A Conjuring of Light book review

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

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โ€œLove and loss,โ€ he said, of โ€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.โ€

– V E Schwab, A Conjuring of Light

Darkness is spreading through Red London and theย Antariย 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.

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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 aย lotย 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 muchย 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.

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So I’ll start with the beginning where Kell is trapped and the collar is killing his power and so Rhy, poorย Rhyย 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 heย didย 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

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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.ย Antariย 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.

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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!

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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?!

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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 hisย 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.

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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.

โ€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.โ€

– 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 anย 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.

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One last thing I have to mention is HOLLAND. Okay so I never liked Holland I thought he was vile but he is justย 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.

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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.

โ€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.โ€

– V E Schwab, A Conjuring of Light

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Vicious book review

by V E Schwab (2013)ย Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

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โ€œPlenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.โ€ – V E Schwab, Vicious

Victor and Eli were college roommates in the beginning before everything changed, before they started hunting the other one down. They were brilliant and clever with a particular interest in EOs – the ExtraOrdinary people that live amongst them that have extraordinary abilities. But an experiment in college changes things forever and ten years later, Victor is out for revenge and Eli has been busy killing off any EOs he can find. With near-death experiences, unlikely friendships and revenge paving the way, will everyone be alive at the end of this truly vicious story?

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Vicious starts off ‘last night’ and flips between the present and ten years ago when Victor and Eli were friends. Each chapter fast forwards or reverses back in time so we see just how things got to be how they are between the two of them. Victor is now seeking out Eli with the help from a couple of friends and Eli is killing with the help from the unique Selena.

This story is brilliantly written and it’s a book jam-packed with action that I simply just didn’t want to put it down. I found myself smirking at the interactions between characters and desperate to read just one more chapter so I could find outย why and how. Victor was definitely my favourite character because he doesn’t see himself as a hero, far from it but he felt like the hero of the story for me. Eli is absolutely insane and the way he is written is just superb.

I didn’t find the flipping between times confusing and loved the pace of the book – as the present continued on slowly, the past was revealed quickly and we learn so much about the characters and how they got to be where they are now. Eli is definitely creepy and it was so interesting to see how he thinks he is doing the world a service by ridding it of EOs – he genuinely thought he was doing the right thing. Victor is the best and Iย loved reading their interactions with each other, given the fact that they used to be friends.

As always, Schwab’s writing is stupendous and the characters she created in this book were so damn intriguing to read about. She always has a perfectly thought-up reason as to why they behave the way they do which makes it all the more believable and contributes to a thrilling reading experience.

โ€œThe absence of pain led to an absence of fear, and the absence of fear led to a disregard for consequence.โ€ – V E Schwab, Vicious

A lot happened in this book and I need to mention a few spoilery things so look away now if you don’t want to see!

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So I had no idea just how evil Eli would be in this book – he basically just goes round killing anyone and everyone because they’re ‘not natural’ (I mean who is he to decide what is or isn’t natural? Is it natural for humans to wear clothes? Exactly, so pipe down Eli) in the name of God.

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Bitch, you make your own choices don’t use religion as a reason.

Okay so Eli is happily going around killing all the EOs he can find but oh did I mention, HE’S A BLOODY EO HIMSELF! Talk about being a hypocrite. That’s like me hating gingers and going around killing all the gingers EVEN THOUGH I AM GINGER MYSELF. It doesn’t make sense.

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Now Victor, I like. He knows he’s not perfect, he’s not good and he doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what he is. He has the ability to control pain and this makes him both kind and evil because he can take pain away or inflict it. He was such an intriguing character and I quite enjoyed reading his obsession over getting revenge on Eli for locking him up in prison. So in the end he finally manages to get his hands on Eli but the problem with that is, Eli can heal. So basically he can’t die.

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Oh good.

Victor just inflicts a bit of pain on Eli but we all know he can’t win so the ending was both surprising and expected. Eli is alive but going to jail and Victor is free. It was very much an ending that was satisfying but could lead somewhere and V E Scwhab is actually doing a sequel called Vengeful which will be amazing no doubt!

โ€œThere are no good men in this game.โ€ – V E Schwab, Vicious

Top 3 books of 2016

Happy new year bookworms! I hope everyone had a brilliant year and 2017 is even better for you. I read so many amazing books last year and discovered a load of new amazing authors thanks to other book blogs I follow and bookstagram, so here are my top three books I read in 2016:

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My absolute favourite read of 2016 was, of course, A Court of Mist and Fury by S J Maas which was just a truly stunning book and I am so excited for the sequel this year! A Gathering of Shadows by V E Schwab was an awesome sequel as well (the sequels this year have been even better than the first books!) and What’s A Girl Gotta Do? by Holly Bourne was a brilliant end to its trilogy and so full of empowering feminism.

Each book was full to the brim of superb and inspirational writing – these authors are three of my favourite authors and I can’t wait to see what they do this year!

2016 was the year I started this book blog and I’m so grateful for all of you following – I hope you like what I post! I also started taking Goodreads seriously with my record-keeping of books I’ve read and I love this little summary they sent me of my year:

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I’ve set my Goodreads reading challenge this year as 40 books since I’ve got a busy third year at uni so that’s less than one book a week so I should hopefully be able to reach it but we’ll see (I may have to lower it…). Did you see your little Goodreads summary for 2016? What was the shortest and longest book you read?

Sorry I’ve been a bit inactive – I’ve just seen that I only posted once in December! – but I plan to post at least once a week and I’ve changed the theme of my blog – what do you think?

Jo x

A Conjuring of Light cover reveal

Titan Books FINALLY revealed the UK cover for A Conjuring of Light, the third and final instalment of the A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy by V E Schwab and IT’S AWESOME!

Behold:

I absolutely love the designs of the ADSOM books with the title of the book filling the silhouette of a figure and that person always walking between the worlds, but this cover has clever little hints too – the black background and the crumbling/fading away of Red London and a certain Black London emerging???? The cover is taunting us!

ADSOM is one of my favourite books I discovered this year (see my post on five reasons why you should read ADSOM) and I am so excited for this book, the cover is stunning but I just hope it isn’t foreshadowing anything awful that’s going to happen in the book – Black London can’t take over!

What are your thoughts of this cover? Are you as scared as I am for the fate of a certain few characters?

A Conjuring of Light is due to be released February 2017.

V E Schwab event

This time last week I was meeting V E Schwab for the second time! So I met V E Schwab for the first time at YALC on Sunday 31st July but I met her AGAIN four days after as I went to her Birmingham stop on her UK tour! I was so nervous because I was going alone and (my nervousness taking over) I ended up tucking myself away at the back and this had its drawbacks because I couldn’t see V E Schwab at the front when she was answering questions and I was third to get my books signed so I didn’t get chance to talk to anyone in the queue or anything :/ I’ve realised that when I go to these events, I need to TALK to other people because, after all, they’re there to see the same author as you so you already have something in common!

She answered questions put to her on This Savage Song and her writing technique as well as coming up with the idea for the A Darker Shade of Magic series etc. I loved listening to her talk – she’s so positive and happy and never stopped smiling! She said that she grew up looking for the cracks in the world and wishing it were stranger, so this translated into her writing – she created worlds that were a little bit stranger, and invented characters that becameย people.

Next we had an Essen Tasch style quiz and I HAD PREPARED SO MUCH FOR THIS because I reread ADSOM and AGOS in anticipation for questions based on the books and it ended up being random questions on like what’s the biggest library in the world and questions on comic book characters. I was disappointed because I was so ready to answer questions on her books, but the quiz did ensue that I talked to other people there and had a lot of fun just chatting to fellow Schwablians ๐Ÿ™‚

After some Q & A with the author, she did some signings and because I was at the back, I was third in the queue so I left quite early! I was sad to leave and kind of wanted to be last so I could hang around and chat more to V E Schwab, but I did ask her how ACOL was going and I told her how I was worried she had killed someone off (she averted her eyes at this). I said I didn’t really mind if Holland died to which her publicist I think? gasped but come on, out of all the characters I do NOT want Kell, Lila, Rhy or Alucard to die so Holland it is.

V E Schwab was so inspiring to listen to as she talked about how she writes and comes up with ideas for further books and also how she views the world and this translates into her writing – it was just one of the best evenings and I’ve actually ordered Vicious so I can read more of V E Schwab’s amazing writing!

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Wishlist Wednesday: Vicious

I missed Wishlist Wednesday last week because I’ve just been really busy writing other posts but I’m back this week!

So I went to see V E Schwab in Birmingham last week (post coming up tomorrow about it) and she is just one of the best authors I’ve discovered this year! I read A Darker Shade of Magic first (post here on why to read it) and absolutely loved her style of writing and the world she created. I followed up with the sequel and then won a copy of This Savage Song which was brilliant again (review here). So I want to get Vicious (also she says that her favourite character she’s made is one in this book) and read more of her work.

Currently taking a long time to read my way through books this month, I think I’m stressing too much about going back to uni next month :/ I hope I can get past this and just enjoy the time I still have off!

Have an awesome Wednesday everyoneย โ™ฅ

Five reasons why you should read ‘A Darker Shade of Magic’ by V E Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic (2015) is a fantasy book all about magic and set in a world where there is more than one London: Grey where magic has been forgotten, Red where magic thrives, White which involves people fighting to control magic but the magic withdraws, and Black London- a place that ceases to exist after magic took over and the world perished.

Kell is anย Antari – a person who can travel into the different Londons and only one of two still remaining after the doors were shut between the worlds after magic took over and consumed Black London. But when a mysterious object falls into Kell’s possession, he is chased through the worldsย for it, life suddenly taking a dramatic twist for theย Antari.

This book is fast-paced and full of action as well as expressing a new and original take on magic (link on goodreads) and here are five reasons why you should consider picking up this book to read next:

  1. MAGIC
    We have all either read or seen Harry Potter, or at least heard of it so we know the score that when it comes to magic, J K knows how to rock it. So when a new book comes along that’s about magic, we’re probably a bit sceptical because we all know that Hogwarts is the place for magic isn’t it?
    WRONG. V E Schwab certainly knows how to create a new and exciting magical world with a refreshing take on magic, that it is to be respected and cannot be controlled, lest it consume you or retreat away. She describes magic as being fluid, always existing and never being created or destroyed – like energy. The detailed description of magic grips you by the hand and throws you into a new world and into a new way of thinking about magic. Breath-taking and exhilarating, this book will cast a new light on magic and our attitudes towards it.
  2. The WRITING
    Have I mentioned already that the descriptions in this book are otherworldly? V E Schwab has a beautiful way with words and knows exactly which ones to use to create an atmosphere and get that skin crawling with trepidation or heart pounding with excitement. Rarely does a book leave you craving more from an author and wishing you could see the world through their eyes, wondering what magic they have running through their veins to be able to construct such a treasure of a book.
    This author does just that. Even if the premiseย for the book doesn’t grip you at first, as soon as you start reading you’ll soon be left wondering why you didn’t pick this book up sooner.
  3. KELL
    A Darker Shade of Magic has some wondrously though-up characters but Kell is by far the show of the story. An air of mystery surrounds Kell as we soon learn he has a patchy past – an enchantment to erase memories marked on his skin at the age of five and adopted by the King and Queen, Kell is a character we know all and nothing about.
    The conflict seen within himself for wanting to please and serve the King but also feeling lost and unhappy with his life, you soon realise you have reserved a small place in your heart for this particular character. A constant battle to care for others and live his own life, Kell shocks with how far he is willing to go to save the ones he loves.
  4. The SUSPENSE and ACTION
    The chapters are written in such a way that we could be reading about Kell in one, and then someone somewhere entirely different in the next, but they are linked. There are sort of title pages to different sections of the book, which are then split into chapters labelled by roman numerals. It means that you get a glimpse of what the next section of the book is about and it sometimes plays havoc with your emotions if it’s labelled with foreboding words – a tease for what happens next.
    This way of formatting the book helps to build suspense but also gives a fast-paced action feel to the story – you’re never left feeling bored or just going through the motions of having to read a chapter in order to understand something later – every sentence adds to the feel of the setting of the story and thrills and excites every step of the way.
  5. The diversity of the CHARACTERS
    You go from the adorable and easy-to-love Kell, to the malicious and black-hearted Dane twins who rule over White London by fear and corruption of their citizens. Astrid and Athos are deliciously evil – twins that rule side by side with a desire for ownership of everything. V E Schwab knows how to create wicked character, but also a brazen one like in Rhy; the brother to Kell, he is the complete opposite to him and delightful to read about with his forward remarks and amusing comebacks.
    What this book does include is a strong-willed, livelyย character seen in Lila Bard – she lives her life by her own rules and is daring in her ambition of seeking out adventure. With no romance seen in this novel, it’s refreshing to have a male and female manage to fight against dark magic without ending up swooning after one another.
    And of course, there’s Holland. This character is very up-and-down, one minute we’re feeling sympathy for him and his plight, the next we’re feeling distaste for him by his actions. He continues to surprise and shock throughout the story, showing his violent and sly nature in between brief periods of quietness in which we feel sorry for him and can’t help forgiving some of his behaviour.
    So cleverly done, each character brings something different to the feel of the story and each one is just as important as the other in building this magical world and storyline.

 

And there you have it! If this doesn’t convince you to pick up ADSOM or add it to your TBR list, then I don’t know what will – V E Schwab is definitely an author that you will relish in discovering and more than worth the time in trying one of her books. With a superb plot and fascinating characters, this book reaches out and finds a place within your heart that it latches on to and you will find never wanting to let go.