This book caused a tiny bit of excitement when I laid my hands on it, almost as if its suggested magical properties affected my decision to read it. The story is a mix of fantasy, history and advanced alchemy. The plots, (yes, there are about three, or maybe It’s one big plot) are so compelling however, it binds you immediately to the characters of the story. Book one, of the All Souls Trilogy,( part 2 is due this July) It is an odd compilation of supernatural strength and forbidden romance. You sort of hope the end leaves you wanting more, because the middle seems so good. It is addictive and I will say this… while the book has been referred to as sort of a Twilight meets Harry Potter, It is not.There are elements of both, certainly. But it does not even come close to HP. Personally though, I was most absorbed with the dabbling in genetics by a very old but handsome vampire. There is so much information about DNA that my head was spinning from trying to understand it all, however, it has a great deal to do with the story, so I didn’t mind it too much.
The important plot ( remember I said there might be three) revolves largely around Ashmole 782, an ancient manuscript bound by powers that cannot be broken, unless it is re-called by a powerful witch. The witch in question is Diana, spellbound and named after the Roman goddess of hunting, she is a historian, and visiting professor at Oxford( of course the setting at the Bodleian library was partly my attraction to the book) who loathes her power, is reluctant to use it, although she does use it, when she is unaware – I was a little confused here. It seems that she knows how to use it when she needs it but she is suppressing it. Certain aspects of her unharnessed powers are quite dangerous; she releases sparks from her fingers when she is angry, has the ability to create witch water with her tears and a tornado effect – when she wants to escape. Somehow her ability to recall Ashmole 782, causes a huge stir among the supernatural academic community and they begin hovering around the Bodleian – who would have thought so many wizards, daemons and vampires could sit around for that long in a library without regular humans noticing that something is amiss. Anyway, with all the attention Diana starts to receive, Matthew Claremont steps in, not quite the gallant knight in shining armor, more a subtle dusting of snowflakes and peace – you’ll see what I mean.
Plot two is somewhat interesting; Diana’s relationship with Matthew Claremont – the 1000+ vampire geneticist who loves yoga, labs and lovely cars, – intensifies. Their passion grows and It stirs Mathew’s protective instincts almost as quickly as it ruffles the feathers of witches, wizards and vampires alike. A witch and vampire cannot be in a relationship – that is the bottom line. Then, just as suddenly, their passion sort of dwindles into comfort, disappointingly, as much as the author tried to convince me that their passion was intense and the love they shared surpassed even supernatural power, I didn’t quite feel it. You really need to feel it in the story, It’s like Darcy and Elizabeth – even when they despised each other, there was passion. They didn’t need to do anything about it, it was always present.
Plot three thickens with tracing Diana’s DNA, investigating her parents death, dealing with the council’s (of wizards/witches and a whole host of vampires) extreme interest in Diana’s power, the maybe extinction of supernatural beings and a witch/vampire war. I suppose I should make it a plot four and five, but really, I didn’t see the point.
For a début novel of 800 pages, it had plenty of content to keep me interested. It was a little sappy and weighed heavy with detail which wasn’t quite necessary. I do think it is a good read and I am hoping book two will grow in leaps and bounds, I will let you know.