers.

This book just wasn’t long enough – I wanted more of every single character and so much happened. Schwab was amazing with her story-telling as always and ACOL had such an unexpected ending but it was just a brilliant goodbye to a truly wonderful series.

Now I have to mention some spoilers – SO MUCH HAPPENED in this book so look away now if you haven’t read any of the shades of magic series.

Image result for spoilers gif

So I’ll start with the beginning where Kell is trapped and the collar is killing his power and so Rhy, poorΒ RhyΒ is slowly dying in Red London. I was so scared for Rhy but I knew he didn’t die so early on – he couldn’t otherwise I would have cried, but heΒ didΒ die which was really strange to read that he truly only lives so long as Kell does. I loved how Alucard stayed with him it just made me all

Image result for aw gif

With Kell, Lila and Rhy all okay, now here comes another disaster – Osaron is in Red London and killing everyone with his power (I can’t believe Kisimyr got killed off – she was just so bad-ass) so people are dying all over and the palace has to barricade themselves in. The King and Queen are helpless to save the Maresh empire but this doesn’t stop Kell and Rhy who both go out to save as many people as possible.Β AntariΒ are immune to the disease that Osaron is spreading so they go out to mark as many people as possible with their blood but it’s not enough – they need to stop Osaron, not just save people.

Here enters the Inheritor and the main plot for the book – an object that can contain his power but requires a sacrifice to use (oh god) but before this, we see sweet Alucard ride out into the fog (why, WHY would you do that?!) to save his sister.

Of course she dies and Alucard has left the safety of the palace for no reason so the disease enters his head.

Image result for sad gif

I seriously had no idea if he would survive or not but thankfully Rhy comes to his rescue and he stays with Alucard and pulls him from the disease.

They’re just so adorable together I could have an entire book of the two of them and be happy. I’ve always loved their relationship but I hated how Alucard left Rhy and caused him so much hurt and that’s why Kell hates him so much. But we learn why Alucard hurt Rhy when he left him – his brother found out that Alucard was seeing Rhy and so basically trapped him on a ship to get him away from the Prince so he couldn’t go back. IT WAS JUST SO SAD because Kell hates him and Rhy was left so hurt by the whole thing but it WASN’T ALUCARD’S FAULT!

Image result for sad gif

It physically hurt when Alucard was saying goodbye to Rhy before he left on the ship to find the Inheritor and Rhy just didn’t let them have a goodbye. What if something happened to Alucard and they had left on those crappy terms? Why can’t they just make up or at least part on good terms before, I don’t know, one of them potentially dies and that was the last conversation they had?!

Image result for anger gif

Throughout the whole book I thought one of the four main characters was going to die and then Rhy and Kell’s mother and father suddenly got killed off. The Queen was assassinated and the King got killed by Osaron because he thought he stood a chance at defeating him – I was kind of expecting their deaths I guess, but poor Rhy having to now be King after losing both his parents. But I’m so glad he had Alucard in the end that stayed with him; if Alucard had died I think I might have cried.

I’m glad King Maxim and Queen Emira finally showed Kell some love! The bit where he had the opportunity to find out who his biological parents were was so tense because I really thought it would be revealed to us and we’d have this whole other storyline but it actually worked when he burnt the note. I’m glad we never found out who his birth parents were because hisΒ real parents had been the King and Queen (even though they didn’t let him travel and kind of kept him as a bit of a trophy), they still loved him and it showed in the end. It was a brilliant little touch the story and to his character and I loved it.

Image result for yes gif

Of course Kell and Lila’s relationship stepped up a gear which resulted in one of the best scene’s of the book!

One of my favourite quotes was when Kell and Lila were getting a little too ‘in the moment’ as they were kissing and Alucard bursts in and yells “Stop fucking with the ship!” which just had me laughing. I love the sass in this book and Lila especially pretty much showed her dislike to something by calling it what it was but not before putting “fucking” in front of it. She’s just the best.

The four of them are all amazing and work so brilliantly together, despite Kell hating Alucard there’s just such a good relationship between the four of them.

β€œWhat are we drinking to?”
“The living,” said Rhy.
“The dead,” said Alucard and Lila at the same time.
“We’re being thorough,” added Rhy.”

– V E Schwab, A Conjuring of Light

It was a really well written scene though and I’m glad Kell got to find some happiness in Lila and they ended up travelling the world together. That’s the one thing he wanted to do but couldn’t – travel, which was pretty ironic for anΒ Antari.

The ending was actually beautiful but also melanchony. Rhy has Alucard, but loses his brother to his travels with the wild and ferocious Lila. I was both happy that they all got a good ending but I wanted the last page to be the brothers together or in fact all four of them together but because it didn’t, it kind of made it even better? Like life isn’t what you expected but you can be happy in finding what comes your way. It was just so unexpected that the four of them would end up alive so I was so glad to see them all alive and well at the end, and with the people they loved.

Image result for happy gif

One last thing I have to mention is HOLLAND. Okay so I never liked Holland I thought he was vile but he is justΒ way more complex than I thought! He was originally a nice guy, someone who loved his world and wanted to make it better – then the Danes got involved and tortured him into a man that had emptied himself of caring or kindness because it was easier to help deal with the shit they gave him.

I’m glad he helped Kell and Lila save Red London and ultimately destroy Osaron. He got to go back to White London and die at peace knowing he couldn’t have done anything more. He was one of my favourite characters because you hated him at first, then kind of liked him, then hated him then actually grew to like him again with the flashbacks to his past.

Holland was also really funny in this book as well with his dry sense of humour and sarcastic comments towards Kell and Lila – he could have an entire spin-off novella to himself and I would TOTALLY read it.

Image result for please gif

Words can’t express how much I love this book and this entire trilogy. It is amazing and magical and wonderful all wrapped up in the most beautiful writing and it will be a series I treasure on my bookshelf for a long time.

β€œAnoshe was a word for strangers in the street, and lovers between meetings, for parents and children, friends and family. It softened the blow of leaving. Eased the strain of parting. A careful nod to the certainty of today, the mystery of tomorrow. When a friend left, with little chance of seeing home, they said anoshe. When a loved one was dying, they said anoshe. When corpses were burned, bodies given back to the earth and souls to the stream, those left grieving said anoshe.

Anoshe brought solace. And hope. And the strength to let go.”

– V E Schwab, A Conjuring of Light

Image result for happy gif

 

 

April Fairyloot unboxing

I received the beautiful Fairyloot box the other day and if you’ve never heard of this, it’s a UK-based YA/fantasy subscription box! I absolutely love getting these boxes because they always put the best books in and have such cute little bookish items inside and feature some brilliant designers/artists.

This month the theme was DREAMS & WISHES and we definitely knew it would feature something inspired by ACOMAF (one of my favourite books ever) and The Bone Season (another of my favourite series!) so naturally I had to get this box as well as it featuring one of my favourite artists, Risa Rodil.

Despite having to wait over the weekend till the postroom at uni opened again on Monday, I didn’t get spoiled so everything was a lovely surprise! (As it should be but unfortunately people do like to post unboxings on instagram as soon as they’ve got it!) I love looking at people’s instagram stories for when I haven’t ordered the box and it’s a great way of showing the contents of the box but allowing people to avoid being spoiled as they can avoid looking at their story.

But enough about that, here’s what I received in my box!

  • The Mime order quote tote bag by Miss Phi
  • ‘To the stars who listen, and dreams that are answered’ ACOMAF quote mug by Risa Rodil
  • Reverie candle by Meraki Candles which smells of mint, marshmallows and
  • ‘dreams’ enamel pin badge by House of Wonderland
  • gemstone notebook by Portico
  • dreams magnet by Fairyloot
  • bonus items: Hunted postcard and Spindle Fire quote print

My favourite item has to be the mug and bag because I can’t choose and they are both GORGEOUS! I also absolutely love the smell of the candle and I’ll totally use the cute little pin badge and magnet. I really want to read Hunted which is a Beauty and the Beast retelling and Spindle Fire sounds like a great Sleeping Beauty retelling too! I love it when they include little recommendations and upcoming book release peaks because it means more books to discover!

And now for the book featured this month…

20170427_130110.jpg

It’s GIVEN TO THE SEA by Mindy McGinnis!

I totally googled ‘YA April releases’ and found this book which fitted the description that Fairyloot gave when they released the theme for April – I couldn’t help myself! It was still a nice surprise because I couldn’t be sure!

I’m very happy with the contents of this box this month and I’d thoroughly recommend checking out Fairyloot! Sometimes I find the boxes aren’t quite to my taste, so I wait for the themes and designers I like – they always announce a theme and some items/suppliers that will feature in the box so it’s not too hard to avoid being disappointed! Everyone has their preferences but most of the time this box has such good bookish items and the most amazing YA reads in it!

Jo x

Of Fire and Stars book review

by Audrey CoulthurstΒ Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

Image result for of fire and stars book

A book all about royalty with a hint of magic sprinkled throughout: Mare is not the typical princess with her occasional cursing and rare wear of dresses, whereas Dennaleia is everything a princess should be and more – protocol and the duty of her kingdom always coming before anything else. When the two of them meet, both cannot stand the other but a friendship grows between them which slowly grows into something more.

Denna arrives in Mynaria for her marriage to Prince Thandilimon whom she has been betrothed to since childhood. As Denna learns her new role in this kingdom and securing an alliance between the two nations, aΒ terrible tragedy occurs. As Thandilimon prepares for war,Β no one will listen to Denna and her intelligent findings – except Mare. But Denna has a secret that no one can know about for it’s forbidden in Mynaria – she has an Affinity for fire.

β™₯

Of Fire and Stars is written in an alternating pattern between Mare and Dennas’ viewpoints and I loved the complete contrast in their personalities. Mare is definitely not your typical princess, she’s more at home in the stables with her horses than dressed in finery attending important meetings and dinners. However Denna is absolutely the princess and future queen she has been brought up to be, taking on the heavy responsibility of her kingdom completely, abandoning her true feelings for the sake of her duty.

We see the steady progression of the two forming a friendship as the royal Directorate refuse to take action and discover the truth behind attacks and what it means for the kingdom. Denna is clever and quick to act and Mare is daring with a thirst for justice, which forms an unstoppable duo as they soon find out who is really to blame.

Image result for i am loving this gif

Not every character is thoroughly formed though as I didn’t really feel like I knew anyone else besides Denna and Mare – it would have been good to see more character development with Thandi and the King as well as Nils. It just felt like some scenes were a bit rushed at times and swiftly moved on when more could have been said or done to just flesh-out the world and relationships that bit more.

Image result for tell me more gif

One thing I have to mention though is that I read a lot of fantasy that involves royalty and such, but none like this. I have never encountered a world where relationships are so freely accepted whatever gender you are and it was ridiculously amazing to read about! Men with women, men with men and women with women, it was a beautifully simple message that love is love and who even cares as long as it’s love?!

Image result for it's brilliant gif

Oh and the FOOD DESCRIPTIONS in this book were gorgeous – you can always tell if a book is going to be good based on how they describe food in the book (or lack thereof) and this one was definitely on to a winner.

A slow-burn romance and two characters that defy all odds to solve a mystery together with just a sprinkle of magic thrown in, Of Fire and Stars is a great story (with a beautiful cover may I add) that I do not regret picking up. And I’m pretty sure I’ll be picking up the sequel!