Series: All Souls Trilogy #3
Published by Penguin Audio, Viking on July 15, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy & Magic, Paranormal, Romance
Source: Obtained at BEA 2014, Owned Audible Book
After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, 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.
I love audio books. In the author’s notes on the audio version of Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, he talks about how the first stories we learn are read to us. I listen to audio books when I’m in the car, shopping, and playing Candy Crush.
In typical book blogger fashion, I already have a tbr shelf just for audio books. Reviewing them is a bit more difficult, because I don’t take notes and I don’t always know how to spell the characters names. So these reviews will be a little different from my book reviews.
The conclusion of Diana and Matthew’s story was bittersweet. I wanted happiness for them (so much!), but I’m sad to say goodbye to them. Thankfully, The Book of Life was long and full of danger and discovery for my favorite witch and vampire.
I am in awe, as always, of Deborah Harkness’s brain. I know that sounds strange, but have you ever read a book where you were just damn impressed by the author’s ability to work knowledge and plot and characters in such a way that you just have to take a moment to appreciate it? Diana and Matthew, and indeed all of the characters in the series, are brilliant and educated, and it’s SHOWN, not just told. Which, by the way, is a huge pet peeve of mine. I hate being told a character has a brilliant mind, I want proof, especially since most authors present “smart” characters who somehow manage to make truly breath-takingly stupid mistakes. With Harkness’s books the biggest problem is that I am nowhere near as smart and educated as most of the characters- not even the human ones. It’s a rare book that makes me yearn to learn. 😉
While I had a few problems in the last book with Matthew’s revert back to caveman attitudes, it seems being back in the present time, and having endured all they have together, the couple is truly on equal footing. In this last book, Diana really comes into her own- with her powers, her independence, and her position into her new family. The relationship between Matthew and Diana is, finally, fully balanced.
Just a little side note to this series- I first listened to the audiobook just because the cover was pretty and I had a credit. But then I fell in love. My very first trip to BEA, back in 2012, was hugely overwhelming and wonderful- and the very first author book signing I went to when I rushed through those front doors, was Deborah Harkness signing copies of A Discovery of Witches and meeting her was a truly magical experience. Last year, in 2014, I was lucky enough to get a signed copy of this final book at BEA once again. It felt like I had come full circle. But I still waited until the audiobook came out, because I wanted to end as I had begun.
And then there was my favorite part of the book- Gallowglass. He broke my heart a million times in this tale, and I will miss his Scottish burr so much. Oh, please, please, pretty please, can we get a spin off series for the sexy Gallowglass? The poor, unlucky in love McHottie deserves it. I await it with baited breath!
Jennifer Ikeda does another amazing job! I first listened to A Discovery of Witches on audiobook, and I still have such vivid memories of taking long walks just so I could listen to more of it. There are roughly a billion characters in this series, with a million accents. What impressed me most is that ALL of her characters voices were distinct. She has, in her narration tool belt, not just one or two, but countless versions of British accents and Celtic brogues and Amercian dialects. It really impresses the hell out of me. To be able to give so many characters their very own and unique voice is some Jim Dale magic. It’s like a super power. I cannot recommend these audiobooks enough.