This is the first book in The All Souls trilogy following Dr. Diana Bishop, a highly respected Oxford researcher in history and science, who also happens to be the descendant of a famous Salem witch. Diana herself though has turned her back on magic, after being traumatized as a child by the murder of her powerful witch parents. Until she is able to find an enchanted manuscript in the Bodleian library and draws the attention of all kinds of supernatural creatures such as vampires, demons and other witches, and her magic starts to awaken again. One of the creatures following her especially draws Diana’s attention to himself too, the biochemist researching vampire Matthew Clairmont who wants to find a cure to stop vampires from getting weak and eventually exterminated.
I love strong female leads, historical and academic settings, and ever since Twilight I have a thing for vampires, so I was certain this book would be a perfect match for me. But sadly, it wasn’t as amazing as I thought it would be. I did love the world building and the descriptions of the Oxford surroundings and the historical aspects, the vivid writing and the wonderful secondary characters in Matthew’s family (sired as well as biological) and Diana’s aunt and her partner. But I had two major problems with this book.
The first problem was the length and pace. With more than 600 pages, this book was simply a bit too long, overloaded with details, and painfully slow at times. It also didn’t have that certain fantasy feels to it. It was more of a traditional romance with some (a lot…) extra history and science added plus some paranormal creatures and linear curses etc to spice it up. Even though there were a lot of action, the focus was on history rather than adventure.
The second problem was the main characters and their romance. The romance had an intense and fast start, but then it never really matured the way I’d wanted to. I never really felt the connection between them, or a connection myself to either of them. They were a bit one dimensional with Diana as the flawless good girl not wanting to use her powers and Matthew as the stronger and older guardian always protecting her. But at the end, it felt like the scale was shifting with Diana stepping up to become the witch she was meant to be, so I’m hopeful for developments in the next two books in this series!
And overall, even though this book wasn’t exactly what I expected, it was still a very enjoyable read with a wonderful world building, and I am definitely invested enough to continue this series.
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton A. Meredith Walters Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.G. Drews Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elizabeth Acevedo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray John Green Julianne Donaldson Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Williamson Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve River Braun Roan Parrish Roseanne A. Brown Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Saundra Mitchell Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophie Gonzales Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Teagan Hunter Tiffany D. Jackson T.J. Klune Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez