Fall under the spell of Diana and Matthew once more in the stunning climax to their epic tale, following A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES and SHADOW OF NIGHT.
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.
After travelling through time in SHADOW OF NIGHT, the second book in Deborah Harkness's enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew's ancestral home in France they reunite with their families - with one heart-breaking exception. But the real threat to their future is yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on a terrifying urgency. Using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the palaces of Venice and beyond, Diana and Matthew will finally learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the third and final book in the All Souls Trilogy. I absolutely LOVED it!
I downloaded this as an audio book, as I wanted to read this book, but just didn't have time to. Listening to an audio book allowed me to do household chores or listen to a few chapters before bedtime. The story was again narrated by Jennifer Ikeda, who did another fantastic job. Her narration was clear, concise and pleasant to listen to. She gave each character their own voice and accent, and brought them to life.
Diana Bishop is a fantastic character. She is a very powerful witch, known as a weaver. I loved this character from the start. She is quite headstrong and determined. And is now a formidable witch.
Matthew Clairmont is another fantastic character. He is a geneticist, who also happens to be a vampire. He is an enigmatic person, but I really liked him.
This is a fantastic conclusion to the trilogy. The story starts where it finished at the end of book 2. Diana and Matthew have returned back from 1590, and their lives are still in danger from the Congregation in the present.
This story is slightly different in that there are more characters that are given a voice. It was interesting to see the world through their eyes, especially Gallowglas and Isabelle's. The story has several twists and turns which kept me hooked from beginning to end. I was a little disappointed that the origins of the manuscript known as Ashmole 782 was not delved into more thoroughly - as in who created it - by the author, but that was a minor niggle. Nevertheless, this manuscript holds a secret that is as shocking as it is mysterious.
There are a few surprising moments in this book that had me feeling rather emotional. I found myself on an emotional roller coaster more than once, and in tears during quite a few scenes. A face from the past makes a surprising return, and I was shocked by how emotional this made me. I hadn't expected to see this character again, and I had tears streaming down my face in happiness. My heart broke as I realised that this beloved character had become infected with blood rage; his life altered in many different ways. His struggle with the illness was painful to read/listen to, as I could picture these scenes quite clearly. What struck me most about this story was the complex relationships between certain characters. There are shocking family revelations that caught me unawares and left me reeling, especially the ones about Benjamin and his relationship to Matthew and Father Hubbard.
I was seriously disturbed by Benjamin and his experiments. They are rather gruesome and violent. He is one seriously bitter and twisted vampire - hinging on mad - that I wouldn't want to come face to face with. His depravity left me feeling a little ill. However, how much of it was nature and how much was nurture (or lack thereof) that made him that way, I don't know. I will say that he is one scary dude!
I was saddened when I came to the end of the book, because I really enjoyed this series and didn't want it to end. I had conflicting emotions whilst listening to this book/series; I couldn't stop listening to it, but dreaded coming to the end of the story. However, things must come to an end, and this series is no exception. Although the story ends with a relatively happy ending, I couldn't help but wonder if the author would visit this world again, but with Diana and Matthew's children as lead characters. I hope so, because I have grown to love these characters and will miss them greatly. If not, I could always go back to where it all began - with a Discovery of Witches.
Deborah Harkness has written a fantastic trilogy. She has created a world where humans, witches, daemons and vampires all live in an uneasy alliance. Deborah Harkness has become one of my favourite authors. I love her writing style, which is fast paced and exciting, and the story flowed beautifully! I am looking forward to reading more of her books in the future.
I highly recommend this book if you love your stories to be full of witches, daemons and vampires, or if you love paranormal romance or urban fantasy genres. - Lynn Worton
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