Disappointment doesn’t even begin to cover my thoughts on this. Did it end the series well enough? Yes. Did it inspire me to read more of Schwab’s writing? No. Am I even more concerned that she is being compared to Diana Wynn Jones? YES.
A Gathering of Shadows and A Conjuring of Light aren’t so much book two and book three of the Shades of Magic trilogy as they are part one and part two of book two of the Shades of Magic duology. All three of the books in the “trilogy” take place in incredibly short amounts of time with a four month gap between one and two/three.
There was NOTHING shocking in this book. Not the opening scene (hello foreshadowing from very early in A Darker Shade of Magic), not the ending, and most definitely not the 500+ pages in between.
And I STILL don’t understand why it’s an “adult” novel and not a “young adult novel”. The writing, again, was simplistic. The only adult situations that I could figure out included less violence than any of the Hunger Games books and cunnilingus. I hope she didn’t classify it as adult because of the budding gay relationship. None of those three should put this out of reach of young adults, even the overarching good vs evil things were so reductive pre-teens would probably be okay with this.
I was disappointed in the deus ex machina of the entire series, again it over simplified things and made for a less than satisfactory ending. Not to mention there’s no meaningful action for hundreds of pages and then all of a sudden here’s a death, here’s another death, and oh wait here’s a pretend death that’s not really a death. It would’ve been different if there were hints or conversations about these deaths happening and not just an “I’ll plop this device here and this vaguely misleading device here” and then kill off characters without any real reason 400 pages later. UGH.
The ending was okay in that it wrapped up the stories of all the main characters and even got me to smile at one point, but it was about as lackluster as the rest of the book.
Recommendation: If you read the first two, read this one. If you haven’t read the series yet, pass on the series. I put off writing my response for almost two weeks because I was so uninspired by this book and the series that had SO much potential.
Opening Line: “Delilah Bard—always a thief, recently a magician, and one day, hopefully, a pirate—was running as fast as she could.”
Closing Line: “Rhy raised his hand, and so did Kell, a single unspoken word between them. Anoshe.“ (Whited out to avoid spoilers, highlight to read.)