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review 2018-12-06 21:47
Audio/Book Review of Time's Convert by Deborah Harkness
Time's Convert - Deborah Harkness

From human to vampire ...

 

Marcus Whitmore was made a vampire in the eighteenth century. Over two hundred years later, he finds himself in love with Phoebe Taylor, a human who decides to become a vampire herself.

 

But her transformation will prove as challenging now as it was for Marcus when he first encountered Matthew de Clermont, his sire.

 

While Phoebe is secreted away, Marcus relives his own journey from the battlefields of the American Revolutionary War, through the treachery of the French Revolution to a bloody finale in New Orleans. His belief in liberty, equality and brotherhood challenged at every stage by the patriarchy of the de Clermonts.

 

What will he and Phoebe discover in one another when they are finally reunited at Les Revenants, beneath the watchful gaze of Matthew and his wife, Diana Bishop?

 

Review 5*

 

This story is the first book in an off-shoot of the All Souls Trilogy. I loved it!

 

I downloaded this book in both the Kindle and audiobook formats, as this gave me the option to either read or listen to it. Saskia Maarlveld narrates the audiobook. Her voice and pacing are excellent, and I enjoyed listening to her bring the characters to life. I would consider listening to other books read by her in the future.

 

This story is an addition to the All Souls world created by Deborah Harkness and follows the life, death, and rebirth of Marcus Whitmore on the eve of Phoebe's transformation into a vampire. The book, told through several points of view, mostly Marcus's, Diana's and Phoebe's, takes the reader on a journey of endings and new beginnings.

 

Several characters from the All Souls world make an appearance; Matthew, Diana, their twins, Phillipe and Rebecca, Isabeau, Marthe, Miriam, Phoebe, and Marcus (to name a few). I also enjoyed meeting Freya, one of Phillipe's daughters. She plays a crucial role in the tale as Phoebe's guide through her transformation from human to vampire.

 

While Phoebe adjusts to her new life as a vampire in today's world, Marcus takes us back in time to his life during the American Revolution and his transformation at the hands of Matthew into the vampire he is today. I became so absorbed in the tale that it felt like I walked alongside the characters, watching events unfold. Not being an American, I am fascinated by the history of that country and the people in it, as well as the country it is today. The author, being a historian, has brought the past to life for me and I am grateful to her for the peek into a bygone era. Marcus's life is not an easy one and contrasts with Phoebe's upbringing. However, these two characters have love on their side, and I enjoyed watching their relationship develop and deepen as the story unfolded.

 

I reached the end of the book with mixed emotions; sad that the book ended, but glad at how it ended. I am now looking forward to reading more books from the All Souls universe, as there are more than a few characters I would like to know more about next.

 

Deborah Harkness has written a fantastic tale in the All Souls universe. She has created a world where humans, witches, daemons and vampires all live in an uneasy alliance. 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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review 2018-10-24 07:34
Time's Convert (World of All Souls)
Time's Convert - Deborah Harkness

I am an unrepentant fan of A Discovery of Witches and the rest of the All Souls Trilogy, but this one didn't hit that same sweet spot for me, although in some ways it was better than I'd hoped for. 

 

Set in the same world as the All Souls books, with all the same characters, this book focuses on Matthew's vampire son, Marcus, and his soon-to-be-mate Phoebe, as she goes through the process of becoming a vampire.  This is the excuse/framework Harkness uses to delve into Marcus' story, one rich in American Revolution history and personal tragedy.

 

Told in 3 alternating points of view, Phoebe's present day (3rd person) narrative of her transformation was the part of the book I liked least.  It involved a lot of vampiric tropes that felt a bit tired, and there was a cat introduced that damn near ended the book.  The cat is not harmed, but I'm not at all satisfied with the role it plays in Phoebe's new life; it felt like Harkness was purposefully screwing with readers and the unwritten rule of 'don't harm pets'.  Either way, I just wasn't that invested in Phoebe - though I did like Freyja.

 

The second point of view was Marcus' flash-backs into his life before and after becoming a vampire.  This was, if not a more enjoyable tale, one that was a hell of a lot more interesting.  Rich in historical backdrops and characters, these sections were vivid and heartbreaking.  The occasional small gaps in story flow were almost invisible, overwhelmed by the rich storytelling.  It also helped that these were the parts that involved Gallowglass, my personal favorite character in the books.

 

The final point of view was, for me, the best, because it was told in first person present day by Diana and involved almost all the old characters I know and love from the trilogy.  Here are Diana, Matthew, Marcus, Sarah, Ysabeau and the rest, spending the summer in the south of France, listening to Marcus tell his tale while Phoebe is in Paris learning to be a vampire and not properly appreciating her pets.  Diana and Matthew's kids provide some scope for funny antics, and the overall relaxed plot of this book means it's easier for Harkness to indulge in scenes involving the kind of family dynamics everyone thinks are hilarious in other people's families.  I enjoyed the humor woven through these sections almost more than I did any other part of the book.  

 

The story is complete, but there are subtle hints that more books about the other characters may be forthcoming.  Baldwin seems the most obvious choice, though I'm holding out for Gallowglass to get his 15 minutes.  A girl can hope, anyway.

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review 2018-10-05 04:37
A Whirlwind Of Emotions
The Book of Life - Deborah Harkness

Its taken me far too long to finish this wonderful book but I finally completed this trilogy! I am so very happy that I did, because it was so worth it from start to finish. This book was a roller coaster for me filled with so much emotion, that it didn't seem quite possible for one book to hold. There were many laughs and so many more tears both happy and sad. My heart broke for so many characters in this world. Throughout this series I can't say enough about the author's ability to create such diverse, and powerful characters. So much so that they seem crazy real and that is truly awe inspiring. It's so refreshing to read about powerful women, who can still fall in love and get the job done. This journey of mine throughout each book has been long and thoroughly enjoyable. Its definitely one that I will revisit several times over, once I get the chance to work through some of my other books. It's been a wild and crazy ride and I can't wait until I can dive back in. But until then A++++!

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review 2018-09-15 22:05
A Discovery of Witches / Deborah Harkness
A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness

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.

 

I read this to fill the Spellbound square of my 2018 Halloween Bingo Card.

I know there is a fandom out there for this particular flavour of Paranormal Romance, but I am not among them. I guess that life experience shapes these tastes and mine have shaped me to reject being a fragile flower type of woman and to abhor bossy, controlling men. Diana is my nightmare as a main character, someone who thinks she is strong but in reality is always tired, hungry, injured, pale and otherwise needy. 

I also had issues with the vampires. They are a pretty namby-pamby kind of vamp--able to eat food, sometimes sleep, and exist happily by hunting deer. Essentially, they are humans with cold skin and long life expectancy. They spend an awful lot of time snarling and growling, but Matthew "purrs" rather a lot. I don't even have an idea of what that would sound like.

Then there's Matthew specifically, who's supposed to be over 1000 years old, but still acts like an adolescent. He's moody and angry for no apparent reason, full of secret sources of angst. And he's met everyone--Christopher Marlowe was his pal, Shakespeare signed a book for him, he corresponded with Charles Darwin. It's like all those folks who go for regression hypnosis and emerge thinking they are reincarnated Robert the Bruce or Cleopatra, never a pig farmer from Finland.

On top of all that, there's the relationship between Diana and Matthew. Once she decides he's the one, she keeps inviting him to bed and being astonished when he turns her down. Science says that she can't get pregnant because they are different species, but Matthew always has some lame excuse. There's some ancient covenant that forbids interspecies relationships or his mother wouldn't approve (!) or they've got all the time in the world, on and on. I don't know about other women, but if a man turned me down that often, I wouldn't be hanging around for further humiliation. Then, all of a sudden, Matthew kisses her and declares his love in front of his mother. Poof, they're married now. (That reminded me so much of a scene in Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels where Sookie is persuaded to take some object & present it to Eric Northman, and poof! They're married) Despite this official marriage, he still won't consummate the relationship. 

Can vampires suffer erectile dysfunction? 

It's 579 pages long and they still haven't done the deed.

(spoiler show)

 



This is like a cross between the Mayfair Witches of Rice, Outlander by Gabaldon, and Twilight. It reminds me strongly of the work of Christine Feehan and Kresley Cole, two authors that I now avoid. Fans of these franchises will no doubt enjoy this book more than I did. Govern yourselves accordingly.

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text 2018-09-13 21:33
TBR Thursday
Parable of the Sower - Octavia E. Butler
A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness
Slasher Girls & Monster Boys - Jay Kristoff,Carrie Ryan,McCormick Templeton,Stefan Bachmann,Cat Winters,April Genevieve Tucholke,A.G. Howard,Megan Shepherd,Leigh Bardugo,Kendare Blake,Marie Lu,Nova Ren Suma,Kami Garcia

 

How nice to have only 3 books (out of 10) with hard & fast due dates!  I've been waiting most of the year for Parable of the Sower--the library just recently added a second copy to their holdings, or I would probably be waiting until sometime next year!

 

A Discovery of Witches actually arrived way to early for Halloween Bingo, so I threw it back and it has now landed on my reading docket for the second time.  This time I intend to read it and enjoy it!

 

I've already made a start on Slasher Girls & Monster Boys.  It's a book of short fiction, so perfect for coffee breaks at work.  So far, two stories in, the tales are certainly dark, but not something that would freak me out to read after dark.  They're really good--if any one is reading this for Halloween Bingo, I think you (and I) have a treat ahead of us.

 

The weather has been dreary today--all grey skies and looming chances of precipitation.  When I got to work this morning, there were traces of snow around the edge of the parking lot.  It seems awfully early, but this is Canada and we know that winter is coming! 

 

Enjoy the Halloween reading, folks!

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