On April 20th I went to see the always highly entertaining John Scalzi at my local independent bookstore. While waiting for him to autograph several books, I was perusing the shelves as the line slowly wound through the store. When I got to the Fantasy “S” section, the spine of A Conjuring of Light, third book in the Shades of Magic series, smacked me in the eyeballs. A Conjuring of Light is the sequel to A Gathering of Shadows, which I reviewed last year. When I found AGoS it was a surprise as I had not realized the first book in the series, A Darker Shade of Magic, was not a stand alone novel. As book two ended in a horrible cliff hanger, there was no doubt that a book three would be coming, so I have been patiently waiting for it to arrive. I quickly grabbed the book, rushed to the register bought it, and then returned to the signing line.
A Conjuring of Light, naturally, starts immediately where AGoS left off and the story launches at a breath taking pace. A rescue mission where two lives hang in the balance would be exciting enough but immediately on the heels of that operation the stakes get raised to a whole new level and the world of Red London becomes threatened. A living piece of magic, once trapped in the dead world of Black London, has come and is desperate to control a world flush in magic. Being magic incarnate has it’s draw backs as a a normal human body cannot contain the entity known as Osaron. The special Antari, however, make perfect hosts, putting Kell and his companions in even more danger. With the future of the world at stake, everyone must work together, even when it means having to trust bitter enemies.
I raced through this book and enjoyed every minute reading it. My only quibble is that after a lot of build up the solution is a magic device. An extremely rare device that a character in the room happens to have possessed at one point and knows the likely current location of said device. This felt very much like a deus ex machina moment whereas up to this point problems were solved more organically, in my humble opinion. However, the magic device plot point did not detract from my overall enjoyment of the story.
A Conjuring of Light is an excellent conclusion to a highly enjoyable series. Over the course of the series I came to care about the characters and their relationships to each other, and how they changed over time. The characters have learned and grown, and those who make it to the end get a bittersweet happy ending. I love the magic system and the differences between Londons. Victoria shows off great world building skills in this series and I’m curious to check out other works by her.