Book Reviews

The Fragile Threads of Power by VE Schwab

The Fragile Threads of Power was probably my most-anticipated read of 2023. Once I learned that VE Schwab was continuing the story from her Shades of Magic series, I knew I needed to get my hands on it. I had such high expectations for the book.

The Story

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, and set in the world of A Darker Shade of Magic, V. E. Schwab opens a new door into perilous adventure and tangled schemes with The Fragile Threads of Power.

Once, there were four worlds, nestled like pages in a book, each pulsing with fantastical power, and connected by a single city: London. Until the magic grew too fast, and forced the worlds to seal the doors between them in a desperate gamble to protect their own. The few magicians who could still open the doors grew more rare as time passed and now, only three Antari are known in recent memory―Kell Maresh of Red London, Delilah Bard of Grey London, and Holland Vosijk, of White London.

But barely a glimpse of them have been seen in the last seven years―and a new Antari named Kosika has appeared in White London, taking the throne in Holland’s absence. The young queen is willing to feed her city with blood, including her own―but her growing religious fervor has the potential to drown them instead.

And back in Red London, King Rhy Maresh is threatened by a rising rebellion, one determined to correct the balance of power by razing the throne entirely.

Amidst this tapestry of old friends and new enemies, a girl with an unusual magical ability comes into possession of a device that could change the fate of all four worlds.

Her name is Tes, and she’s the only one who can bring them together―or unravel it all.

No wonder she had made it here, he thought. Delilah Bard was a force of nature. The world hadn’t simply opened for her. It had been cleaved, parted like skin beneath her knife.

The Fragile Threads of Power, Page 104

My Thoughts

I wish I had gone into The Fragile Threads of Power with lower expectations (story of my life, right?). The book was good, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t live up to my expectations. If I went into the book just as a book, I think I would have enjoyed it so much more.

My biggest issue was that The Fragile Threads of Power felt like it was exposition to the rest of the series rather than it’s own book. I understand book series having a running plot between them or some large point of conflict, but I also think that each and every book in a series has its own sub-plot that resolves itself. I felt that was missing from this book. Yes, there was conflict and a climax of the book, but it was dropped in there maybe 80% through.

The first 50-60% of the book was spent explaining what happened between A Conjuring of Light and this new book. There were a couple of new characters introduced as well. But…if you wanted to write about what happened between the books, then write that book. However, there also wasn’t enough content without those backstories.

All of that being said, VE Schwab continued the story beautifully. The world building was just as majestic, and even more expansive in this book. I also really appreciated the continuation and deepening of the relationships from the initial series. Things were very progressive and just dynamics that I don’t personally read terribly often. It was nice!

I mean, there is absolutely no way I will miss out on the future books in this series because I am committed to the story. I just wanted more from the book itself. If you can go into this as just a new book, and not necessarily the continuation of the series, I think you’ll get a lot more enjoyment out of The Fragile Threads of Power.

“Sometimes change is easier to stomach. Have you ever had a beautiful meal? You try to repeat it, you make the dish the same way over and over and it is never as good. Better to try something new.” She smiled, and shook her head. “Apologies, I must be hungry.”

The Fragile Threads of Power, Page 463

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