All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness


“It begins with absence and desire.
It begins with blood and fear.
It begins with a discovery of witches.”

Many of you may know of the new TV series, Discovery of Witches. Well like any other random show, I came upon this on an Instagram ad. Now I truly believe that everyone has a soft spot for any storyline that involves the supernatural. But how to not make that topic monotonous? 

Now imagine that vampires, witches, and daemons really do exist. The heroine of A Discovery of Witches(DiscoWitch?) is an American called Diana Bishop, over in Oxford to research alchemical manuscripts in the Bodleian library (romantic, I know). She calls up a book from the collection of Elias Ashmole; the illustrations are peculiar. Three pages are missing. Words shimmer across the page. Ashmole 782, Diana realizes, is a palimpsest, loaded with occult messages protected by magic spells; she touches it, and the book “lets out a small sigh”. Could this be because Diana herself is a witch, albeit trying to live in denial of her heritage? (Which is why, she says, she studies alchemy: “The search for a rational order in nature rather than a supernatural one mirrored my own efforts to stay away from what was hidden,” etc.) Moving away from my train of thought…. Diana is being watched. The library is crawling with readers who look human but are in fact vampires; the scrutiny of one in particular is bothersome. He’s “tall”, with “broad shoulders” and “eyes as black as night”. His name is Matthew Clairmont, he’s a biochemist and a neuroscientist, a Fellow of the Royal Society, and a Fellow of All Souls. His jerseys are grey cashmere, his shoes alone “cost more than the average academic’s entire wardrobe”. The mysterious book, Matthew thinks, contains a powerful secret, something to do with witches and vampires and junk DNA. Diana may have stumbled on the missing link between magic and Darwinian evolution; in which case, her life is in deadly danger…. Now that the synopsis is over….

This trilogy is like no other paranormal book I’ve ever read. The world is huge and the author not only takes us around the world but also tells us about its history through the Book of Life. The protagonist’s lack of knowledge allows the reader to learn everything about this mystical world gradually and I loved that facts about the world weren’t just dropped here and there randomly in an attempt to make the reader understand whats going on.And as always we have the cliche paranormal forbidden romance, but I enjoyed it all the same. I feel like at this point there is so much literature out in the world that no matter what you write it will end up being at least slightly cliche in reference to something else. I’m writing this review after reading all three books, don’t worry there are no spoilers, and can confidently say that every single character introduced throughout the trilogy plays off of the other characters amazingly and they each have a role of their own. Even the humans introduced in this books and later play a great role in the overall plot. I loved that even though it is a paranormal series the author ignore the human, and technological, aspect of the world and incorporated it in the perfect way. The timeline, the intricacy and details of the many characters that will be encountered will trigger a journey that you don’t want to end. 

For any of you haven’t read this book yet, vampires don’t sparkle, witches don’t boil babies, and daemons are not demons or the daemons from Phillip Pullman’s His dark Materials. If you’re planning on reading this book, I hope you have a great time.

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