I’m sitting here staring at a blank screen, completely unsure of where to start. I came across the first book of this series, A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, only last month. I devoured it and the second book, A Gathering of Shadows, in three days. I couldn’t get enough. The characters were diverse and had depth and the story was completely engrossing. So, of course, I immediately got on Amazon and pre-ordered the third book which came out Feb 21st, 2017. The thing is that when it was delivered I postponed starting on it. I didn’t want the story to be finished. This world Schwab created had gotten to me and I knew that once I read this book it would be over. Sure, you can go back and re-read a book as many times as you like but there is only one first time. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to that magic.
Obviously, I finally gave in. I was not disappointed.
“Love and loss,” he said, “are 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.”
We return to the story exactly where A Gathering of Shadows left off. Kell has been captured and taken to White London where he is being mercilessly tortured. Because of their magical bond that means every pain inflicted upon Kell is felt by his brother, prince Rhy. Lila understands what is happening and takes off to save Kell. Go Lila! It is difficult not to love such a strong, determined character. She takes matters into her own hands and usually comes out on top. If you are the kind of person that looks for a a strong female lead in literature you could do a lot worse than Lila Bard.
Kell’s capture is the beginning of a devastating time for Red London. The city is under siege by an ancient enemy. Osaron, the dark king of Black London, has invaded Red and seeks to claim it for his own. Every citizen is at risk of being consumed by Osaron and precious few are able to avoid his dark grasp. It spreads through the city quickly and there is no one able to stop the onslaught of this black plague.
Once Lila succeeds at rescuing Kell they both return to their home in Red. Despite valiantly trying to save as many citizens as possible they are forced to retreat to the palace. The palace has been warded against Osaron’s onslaught and for now those few who are within it’s walls are safe. Now they must find a way to combat this usurper and save their citizens.
Kell, Lila, Alucard, and (surprisingly) Holland take on this task and work tirelessly to defeat Osaron once and for all.
This book has everything. A motley cast of characters that you can’t help but love and root for, the arch villain (who oddly reminded me of Ultron from The Avengers) set on destroying everything they hold dear, and the perilous task to stop him. Will the three Antari’s magic be enough?
Schwab’s conclusion to her Shades of Magic trilogy is wonderful and (shall I say it?) magical. She gives us something to root for while systematically breaking your heart. The writing is full of lovely details and has excellent flow. I will admit that it didn’t grab me as much as the first two books did but maybe that was just me avoiding the inevitable end to a fantastic story.
“Anoshe 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.”