It’s very rare that a series starts off and continues to pick up steam the entire way through. In my previous experience, there is usually a middle-book slump. In the case of Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy the middle book of the trilogy, Shadow of NIght, was the stand out, followed closely by The Book of Life and in a distant third, the trilogy opener A Discovery of Witches.
This could be because the entire series takes place over about a year (give or take a few months because of time travel), but more than likely I think it has to do with the amount of action continuously increasing as the series moved forward. This wasn’t necessarily a good thing as I’ll talk about below, but that’s my conjecture. Continue reading →
As with The Warlock, I wish I had as much enthusiasm and glowing things to say about this book as I did the first time I read it. I picked up this copy way back in 2013 and it’s sat on my shelf since then. I’m glad I’ve re-read them so I can clear up the shelf space now. (I didn’t even technically read it this time as I checked out digital copies from the library to take to China to save space :-D)
It is still a great read and an amazing conclusion to the series, but it’s just not as full of impact or as powerful as I remember it being. This is because of the big reveals in The Warlock that I wrote about at the end and how that reveal is then discussed and explained (and even sort of thrown away) in this book. For me, it’s the reveal I talk about in the next paragraph that made the re-read so hard. It’s one of those things, similar to an unreliable narrator, that is just a major turn off for me when it comes to a book.
Now that we’re to the final two books in the series, I have something to refer back to. As I mentioned when I responded to The Alchemyst, I’ve previously responded to The Warlock and The Enchantress. The Warlock was Book 49! That’s almost 400 books ago in the life of this blog. WHOA.
All I have to say, upon re-reading my response, is wow what naivety! What youth! What excitement! I’m clearly a bit more jaded on this re-read and I did NOT re-read every book again before each book was released, but I do still agree with the fact that the books were a bit thin on subject matter even though they took place over only a matter of days. There’s things missing that I think would’ve been great to include and there are things included (multiple times in some cases) that I was not interested in.
Just a head’s up some of the things I talk about in this book may be from The Warlock, my quotes got merged and I’m still not sure what was in which book because I re-read them so fast.
One of the things you have to be careful of reading this series is that Scott doesn’t throw away names. Even the minor characters that he only mentions in passing are incredibly important and historical factual philosophers, warriors and politicians (or at least the immortals are). From ancient Chinese philosophers to British authors (I forgot to mention Shakespeare last post), Scott must’ve mined history for so many of the characters he uses/mentions.
In this book, Sophie and Josh’s life/world not only falls apart, but it is mercilessly ripped apart. Their eyes are opened to a number of things which begin the processes that end the series. These processes and the truths/lies they reveal are what had me hesitant about re-reading the series. They’re WONDERFUl the first time you read the series, but going back to the series it makes them a bit less so.
Again, there is no stopping in this series. This book is still within the same week as The Alchemyst and The Magician. We’ve gone across two continents and multiple eras, we’ve met gods and goddesses and historical figures long believed to be dead, and yet we’re still only just beginning to delve into the world Scott created. The whirlwind will continue through to book six.
In The Sorceress, Scott expands the folklore and mythology he is drawing on. He ties creatures from Greek and Rome to those of Egypt (hello Rick Riordan), but then brings in Irish, British and Mexican. In this book he introduces an ancient Sumerian character, Gilgamesh. And even later in the series he brings in Japanese, American and Native American immortals, monsters of legends and elders. He could easily have created dozens of books based on just the few individuals he introduces throughout the series.
Picking up immediately after the events of The Alchemyst, the second book in the series is just as action packed and full as the first!
The Magician again takes place over a period of days and this time moves us from San Francisco, California to Paris, France. The same cast of characters is here and this book introduces two of my favorites, Niccolò Machiavelli and Joan of Arc, and gives further insight into the strongest female character in the series, Perenelle Flamel.
As I re-read it, I was glad that some of my hesitancy about re-reading the series started to fade. I’m not sure if it’s because the story was becoming more and more intense, or that I was spending more time with some of my favorite characters, but I was glad my reservations at least took a bit of a back seat to the book. (It also could’ve been that I devoured this book.)
Give me a book about a another book (missing, newly discovered, controversial, etc) and I’m happy. The writing could even be mediocre (this one was better than mediocre) and I can still deal with it!
I’m pretty sure this only serves to further verify I am a bibliophile, which isn’t at ALL shocking. I requested and received a copy of this book from the publisher after previewing it on NetGalley and received no compensation in return for my honest opinion.
Overall, I enjoyed the novel. It was a quick and fascinating read. However, I had some issues (and this may be from the fact this was a digital ARC copy) with the books structure. The book is set up as three intertwining stories: the original story/timeline of Robert Green’s Pandosto (1592-1879) (Wikipedia link), the beginning of Peter and Amanda’s relationship (early-to-mid 1980s – 1993/4) and the current events of the story (1995).You can imagine how this would be a bit confusing, especially as I never read anything about a book before I jump into it!