Full confession: I was pretty much forced into reading this series….but I’m so glad I did. I finished the trilogy in March (pre-blog), but I still come back to it frequently. I page through the books and read favorite parts, I think about the characters, I am slightly obsessed with the books in general.
I had seen the trilogy around, had thought it maybe looked interesting, but I refused to read it. I think I have a dim view of most fiction involving witches, mostly because I’ve read some really bad fiction involving witches. I love vampires, and have been alternately obsessed with The Vampire Chronicles, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, etc. (NEVER Twilight). However, I was afraid that the books would read like a paranormal romance novel. While I read romance every once in awhile, it’s really not my preferred genre, so I stayed away, despite ever growing pleas from an aunt to read it.
Fast forward to Christmas, and my aunt brought me a copy of the second book in the trilogy, Shadow in Night. She said I could start reading it there, but as noted in previous reviews, I have a freakish need to read things in the correct order, so I used some of my newly acquired Barnes & Noble gift card to purchase A Discovery of Witches, resolved to at least give it a try since she had resorted to giving me a copy of one of the books.
Reservations aside, I ended up starting A Discovery of Witches on a Saturday morning in February…and reading it for literally 4 hours straight. It took a bit to pick up, but the set up was worth it. There was enough romance where it still felt like a guilty pleasure, but the story was also interesting and the tie-in of genetics and Da Vinci Code-esque book hunting made it even better. The characters are well-developed, slowly giving you bits and pieces of them so you can empathize or attempt to understand, but still remaining mysterious enough that you can’t quite predict what they’ll do next. On Goodreads, I gave it a solid 3.5, noting that the book was enjoyable, though I didn’t necessarily prefer the writing style. I also mentioned the guilty pleasure feeling, and the fact that it might not be for everyone, but also how much I was looking forward to the subsequent entries in the series.
The second book Shadow of the Night follows directly from the events in A Discovery of Witches. I rated it higher, giving it a 4 out of 5. We learn a lot more about Diana and Matthew both, and their lives in an interesting location (trying so hard not to spoil!). I loved this book, for the characterization, the history, and the plot that feeds in to where we left off. Matthew, in particular, is given a lot more range to his character, and this is likely where he was definitively cemented as one of my book crushes (the infatuation began in A Discovery of Witches).
The last book in the trilogy, The Book of Life, wraps up the story nicely, but not without some twists, turns, heartaches, and suspense. Like Shadow of the Night, I rated it a 4 out of 5. This book brings everything full circle, provides answers we’ve desperately wanted since the first book, and still ends in a way that makes you want more. I loved how all of the strings and storylines opened in the first and second books came together and were eventually resolved. It was a series that made me sad to finish, and I still miss reading about the characters. However, if you feel the same yearning, you are in luck, because Deborah Harkness is currently writing a new series of sequels/prequels, and the first installment, The Serpent’s Mirror, is tentatively due out in 2017! I can’t wait!! There is also a TV series in the works, though it’s still fairly early in the development process.
Side Note: I can’t believe I didn’t think to include this on my Top 10 Tuesday list of books set outside the US earlier this week…it is set primarily in England and France…oh well.
Recommend: Yes! Especially for fans of paranormal, paranormal romance, libraries, witches, vampires, Oxford, or if you’re just looking for something fun to try (I laughed, I cried..)
Overall Rating: I give the series a solid 4.
Upcoming Read-a-Thons: See my previous post: Read-a-Thons & TBRs, Oh My! for information on 24 in 48 & Casual Read-a-thon, coming up this weekend & next week!
Have you read the All Souls Trilogy? Love it? Hate it? Let me know in the comments!
All images courtesy of Goodreads.com.