Author: Deborah Harkness
Published: 29th September 2011
Date Read: 19th November 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads
Fall under the spell of Diana and Matthew in the stunning first volume of the No.1 internationally bestsellling ALL SOULS trilogy.
A world of witches, daemons and vampires. A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future. Diana and Matthew – the forbidden love at the heart of it.
When historian Diana Bishop opens an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it’s an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she’s kept at bay for years; one of powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires. Sensing the significance of Diana’s discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire genticist. Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world of half-truths and old enmities, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they begin to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feelings for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels…
Reading the reviews for this book, I knew it was going to be one of those reads, it’s a bit of a marmite book, you either love it or hate it. In my case I liked it enough to finish and want to continue to read the next one in the series.When I finished the book that was it. I didnt have loads of questions consuming me, it was just ok? what am I going to read next?
Diana Bishop is the female protagonist, she has descended from a very distinguished line of witches, however Diana does not use her powers that she has inherited, not since her parent’s died. Diana, a scholar is studying at a the Oxfords Bodleain Library as a historian. Unknown to her, she calls a bewitched alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782. Finding nothing of interest to her apart from a funny feeling and an off putting text, she returns it to the stacks without a futher thought. Soon there are daemons, vampires and witches swarming around the library in search for this particular manuscript as it has been lost for 150 years and has all the answers from their past and to their future.
Deborah Harkness did a great job with the development of the two main characters Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont, and even the sub characters, you got to see all their traits and mannerisms.
Diana is the female protagonist she is very bold, outgoing, hardworking and sometimes just damn annoying. She is a witch that doesn’t want to use her powers but is forced to as she needs to protect herself, in the book she is feisty and then other times whiney and saying she can’t do certain things.
Matthew Clairmont is a Vampire that has existed for over a Thousand years, who is currently a geneticist and falls in love instantly with Diana, however, he is very possessive (a vampire trait….supposedly) has moodswings and just generally annoying at times.
The first half of this book is very slow paced and is more of the character building and the relationship developing between the two. The second half is much faster paced as you get more action and magical elements added to it.
There is insta-love but not in the normal way, they don’t show each other that they have feelings for one another for several days but it is a gradual build up, however the book only spans 40 days according to Harkness and I cant believe they are that involved with each other so quickly, I had to take a step back, realising that all this had happened in such a short space of time.
There is also references to a lot of historical figures and wars, so if you like a bit of history in your fiction then this could be for you. There is also no sex scenes in this book, only referencing to kissing, cuddling and a bit of fondling.
One thing that I didn’t like in this book was all the french that was used (I am not french or learnt any either) However, I think Harkness added this to feel more authentic as that was where Matthews mother Ysabeau lived.
I will definitely be reading the second book in the trilogy as I am intrigued to find out what happens next.
I rated this book a 3 out of 5 stars.