A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

Picking up where A Gathering of Shadows left off, Lila Bard takes off after Kell who was lured to White London by Holland whose body is now controlled by Osaron, the shadow king.  Kell is imprisoned and losing strength and power, causing Prince Rhy to struggle for his life back in Red London, effectively cutting short Alucard Emery’s celebration after winning the magicians’ tournament.  Meanwhile, Osaron uses Holland’s body to infiltrate Red London and begin spreading his formidable, possibly unbeatable, dark magic.

Schwab keeps the pages turning with action, adventure, schemes and magic, as Kell and company desperately seek a way to defeat Osaron.  Secondary characters receive the most development which may be a disappointment to some readers but the relationships between main characters also have satisfying storylines.  Unfortunately, Osaron becomes almost cartoonish in his desire to make everyone kneel to his power without ever conveying exactly what he hopes to accomplish. “Oh, he would do such wondrous things.” Okay… but what?  What would ever satisfy this abhorrent creature’s desire for power?

Some of the world-building is convenient for the story to progress but it’s also fun for characters other than Lila to learn about the potential – and limits – of the kind of magic that has not been necessary for a long time.  If this is the finale of the trilogy, the author leaves a few dangling strands.  But if it’s not the end…

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