Four word review: Not what I expected
Makes Me Want to Read: The sequel (due in 2012) and more about the daughters of Eve
My Thoughts: This what not what I expected. First, I was expecting a meaty, stand alone novel. According to Deborah Harkness’s website, this is the first in the All Souls Trilogy. Part two will be published in 2012. Second, I was expected more of a magical mystery. Had I read the jacket copy, I would have learned this is the first of a trilogy. I remember picking it up in a bookstore, and reading the jacket copy, but I must not have read all of it. Live and learn.
As previously mentioned, I thought the book would be about this magical alchemical text, Ashmole 782 and this world of vampires and witches. Daemons exist too, but don’t play as central a role. Instead, the bulk of the story is devoted to the love story between Diana and vampire Matthew Clairmont. Call it Twilight fatigue, but I’m over that plot. Could we all agree it’s now trite, and move on? Or at least flip-flop the genders. Mortal male and vampire woman fall in love. That could be a little more interesting.
Anyway, the book is definitely the first in the trilogy. It’s all preamble, with most of the pages devoted to Diana and Matthew’s relationship. I supposed Harkness spent so much time so that we would be so invested in them and their love. Perhaps I was reading too much Bella Swan, but I was really becoming annoyed with Diana. She is supposed to be an educated, independent, intelligent, modern woman, who also happens to be descended from a very powerful line of witches. I think her aunt says it best. When Diana and Matthew go to her childhood home in upstate New York, Diana’s aunt comments that it’s hard to see Diana so entwined with Matthew. She is not the Diana they know. I suppose that’s my biggest criticism. Diana is supposed to be a scholar and a powerful witch and a modern independent woman, but as her relationship with Matthew develops, she turns into every other bland, needy lovesick woman in need of her man.
Matthew is an interesting male lead, and I like Diana’s witchy aunts, Matthew’s vampire family and friends and the daemons we eventually meet. Harkness has set up the second book well, hopefully our protagonists won’t be too separated from each other, and I am interested to see where this story goes. even if it means going through Diana. About 2/3 of the book is her first person narration while the remaining chapters are third person narration from either Matthew’s perspective, or Diana’s aunts. Harkness has introduced the players, the conflict, and some not-yet-revealed secrets. We’ll see if she can deliver the payoff of the subsequent books.