All Souls Trilogy

Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches

Shadow of Night

The Book of Life

A Discovery of Witches: In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont.

Shadow of Night: takes Diana and Matthew on a trip through time to Elizabethan London, where they are plunged into a world of spies, magic, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the School of Night. As the search for Ashmole 782 deepens and Diana seeks out a witch to tutor her in magic, the net of Matthew’s past tightens around them, and they embark on a very different—and vastly more dangerous—journey.

The Book of Life: Historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

Review:

This series is a hard one for me to review. I loved the story Harkness gave us. The characters are wonderful and their interactions genuine and believable. My biggest issue is with the amount of information given to us most specifically in Shadow of Night and The Book of Life. In my opinion, these books could have taken out almost 30,000 words and been a much more enjoyable story. The information, while interesting, was not pivotal to understanding the plot or moving the story forward.

This series has been on my TBR pile for about a year. I'd tried to get into the trilogy for almost as long as I've had it. The writing style was not in my typical vein. It wasn't until I binge-watched A Discovery of Witches on Sundance Now that I found I truly enjoyed the characters. While the TV show is considerably different than the books (which ones stay true to their original format?), I found the condensed version of the TV show to be much more to my liking. That being said, I'm very interested to see how the TV show deals with the time traveling and interacting with the historical figures Harkness brought to life in the pages of the second and third books.

Like I said, this is a difficult review for me because it's very much a personal preference on writing style and delivery. I loved the overall story! The only issue I had with the books was the--in my opinion--slogging 'supportive' information.