(That’s a lie. Nothing is fine. Least of all, my feelings.)
This review covers Parts 10 through 12, and will contain major spoilers.
HOW COULD YOU.
Wait, let me start over.
If there’s one phrase that describes my state of mind prior to reading this section of A Conjuring of Light, it’s probably “false sense of security”. I got so very wrapped up in all the intricacy of character relationships and development that I started thinking “nothing has gone TOO horribly wrong yet, maybe it’ll be OK!”. We were close enough to the end that I started thinking everyone would come out relatively unscathed, or at least alive.
I forgot that around this stage of such a book as this is generally when PEOPLE YOU LOVE START DYING. Schwab took my minor-character darlings and FUCKING MURDERISED THEM AND I WAS NOT READY.
Lenos. Hastra. Emira. *Bows head*
Mostly Hastra, if I’m being somewhat brutally honest, because HE WAS SO SWEET AND ADORABLE AND HE GREW FLOWERS WITH MAGIC AND HE JUST WANTED TO BE A PRIEST AND BE CHILLED OUT AND WHY DID THIS HAVE TO HAPPEN.
*Deep, calming breath*
That is actually a legit question now that I’ve had some time to calm down and really think over these events. Hastra ended up with Kell and company not because he left the city with them, but because he followed them on their quest, on his own. For reasons? Reasons I’m struggling to recall right now but I’m sure there was A Logical Reason Why. One that had absolutely nothing to do with him literally being put in a position to die heroically in the act of saving someone else. Because we’re now three quarters of the way through the book and somebody had to, I guess?
I know I’ve said before that this book is a trope-fest, and that I generally don’t mind that because it’s nonetheless really fucking good, and this is still true! But I wish Hastra had been allowed to live. Damn it.
Anyway! So the shit’s hitting the fan, and now is when all the backstabbers are coming out of the woodwork, because what better time for such reveals than when everything’s already about to blow up around our heroes, right? The Veskans back at the palace try to assassinate the king and queen, and now Rhy is motherless and grieving and unable to help anybody and FUCK YOU CORA so of course now he has to watch his father go strutting out to take on Osaron BECAUSE THAT WILL END WELL.
… Won’t it? Please have a positive twist in store here, sweet book. Please?
Also, I still don’t understand what the hell is up with the spell Maxim was working on that left him so tired he’s dying? What?
But I’m glad the Faroans seem to be better folk than I was afraid they’d be. Someone’s setting them up for the attempted coup! Grrrr. DO SOMETHING NOBLE AND FIGHTY AND AWE-INSPIRING, SOL-IN-AR.
Meanwhile, on the Ferase Stras!
LILA AND HOLLAND. Lila and Holland, FINALLY HAVING A MOMENT OF EMPATHIC CLARITY. Well, on Lila’s part, anyway. The whole thing with the Antari binding rings was super interesting to me, particularly because of the position it puts Lila “I don’t need people or help or self-control” Bard in, in regards to all of those things she doesn’t need. Behold:
A shadow crossed her vision as Holland stepped toward her. She didn’t look up, didn’t want to see his expression, filled with disdain, or worse, whatever was now visible through the crack she’d made.
“It’s not easy, is it? To chain yourself to someone else?”
Lila met Holland’s gaze, expecting – maybe even hoping – to find that cold, implacable calm, perhaps tinged with disgust. Instead, she found shades of sadness, loss. And somehow, strength. The strength to go on. To try again. To trust.
She put on the ring.
SHE FOUND HER EMPATHY AT LAST. God, I hope this changes things. It would be awesome to see these two reach some sort of understanding of each other, but for the moment I’m honestly quite happy that Lila’s finally getting over herself enough to see that nothing about Holland is as simple as she thought it was. That maybe her treatment of him wasn’t entirely fair. It was also really interesting to see her needling finally provoke a reaction from him – is Holland maybe letting enough of his guard down to let some of those feelings he holds onto so tightly show themselves? Given that this is what starts to open Lila’s eyes to the harshness of her own behaviour toward him, I hope so.
Though I won’t lie – the thought of Holland losing any of his control, in any way and for any reason, especially now, makes me a little bit nervous. OK, maybe more than a little…
I need the finale NOW. I am so not ready for it. But I need it.