I've been told more than a few times that I would like the All Souls Trilogy. To everyone that told me so, you were correct. I recently finished the first installment of the trilogy, A Discovery of Witches and I really enjoyed it.
Read on to find out my thoughts on A Discovery of Witches.
Release Date: first published January 1st 2011
Format: Audio MP3
Pages: Hardcover: 579 pages | Audio Length: Approx 24 hours
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Historical Fantasy
Review Date: August 26, 2015
Rating: 4 bookmarks
Synopsis: Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.
Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.
I also wasn't sure how I felt about Matthew and that never-ending stereotype of being an overbearing and controlling old as dirt vampire. But same as with Diana, I started to become more open to Matthews character and by the end of the book I liked him. I wasn't sure exactly when that transformation happened, but it did. He's nowhere near the perfect guy as he's got tons of secrets that he has no problem keeping. But on the flip side, you can tell that he honestly doesn't have a personal agenda, he really cares for Diana. After a while, that controlling and old school mentality of protecting both Diana from bodily harm and her virtue as a lady became slightly less annoying.
Speaking of virtue - this story is really light on the romance. The physical romance anyway. Don't expect any hot sex scenes because there aren’t any. Don't get me wrong, it's clear that Diana and Matthew will be getting it on and it'll probably be fun to read. Maybe we’ll cross that road in book two, Shadow of Night. This is an adult read after all, so I was hoping for at least a little fooling around and we got that. They jumped from barely liking each other to a very serious relationship in under a few weeks. I needed some serious chemistry to buy into the whole insta-love thing between them, and I got that. The sexual tension was off the charts at times, and that helped me get onboard with the idea of the two of them together.
The secondary characters in this book are really fun and add another layer to things. Matthews vampire family, mixed with his daemon best friend, and a host of witches from Diana's family - they are a rag tag group and they are just great. Especially when they all come together under one household. It was fun to see all those different personalities and paranormal abilities mesh together. The only creatures missing were werewolves and fairies, sadly they don't exist in this world.
Now for the ending. I always love a great cliffhanger and Harkness delivered. I’m a little nervous to see what Diana will be dealing with in the next book. Not only will she and Matthew both have to deal with this war that’s unleashed, I get a distinct vibe that serious relationship troubles are on the horizon for the two of them.
I listened to this in audiobook format and I'm glad that I did. I think this is one of the longest audiobooks I've experienced to date, coming in at a hair over 24 hours long. I could listen to that book all day. I really enjoyed Jennifer Ikeda's performance. She’s wonderful at reading for all of the characters. I’ll be sure to listen to more audiobooks with her name attached.
I'm looking forward to the next installment to see what sort of trouble Diana and Matthew will face. I hope that as this story goes on, each book will get better and better. I recommend this book for fans of what I call "light" romance and fantasy. If you like historical fiction with your paranormal, this would also be a good option for you, especially going into the second part of this trilogy.
Have you read A Discovery of Witches? If so, please share what your thoughts are on the book. If you've read all three books, please tell me if you think that book two is even better (no spoilers please)!
Happy Reading & Listening,