Genre: Adult Fantasy
The third and final installment in the Shades of Magic trilogy contains magical battles and adventures of arcane proportions! The cover art is interesting as comparing to the first two books. It is evident that A Darker Shade of Magic shows Kell as he travels between London’s evident from the London map coloration as well as Kell’s red hair. The cover of A Gathering of Shadows very evidently portrays Lila as evidences through the hairstyle, outfit, and figure, with emphasis on the pirate hat and twin daggers that become her trademark. This cover could be one of two characters, although it can be speculated. There is quite obviously one ruler of Red London in the end of the story, whose description is close to what is depicted. But there is another character that would make the pattern of characters across the covers make sense (SPOILER-that all three covers feature one of the last Antari). Anyway, interesting stuff when doing cover analysis and looking at how the covers might give away more than they should, although the three covers together are elegant and aesthetically pleasing.
Between the various universes and their London’s, Red London finds itself under the dark spell of Osaron. Osaron, through the vessel of Holland, has come to take over Red London through old magic, the same kind that once destroyed Black London.
Now Rhy must learn to part with Kell in order to save their home country, Arnes. Lila aims to control her magic before it consumes her, and Alucard has lost one crew, but must find another to do the impossible.
When it is evident that Osaron is pretty much invulnerable, the people of the kingdom (mainly our heroes) must think of some way to defeat him. When their first trick against the creature born of Black Magic fails, all hope feels lost, but the rumor of a special item that can hold the magic within it comes forth, and Kell, Alucard, and Lila aim to find this lost relic over the sea.
In the meantime, the guests from other countries are still at the palace, since events have unfurled just after the Essen Tasch. Lives are on the line when one country aims to betray Arnes, but another fights alongside (it is interesting which countries hold which loyalties and their motives for breaking a truce).
With excellent characters returning for their third and final adventure, this book was brilliantly written and presented. The only reason I do not give this book a 5/5 is that it felt a bit slower than A Gathering of Shadows. The excitement of the Essen Tasch, Kell’s hidden identity, and Lila’s coming into magic, as well as the anticipation for their reunion, was heart-pounding and exciting. The third book is still riveting, but felt a bit dragged out in the quest to defeat the villain. On the other hand, a lot of interesting characteristics are drawn from the characters that the reader did not previously know, and making the villain so unstoppable was interesting in that not only did the characters had to figure out how to beat Osaron, but the reader was left wondering just how they would win (if they would win) with so much impossibility.
I loved this series and am glad that I chanced upon V.E. Schawb’s book signing for the release of this novel, because this is a fantasy series that really takes the genre in a fantastic direction.
On another note, there is going to be a Shades of Magic prequel comic series by Titan comics (which means they might sell out quick and end up being hard to find-that is my experience with Titan comics).