A Conjuring of Light by V. E Schwab

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Witness the fate of beloved heroes – and enemies.

THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED…
The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.

WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?

WHO WILL RISE?
Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.

WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.

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Disclaimers: This review will contain major spoilers and we’re entirely unashamed of that. You have been warned.

Why we chose it: It’s the concluding book in the ADSOM trilogy.

Review: We’ve been absent from book reviewing from a while and so the thoughts surrounding us and the actual idea that we have chosen to get back into the game with this breath taking, soul destroying and in some ways lacking book are daunting.

That’s not to say that we’re not excited to be back and to rip apart our feelings for A Conjuring of Light, we are…it’s just – why did we have to choose this book to be the first one we review after hiatus?

It was obvious to us after only a few pages that Schwab had upped the stakes, upped the ante and with them upped the quality with which she writes with. The opening chapters from A Conjuring of Light come from different points of view, more so than we were accustomed to, but we have no complaints about them. The writing was beautiful. It flowed in black like the power that is Osaron and it wove deep into our mind.

We could see London clearer, see the characters clearer and it was fantastic. We wondered why Schwab didn’t infuse such vividness into A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Magic, we wondered was it because they were building blocks? Because they were…an introduction of sorts into multiples Londons and into the heads of the inhabitants of those Londons?

We wondered for a while before we grasped something. A Conjuring of Light is the only book where we truly appreciated the savagery of White London and the destruction of Black London. Where we appreciated all that is wonderful and wrong in the London that shines red and where we finally felt connected to the London that is much like the one in our own world with its lack of magic and its want for magic.

So, to truly kick off our indepth review we’re going to talk about Holland.

This book made us fall in love with the man who’d died and lived and made himself King by hosting something without conscience. We can truly say that we adore his character so very much now because we got to know him in the same way that we’d gotten to know Lila and Kell and Rhy. We got to see his past, experience his hopes and fears, his accomplishments and his failures.

His journey as a character is something we can appreciate. His actions as a man and his actions as an Antari were clearly defined in this book. To us, Holland is human first and Antari second and we were, by the end of the book not even remotely disappointed when he lost his magic after the battle. We were happy, actually to see him without the thing that had caused him the most pain throughout his life. We were happy and then we were sad to say goodbye.

We were sad to say goodbye to so many of the characters from this series. We’d made homes from them all in our heart, in a beating place inside our chest and to lose the threads of their stories after only three books was almost tear worthy in a way. Everyone and everything was embellished just that little bit more than Schwab probably intended due to our mind and knowing that we possibly won’t see where they travel and who they become over the rest of their lives is hard.

Matters of the heart certainly came to the forefront in A Conjuring of Light. There were the romantic matters and then there were the familial matters. There was Kell and Lila, Alucard and Rhy, Maxim and Emira on the romance front. Interesting how their relationships were so entirely different and then there was the relationship between Kell and Maxim/Emira, the brotherly bond of Rhy and Kell…

It was all too much and too little in some ways.

After hundreds upon hundreds of pages, we are still entirely unsure about the pairing of our dearest Lila and our self-pitying Kell. This book brought the teasing kisses and out of reach romance of the two together and we found ourselves affronted by it. Somewhere before the middle the two had this heart stopping romantic moment, or at least that’s what we think Schwab intended it to be. To us it was awkward and we could have done without it.

We’d have preferred Lila to stay single and Kell to stay…pining after her? It’s cruel, but we really would have liked it.

Alucard and Rhy on the other hand were and are sheer perfection. We enjoyed the fact that A Conjuring of Light allowed us to delve deeper into their history and see what was broken between them. Seeing Alucard out of his mind when Rhy was dying and then when Rhy was dead made it clear to us how much he cared, but not clear to the charismatic prince. Alucard’s devotion and Rhy’s acceptance came the hard way.

Maxim and Emira need only three words for their relationship. Beautiful and Heart-breaking.

Individually, the two were oh so interesting.

Maxim’s reputation as a warrior Prince and a powerful magician in his own right became really obvious as we made our way through the book. His need to protect his people at any cost and protect his family was something that was definitely shown and not told in A Conjuring of Light as we gained access to his own wonderful perspective. And what a heavy one it was.

Maxim really bore the weight of so much and in a completely different way to the way his son did. They both have responsibility being the reigning monarch and the heir to the monarchy respectively, but Maxim’s was so much more active. Although, it became increasingly evident as A Conjuring of Light progressed that Rhy was taking on more and becoming more with his glowing armour and his perception of himself.

Emira’s point of view was thought provoking to say the least, it was just as heavy as Maxim’s, but there was an elegance to her that resonated with us. She gained life and personality in this novel and she showed both her strength and her weakness whether it was with her inability to determine her relationship with Kell or her keen intellect and ability to listen to all the goings on in the castle.

We found her completely and utterly fascinating.

But we found her final moments disappointing. In our mind, she had taken on the shape of someone who would, when it counted forget her fears and show only the strength and capability that her son and husband showed. In reality or rather in this fictional reality created by Schwab she fractured.

We were not impressed.

In the months coming up to the release of ACOL Victoria Schwab was active on twitter in a manner that hyped up everything surrounding this novel, when we saw her say that it was thirty-five percent death we thought she had to be joking.

She wasn’t.

So many delicate walking and talking constructs died that we’re still having a hard time coming to terms with it all. We didn’t like anyone dying and we didn’t like the way that it was mainly people we felt we had come to know. This lady has absolutely no problems killing off her mains and her sides and the faceless beings you’re meant to perceive as people.

We must, of course mention prominent reason why most of these characters we haven’t named died.

Osaron, the magic without humanity or the possession of a soul. We got creepy Voldemort like vibes with his italic styled talk and the fact that it was eerie mind speech. How we’ve gone this long without talking about our beloved villain is beyond us.

What we like most about Osaron, is that he’s not inherently evil. He’s misguided and completely delusional, but surely if you had unmatched power and an unquenchable desire for new things and seeing potential wouldn’t you overlook the human lives you’re ending and then demand more?

No? Just us then.

Being something so powerful, we found the attempts to defeat him to be clever and enjoyable, but his actual defeat seemed to come and have passed without us realising it for more than a few pages. It wasn’t anticlimactic. It was, however, easy to miss for a moment.

There are areas in which we believe A Conjuring of Light failed to deliver and we’re going to list them for you.

  • A brand-new character, who we find intriguing called Nasi was introduced. We imagined her to be the future Queen of White London, but she was there and gone without any resolution. What’s with that Schwab? She’s definitely spinoff potential. We could totally do with a nine-year-old ascending to the throne in White London as it begins to breathe again.
  • We were teased with Kell’s hidden memories and then never got them. Granted he didn’t want them when the opportunity presented itself, but screw his wants. Ours are far more important.
  • The people with silver scars? More on them is needed.
  • The ramifications of the final battle need to be explored. Kell feels pain with his magic. Lila is Antari (we knew from book one that she was), but she doesn’t seem to posess the same level of power as the other two. We would have liked if she’d turned out to be something more unique.

So, to conclude A Conjuring of Light is a book we love dearly, but can’t help pick apart because we’re critical and analytical. It gave us so much that we enjoyed and left us wanting even more which really is a job well done. There were moments that were utterly perfect and we will never hesitate to recommend this book and the trilogy that it’s part of.

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING THIS REVIEW! What did you think? Did you like or love A Conjuring of Light? Do you think Schwab is on bored with giving us readers more adventures in the four Londons or maybe just White and Red London with Nasi as the focus eh? Hint hint. Let us know what you think in the comments and don’t forget to follow us on:

And we’d love to be friend with you on Goodreads so send us a friend request. That way we’ll be able to see what you’re reading.

Arkon, Annie and a creator.

Anoshe.

 

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

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Effia and Esi are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

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Disclaimers: We received an digital copy of this book via NetGalley courtesy of the publisher (Viking) which is an imprint of Penguin. This review may contain some things you consider to spoilers. You have been warned.

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Archangel’s Heart by Nalini Singh

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One of the most vicious archangels in the world has disappeared. No one knows if Lijuan is dead or has chosen to Sleep the long sleep of an immortal. But with her lands falling into chaos under a rising tide of vampiric bloodlust, a mysterious and ancient order of angels known as the Luminata calls the entire Cadre together to discuss the fate of her territory.

Accompanying her archangelic lover Raphael to the Luminata compound, guild hunter-turned-angel Elena senses that all is not as it seems. Secrets echo from within the stone walls of the compound, and the deeper Elena goes, the uglier the darkness. But neither Raphael nor Elena is ready for the brutal truths hidden within—truths that will change everything Elena thinks she knows about who she is…

Nothing will ever be the same again.

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Disclaimers: We received a digital copy of this book via NetGalley courtesy of the publisher (Gollancz, a division of the Orion Publishing Group). This review may contain some things you consider to be spoilers for both the book in question and the books that came before it. You have been warned.

Why we chose it: We like us some Elena and Raphael. These books are a guilty pleasure of sorts.

Review: Opening up Archangel’s Heart was a different experience to any of the previous books in the series and there are eight of them so we have to commend Nalini Singh for making something familiar seem fresh and new.

We were greeted with a prologue that felt mysterious and wonderful and it was evident that this prologue wasn’t going to be some seemingly throwaway piece of information that wouldn’t become important until much later in the novel. Instead it was the cornerstone of the entire plot and we really loved it.

Secrets and angel wings are totally our thing.

Discovering more of Elena’s past, the past of her family was an interesting thing to explore. Pairing that up with angelic politics and the personal growth of multiple characters was great. It really made more good storytelling and while we predicted some of the twists and turns, there were some things that we expected to happen that just didn’t. We definitely appreciated that.

Let’s talk about Aodhan. Let’s talk about how much we love Aodhan and how far he’s come in the time since we were first introduced to his character. No longer is he a fragile beauty who glitters in the sky, but finally he is once again and highly capable and dangerous member of the Seven. We never saw him as a warrior or as someone other than Illium’s best friend who’d had some really awful things happen to him. And that’s because he wasn’t. He was quiet. He was reserved. He avoided most physical contact. In Archangel’s Heart he is still quiet and reserved and against most physical contact, but through Elena we got to see the humour and intelligence and kindness beneath it all.

(That was such a clever way to link back to our main character, wasn’t it?)

Another thing that was different about Archangel’s Heart was how very Elena and Raphael focused it was. In recent Guild Hunter books the story has branched out into the lives of Dmitri and Honor, Ashwini and Janvier and a whole host of others that have proved for an intriguing narrative. Occasionally chapters focused on Elena and her Archangel lover, but otherwise they became a sort of background feature.

In this story, it’s all about the original couple and they’re just excellent.

It’s important to note and this point that sex scenes really took a backseat to the mystery for our characters here and we’re okay with that because we think if there had been many, they would have forced. We like how Nalini Singh focused on the stabby, stabby and whodunit instead.

Being introduced to the Luminata raised a so many red flags in our mind that we’re surprised alarm bells didn’t suddenly go off. Having read so many books where there are secretive and powerful organisations we just knew that they weren’t going to be good.

Elena spent a great deal of the book uncovering secrets and learning what was really happening in the Luminata compound and how it and the town beside it tied into her family history. We don’t want to spoil, so we’ll just say that everything she discovered and everything we discovered through her helped to further bring all the information we have on her into a clearer light.

We constantly enjoy how secure Elena is in her relationship with Raphael, how she doesn’t complain about having a plain face or how she simply can’t believe she could be the one for him. It’s a rarity in romances featured in New Adult books and that’s a shame. Elena knows who she is and what she is and she’s comfortable with it. Plus, she’s pretty handy with a crossbow.

To conclude, Archangel’s Heart was a really great instalment in the series. It had elements of mystery and action and we were so pleased to get back inside Elena’s mind because it works in such a wonderful way. Violence is always a viable option for her and we like it so very much. Guild Hunter novels always leave us wanting for more and this one was no different in that respect. Nalini Singh should get a medal because we love her urban fantasy books and we don’t think that’s ever going to stop.

THANK YOU FOR READING OUR REVIEW! Who do you want to see more of in the next book? Would you like to visit the lands of Michaela like we do or do you want a story focused on wicked, yet neglected Venom? An Ilium and Aodhan romance?Or Illium and Aodhan finding other partners? Please let us know what you think in the comments and don’t forget to follow us on:

And we’d love to be friend with you on Goodreads so send us a friend request. That way we’ll be able to see what you’re reading.

Arkon, Annie and a creator.

Mr. Eternity by Aaron Thier

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Key West, 2016. Sea levels are rising, coral reefs are dying. In short, everything is going to hell. It’s here that two young filmmakers find something to believe in: an old sailor who calls himself Daniel Defoe and claims to be five hundred sixty years old.

In fact, old Dan is in the prime of his life. It’s an incredible, perhaps eternal American life, which Mr. Eternity imagines over a millennium: a parade of conquistadors and plantation owners, lusty mermaids and dissatisfied princesses, picking up in the sixteenth century in the Viceroyalty of New Granada and continuing into the twenty-sixth, where, in the future Democratic Federation of Mississippi States, Dan serves as an advisor to the King of St. Louis. Some things remain constant throughout the centuries, and being on the edge of ruin may be one. In 1560, the Spaniards have destroyed the Aztec and Inca civilizations. In 2500, we’ve destroyed our own: the cities of the Atlantic coast are underwater, the union has fallen apart, and cars, plastics, and air conditioning are relegated to history. But there are other constants too: love, ingenuity, humor, and old Dan himself, always adapting and inspiring others with dreams of a better life.

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Disclaimers: We received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher (Bloomsbury) There may be some things you consider to be spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

Why we chose it: Immortality is something that intrigues us and this book seemed like it would provide us with an original take on it.

Review: We finished Mr. Eternity the other night and we can easily say we have absolutely no idea what happened. We’re confused and happy to be so because Mr. Eternity is one of those books that leaves you not just with new characters and worlds implanted in your brain, but with questions about almost everything.

This book is philosophical, it questions serious topics facing us such as global warming and equality, but because of the different time periods available to us in the novel it manages to question the cycle of humanity. It’s longevity and it’s repetition. It questions whether modern civilizations ever actually learn anything from those before. The ancient civilizations.

It’s extremely important to note that we aren’t usually a fan of books that tackle broad concepts in such an expansive way. Especially not if such concepts are shown to us through five separate lives with the titular character being woven throughout.

Let’s start in the middle, in the time period we ourselves inhabit. 2016. There is a guy or rather there are two guys. Aspiring film-makers, college drop outs, whatever label you want to call them. They’re human beings intrigued with a guy who claims to be immortal. Over five hundred years old. An old mariner who has a ship. A ship that no longer sails on sea. Both these guys are cynical and disbelieving. In an age of technology and recordings to believe the tales of a man who can confuse fiction and fact is difficult. Azar, one of these film-makers we speak of wants to be less cynical and we think that’s  one of the most interesting things about the 2016 chapters. Even though the seas are rising and there is the threat of global warming constantly lurking sometimes to escape reality one must simply inhabit or believe in the reality of another.

In 1560 there is a girl of contradictions, that’s how we viewed her. A Pirahoa girl who speaks Spanish and spins as many tales and Daniel de Fo. She speaks of a place called El Dorado. A place where many strange and wonderful things that can even grow back feet come from, but these things don’t exist in Spanish. She both hates and loves this place. This girl is called Maria or that is what she’s called in Spanish. She is a very clever girl and from her we see Mr. Eternity as a man who is seen to commit heresy. In the 1560 chapters we learn of religion and an era of Conquistadors. It’s fascinating and kind of terrible because to speak against God or to even have people believe you speak against God is a dangerous thing in such a time.

The 1560 chapters and the 2016 chapters hold much in common. With the masses utterly disbelieving in things they can’t understand or see while at the same time being able to believe in things we also can’t see or understand we learn quite quickly that human nature an belief is odd and individual.

1750 is a time of slavery and much chaos for some. There are crimes that are legal depending on skin colour and class and there is John Green a son of a slave and said slave’s master. 1750 and John Green tells  a story of love a freedom – both things possessed by few. Throughout the world’s history there are times when people must fight for the freedom a great deal of us in 2016 are born with. In 1750 John Green meets a man named Dr. Dan. Dr. Dan has experienced slavery and freedom and love and loss. It’s something that’s very hard to discuss and analyse.

We suppose the best way to discuss what’s given to us in the 1750 chapters is to compare to what we read in the 2500 chapters.

Over seven hundred years later and there is a world that at first glance is completely different to what has been before, but when a closer look is taken we noticed that in fact not very much is different from any of the other time periods in this book. Yes, there is a King in St. Louis and the seas have risen to heights never reached before, but there is still such a massive difference between the classes. Slaves are once again something common and women are still seen as something lesser. Political pawns for King’s and business. We get told all this through Jasmine St. Roulette. The daughter of the King.

What was most interesting about her chapters aside from her personality was how Daniel Defoe could link civilizations existing more than seven hundred years apart. We clearly saw how humanity repeats itself so easily. Despite the fact that the surroundings change.

There is another time of 2200 where Old Dan and Jam travel down a rapidly changed world, but we saw how humans often wish for something they once took for granted. The 2200 chapters were our least favourite and we don’t really have much else to say about them.

What we do have to say though is how there was always an extremely distinctive voice for the character who featured in each time period. The voices that were so distinctive that we could easily know who was talking and from where they were talking from. The formation of sentences and the tense, it was all very cleverly used so the book would not suffer the problem many books that are told from multiple perspectives do.

To conclude, Mr. Eternity is a vast novel that is so full of information and story it can sometimes be overpowering. It is, however definitely worth the read despite the occasional confusion.

Ok! Wow. Thank you so much for reading this review and make sure to let us know what you think in the comments. Don’t forget to follow us on:

And we’d love to be friend with you on Goodreads so send us a friend request. That way we’ll be able to see what you’re reading.

Arkon, Annie and a creator.