It always takes me a while to finish a the final book in a beloved series.
My reading stutters and starts, my heart and eyes betray me, my courage fails me.
why on earth would I want to speed up to the heartbreak at the end?
Finishing the final book is torture.
Its agonizing knowing I will never get to know the book with fresh eyes and discover it in the same way ever again. It will never be new, don’t get me wrong it will always always hold that space in my heart, but I will never feel everything in the same way… That’s almost, totally emotionally scarring.
I am flecked with the scars from books that I have loved and finished.
And yet I relish that sting. I love to read. I love to discover new things. I love to get to know new (fictional) people. I love that sense of discovery… all from the comfort of my pj’s some hot chocolate and my warm bed.
My love for London-centric books started with Neverwhere by the incomparable Neil Gaiman . I have always kind of thought London was a little magical. And then London Below and the Marquis, and Door… They just confirmed my suspicions. Then there was The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon… A phenomenal book full of clairvoyance and betrayal. Magic and pain. Individuals from different worlds finding their way and finding each other instead.
So then, of course, I found myself bumping into Victoria Schwabs books.
There was Vicious which got me hooked and then there was A Darker Shade of Magic which blew me away.
Schwabs books are all glowing, yet dark, magical and poetic. Full of life and death, betrayal and heartache, love and laughter, fun and happiness.
Right up my street.
Exactly where I want to be.
I go into some books knowing my heart is going to break at some point. Each book tears a teensy bit of my heart, breaks a tiny bit that will heal, but scar.
And I knew after the first few pages that this was going to be one of those series. How could it not be, with Lila Bard thief, troublemaker and someday Captain. Kell, royal, but not really, wannabe adventurer, loyal and selfless, Holland pale, mysterious and utterly imperious to everything. Then there is Rhys. royal, rogue-ish and pure.
So with characters like this, I expected nothing less than heartache at the end. Even if it ended happily. It would still hurt.
A Darker Shade of Magic introduced me to the world of Magic and many London’s. It introduced me to thieves and magicians, weakness and the strength to fight for what is right, no matter the cost, it taught me to that sometimes you shouldn’t accept something you don’t understand… it could lead to trouble. Love though, love will always find a way to save you.
A Gathering of Shadows introduced me to love and loss and magic and jealousy. It introduced me to piracy and loyalty and secrets. It taught me there is always more than meets the eye, that emotions are messy and flawed. It showed me that love can find a way to break you or hurt you, make you do silly things, but in the end never really leave you. Not for long.
A Conjuring of Light introduced me to limits. It showed me that there are limits to working alone and being alone. It taught me that you need to trust people sometimes because you can’t fix it all yourself and that sometimes, just sometimes, you can make it worse. It taught me that sometimes atonement is the best kind of treatment, it taught me to own mistakes and to always learn from them, it taught me that love is never an excuse for evil and that love will always spur you on to do what is right. Eventually.
To summarise: I loved this series with all my heart. It was poetic and dramatic and beautiful and painful and I would not have it any other way.
Anoshe. Until we meet again, Shades of Magic.
10 OUT OF 5 FOR ACTION, LOVE & HEARTBREAK, MAGIC SYSTEMS AND MULTIPLE LONDON’S…