Book Review: A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab (5/5)

29939230 AH! You know that feeling when you are getting close to the end of a book, the end of a series that has kept you reading into the wee hours of the morning? It’s like a pitting, a dread of the end, that it will be over, but it is also a tingling excitement of how it ends, where it goes after that, of reaching the closure. This book gave me that feeling something fierce.

Everything about this book, this series, is phenomenal. I mean, worth every page, every strand of hype.

From the cover design to the characters to the writing to the plot – phenomenal in every sense of the word.

The characters, oh my heart, the characters. Kell has that “static main character” vibe: overly serious, willing to sacrifice himself to do what’s right, but I love him anyway.  Rhy is a honey bun, lovable from the first time he steps onto the page. Lila is a fantastic female character with a love of knifes and a thirst for adventure. There’s the sexy and smart Alucard, pirate privateer captain who’s still very much in love with Rhy. There’s a handful of minor characters strung throughout that are so well written that it doesn’t seem fair.

Each character had their own story arc, their own rise, their own story – so beautifully woven into the larger story, so that the story would have felt hollow without all of them. Everyone had a stake; everyone had a purpose; everyone had a hand in the rise and fall.

V. E. Schwab has crafted a gem for the fantasy genre. One review commented that it was LGBTQ friendly, POC friendly, strong female character friendly, but also that it had “non-toxic masculinity.” I hadn’t even noticed or thought about it until I read that – and then I realized the reviewer (I can’t find the review now) was RIGHT.

Not once did a character appear to have been pushed into the story for the purpose of supporting this or that; every character, not matter how big or small, felt perfect. Intricately woven into the society of this book, just like people are woven into our society. (Only a little better, because race and sexuality weren’t that big of a deal in this world.)

And, let’s break for a moment to relish and marvel and fangirl over the beautiful relationship between brothers. Rhy and Kell aren’t related by blood; they are not born of the same parents. Kell was adopted, yet he and Rhy grew up so close together that they are willing to die for one another. It reminds me of the love between brothers in Fullmetal Alchemist, a pure, raw, and never ending kind of love. It showed that two people can love each other beyond words, without being in something romantic. It was beautiful.

And then there is the world. Oh, my soul, the world! It is one of the most immersive novels/series I have ever read. I feel like I need to reread the series to soak in the art of it all, how the details stitched together a world larger than life, very real, and very possible, and so amazingly fantastical. I’m jealous of Schwab’s ability to paint such a world. I felt like I was walking with Kell through Red London and Grey London and into White London, feeling the hum of magic everywhere and in everything.

Another thing I’m jealous of/fangirling over is that there is romance in this series, but it’s not the centerpiece. I wanted Kell and Lila to be together; I wanted Rhy and Alucard to make up and be together again. But I also wanted them to same the world first.

And the ending – loved it. I won’t spoil, but know that it is worth it. I feared it would be bittersweet. It was, a little, but it was more sweet than bitter. It does the one thing I crave from stories – it leaves the door open for more adventure.

The writing was topnotch. Thoughtful and genuine, while at the same time moving the story effortless forward and revealing character. For anyone writing fantasy or wanting to write fantasy or write anything – this series is a definite study.

So, overall, A Conjuring of Light gets a 5 out of 5, and the series gets the same. If you are fantasy reader and you haven’t read this series – go read it. RIGHT NOW.

And, I learned a new word – susurrant. It means “a soft, whispering or rustling sound; a murmur.” I love learning new words in books. It give me that tingly feeling in a different way.

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