This week I finished reading the All Souls trilogy as a buddy read. I was really motivated to finish this series, since the new tv series was recently released. I enjoy being able to read books before seeing adaptations - it allows me to picture the characters before seeing the actors. Of course, adaptations always necessarily leave out details and sometimes change some of the story lines, so reading the books first ensures you don't miss out (and let's be real, I'm clearly #teambooks all the way!)
In A Discovery of Witches we meet our main characters - Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont. Both are professors who are spending the summer in Oxford, and as a witch and a vampire, their relationship is nothing short of complicated. As a historian, Diana ends up unearthing an ancient magical book, the origins of which are unknown. While the book is interesting, it doesn't mean much to Diana until other creatures start appearing, all trying to learn how she gained access to the ancient manuscript. It becomes immediately clear there is something unusual about this particular book - thought what, is not clear.
From there, the series kicks off and continues in Shadow of Night and wraps up in The Book of Life. I don't want to go into too many specific details about the next two books, as this would give away the plot. What I will share are aspects of the series I really enjoyed, as well as aspects that I didn't enjoy quite as much.
Highlights from this series:
✮ The magic. The magical aspects of this universe are really intriguing. There is a strong scientific foundation and aspect to how they explain the magic, which is unique - but it does not take away from the overall mystery and beauty of it.
✮ The history. I am a huge history buff (I did a minor in history in university). The historical details are really accurate - and the way the story is woven into different historical information is endlessly fascinating. It's one of my favourite things about this series!
✮ The characters. The sense of family and community that builds throughout the series is another major highlight. I love the relationships that develop and the interactions. Every time I think that I have all the details of what has happened between the characters, I learn something else, or a new dynamic gets introduced. Definitely keeps you guessing.
Misses from the series:
✮ Unresolved plot points. There is so much going on in this series. Understandably in some ways, it was impossible to have all mys questions answered. I am hoping that in future related books (like Time's Convert) expand on some of these questions and provide some of the answers I was hoping for.
✮ Some elements of the romance. Don't get me wrong- I really love the relationship that develops over time between Diana and Matthew. But some of Matthew's tendances to be protective go to far. The series does a good job of unpacking this, and I like how it is handled. Just a bit much to take in at times.
Overall, I would very much recommend giving this series a read. There are many aspects to enjoy, and I'm looking forward to continuing hearing about the characters in future spin off novels.
Until next time!