Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research.
Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks.
But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.
~Synopsis from goodreads
This was a book that I’ve long been wanting to read. Similar to the magical alchemical manuscript that is called by Diana, every time I saw this book in the library, I felt compelled to pick it up.
However, I didn’t know much about the book, and these days, I am all about reading up on a book before I pick it up.
So, I looked up goodreads and saw all the 1-star reviews.
Twilight for adults
said one reviewer.
I still might have attempted this book if it was standalone. But it is the first of the All Souls trilogy, and each book in this series is almost 1000 pages long.
So, I put this book out of my mind, and picked up something else. But I just could not ignore that inner voice asking me to give this book a chance, so one day, that’s exactly what I did.
And you know what? The book wasn’t that bad. Sure, I understand where the Twilight for adults comments come from, and sure Diana and Mathew have to be the most irritating lovers on this planet, but still I ended up liking this book.
- The crux of the story is very intriguing. The whole idea of a magical manuscript that remains hidden for centuries, and which contains some mystical secret that could be about alchemy, the origins of life, or something else altogether is totally fascinating.
- The scholastic atmosphere of most of the book is extremely inviting for someone like me who always wanted to be a deep-thinking scholar researching some metaphysical stuff, but is unfortunately scrolling through a Twitter feed at work instead. Nah, Twitter is old hat now for me 🙂
- Also, the characteristics of daemons, witches, and vampires, and their history and legends was brought out very well.
So, yeah, I liked the concept of the book, the setting, and the world-building very much.
That said, this book has some incredibly low points too.
Like yeah, all those incredibly repetitive bits with the yoga sessions, the tea drinking, the wine tasting, the cheesy romance between Mathew and Diana (totally eye-rolling at all those frequent ma lionne and mon couer utterances by Mathew). I also totally eye-rolled at her frequent naps, and her even more frequent knee-buckling episodes where Mathew had to carry her to her room for rest. I swear it feels like Diana slept through almost half the book.
Another low point is that the story was not really standalone enough, and I do feel that for the number of hours I invested in the book, I didn’t get anything beyond some world-building, and a set up for the next part of the book, and that is a little disappointing. I do like the ending though, and I had high hopes for the other two books in the series, but I see on goodreads that the reviews for those are even more scathing.
So, I am just not sure what to do. Should I continue, or should I give up? It’s a bit of a dilemma, because I didn’t really hate on this book like so many others did, but I can’t say I loved it thaaat much to spend another two weeks (or more) reading the sequels.
Have you read this series? What do you think about these books?
You can also purchase this book from Amazon