Rating : 4,5/5
This is the second book in a series so spoiler warning for the first book. Go read all of them highly reccomand all of the stabtastic feels and magical badassery (what i actually mean is come suffer with the rest of us).
Ok i am definitely in loveeeeee. *dreamy sigh because i am thinking of Lila Bard and her many sharp knives*
My blurb : We’re back for more babes because general awsomness. So in short what this book has to ofer if you so wish to pick it up : THE TRIWIZARD TOURNAMENT but with pirates…and not TRIwizard more like TRIkingdom-gets-about-6-competitors-each but hey more magic for us and that’s never a bad thing (do you hear me complaining ??), more pirates (there can never be enough of those) and even more magic.
So…confession…i didn’t like this one *as much* as the first book. I feel so alone in my unpopular opinion corner. I mean that doesn’t say anything much because I gave A darker shade of magic a really high rating (my review is more like a fangirling mess rather than actual words) – but still I could not help but be a tad bit dissapointed. V. E. Schwab reaaally likes her plot to happen in the last 50 pages of her books doesn’t she??
By the end i was eternally screaming in the void from all of the heart ache but it still took it sweet time getting there.
Now because this is a wonderful character-driven plot right here i shall discuss the characters (…yes that is an excuse to talk about Lila Bard my subtility skills are undeniable shhh)
- Kell (ha i didn’t actually start with Lila) : This poor angsty bean is going through puberty again. Or a midlife crisis (he is in his 20s help him). The fact that his frown and sulk are the guys most memorable characteristics should give you an idea. He is such a loyal, sacrificial bean but no one sees the pain that everything he has done brings him (until Rhy can feel it and does something about it #bless). Also the King and Queen are so mean to him oh god pls wrap him in a blanket an love him. And my baby misses Lila terribly, it was cute.
- Lila : Our hero but not protagonist. We get a ton more Lila here. Damn did this book deliver all the character development and personal arcs. She is still flawed (as ever) – we get to see her build another life for herself on a ship but throw it away yet again because this is Lila and she has a major fear of commitment.
Lila: my life is good, i finally have friends and i am accepted
Lila’s brain: run
Lila’s brain: you gotta
And girl now has magic and is back in town for adventure. But can we *really* trust someone as reckless as Lila with that kind of power (cough* the black veins moment has me anxious still* cough)?
I confess to not having cared about the romance between her and Kell in the first book but damn i really liked them a lot more in this. Maybe it has something to do with the longing and stubborness on both sides that makes me ship annoyingly stubborn dorks. Who knows.
- Rhy : Oh yes we get more Rhy. After the events of the last book (you know…him dyeing and whatnot) he goes full on Jessica Jones when it comes to dealing with self hatred and his problems (drinking game – take a shot every time Rhy does). But he has a kingdom to please and run so he gotta smile sunshine (let us applaud Rhy for managing a tournament while being hangover 80% of the time- boy got skills)
- Alucard : I am always nervous when we introduce „new important character” in the second book but i liked him. He’s a cool snarky pirate that was once a nobleman which, as we all know, are the best kind. Kell kind of hates his guts because of a Thing tm. Which: fair enough– but i didn’t get the level of absolute hatred.
Also his banter with Lila was the death of me.
”What are you supposed to be? A fish?”
„Obviously” he said, brandishing the helmet. „I am a dragon.”
(…)”And if you could see the rest of my outfit you wouldn’t-„
„Do you have wings? Or a tail?”
„Well no, those would get in the way. But i do have more scales.”
„So does a fish.”
- Holland : (spoilers) Guess who’s back…back again…Holland’s back…please tell Kell. Also i knew it: mostly dead is never dead enough. I liked him a lot more when not under the anime twins’s control- for obvious reasons (guy has a personality !! Shocker!!). And he just wants his world to be happy so I can’t really hate him. But in order for his world to be happy everyone else has to suffer. So sorry but I manged to very strongly dislike him just fine.
- Okja : Umm. Well…she was there…and…she was loyal to Holland…and I really have no feelings for her. Also i couldn’t picture her for the death of me. I forgot how she looked half the time.
- Master Tieren : poor him he really deserves a long relaxing vacation away from all the crazy kids #letmastertierenrest2k17
As for the plot: I didn’t read any synopsis beforehand so i wasn’t expecting anything from the plot. I guess it was about the tournament- but that literally happens in the last 150 pages of the book. I mean …this book is a 500 page devil SO WHY IS THAT?? WHO SAID IS SHALL BE SO??? The main plot is in the very last bit why???? (and why didn’t they have a task that required an actual dragon battle like The Triwizard Tournament?! I demand dragon representation stat). And the games are called The Essen Tasch which…for a girl who studies German…IT’S JUST SO RIDICULOUS. Everybody was dead serious about these games but i snikered every time i saw that name because all i could think of was food (and table-bags ( i might have just ruined the book for you sorry)).
I know it sounds like i’m complaining and i really hated it but i really liked this book a lot. Look here is a “List of reasons why i am not just a sour lemon” :
- We get to see how powerful Kell really is ( i don’t think he even realizes just HOW powerful)
- more of Lila being a total headstrong badass but also her guilt for making other people feel like they are not enough for her to stay
- Rhy and Alucard’s past
- ALL OF THE GAMES
- Also Kell and Rhy’s immense love for each other brought me all of the feels. I loved how loyal and self sacrificing Kell is and him finally being selfish for once in his life. Rhy is the only one that still considers Kell his brother and they would do so and bear much for each other. (spoilers) The part when Rhy cut the word sorry in his arm to bring Kell back made me emotional oh gosh.
„ But Kell only has two (faces). The one he wears for the world at large and the one he wears for those who he loves. For us.”
– Rhy Maresh breaking my heart by talking about his tragic brother
The dreaded cliffhanger. Oh nothing is alright everybody is hurting and our souls have been maliciously ripped out. This is what made the book WONDERFUL for me (do i like my soul being ripped ?? Do i enjoy the pain ?? Why yes i do). I loved the last pages so much. Kell has a collar on, Rhy is in pain and dyeing yet again, Lila leaves to save Kell and Alucard is a confused and worried mess.
END OF SPOILERS
I really feel like I read a different book from everyone else and I am in some kind of parallel dimension (*Mandela effect*). Everyone was gushing about the hot and heavy between Kell and Lila (why ??) so I went into this bracing myself for sexy times- but they literally only meet again at the very end like dorks.
Everybody just lurveees Holland (of course Tumblr would love him he is emo) and i’m here like „yeah meh but he’s still a weirdo tho”. EVERYONE IS GUSHING ABOUT HOW MUCH THEY LOVED THIS DAMNED BOOK AND I DIDN’T AND THAT MAKES ME SAD (it also makes me dislike the book more and that makes me even more sad more plz help).
Overall: All that being said i think this is such a good sequel and it successfully avoids the second book slump syndrome. Also A conjuring of light smells like tragedy and heartbreak and I AM SO EXCITED FOR IT GOD. V. E. Schwab is going to murder me and i am ready.
Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.
In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.
But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.
What about you peanuts ? Did you absolutely love this book more than the fist one or do you join me in my lonely corner of unpopular opinions ? (i can offer you some hipster coffee or sad cold tea). Let’s chat.