The Book of Nothing

Book of LifeDeborah Harkness (All Souls #3) 1.5/5

This final part of the All Souls Trilogy is here on my “Read” list because I’ve decided to finish the series I’d started and because I like vampires. No other reason. The first book in the trilogy is so much fun. I really liked it. The second one was the most disappointing thing I’d read in a long while – How in the name of all that’s holy can an author write a book about VAMPIRES in ELIZABETHAN ENGLAND that I didn’t want to finish reading? How? It takes special kind of skill to achieve that.

This third novel is just like the second one. After Diana and Matthew return from the past, they need to sort out the issue with the Book they are looking for, they also need to take care of the twins they are having. Also, there are the old well-known enemies and a new one – Matthew’s son, Benjamin. There is also the problem of the political situation in the society of the creatures that of course Diana and Matthew want to change and make it more inclusive. Yeeeey for PC!

What we get, just like with the second book is a mish mash of randomness and nothingness concluded by a “let’s storm the Nazi camp” bang-bang-pew-pew scene interrupting politics. Literally! There’s nothing really happening in the first 55% of the book, they are constantly getting ready to do something. And then when they are forced to do something, they do that ONE thing and wait another 30% and at 85% shit hits the fan and voila! The End.

Also – detailed description of EVERY ROOM SHE ENTERS! Why, why do we need to know what the frescoes show? Why do we need to know that this chair is of a certain style while the table setting is of another?

And to top it all off: a weird and unnatural combination of 3rd person and 1st person narrative that just seems like the author really really wanted to show what the main character could have no way of knowing, but only a couple of times. And often not even crucial times. If she’d stuck to 3rd person, it would have been settled. But you know what was unsettled? Me when the first switch between narration styles happened. I thought I’d gone crazy. I had to go back and check the previous chapters to make sure I wasn’t going crazy.

And, goddess! is Diana an annoying stupid character. She’s a witch and a professor, a fellow at Oxford, teaching history of alchemy and stuff and she needs to be explained certain archetypal imagery. I studied comparative literature and even I knew that. And don’t get me started on the fact that she needed to be explained what it meant when her scientist friend said to one of his research assistants checking genes and coming up with impossible theories: “there’s no more room for zebras.” He had to explain the use of ZEBRA metaphor! Shoot me now, please.

Also a pet peeve: “the de Clairmont.” Just le NO.

Put together, this trilogy feels like she had a really really good idea, she started the first book, did a good job and then let her “fangirly” part take over with characters gallivanting across the 16th century and then when she dug a hole deep enough she could not get herself out of it, she gave up. Plot problems were patched with deus ex machinae (or witches ex machinae), characters switched sides for no apparent reason, and problems either disappeared or were just ignored. And of course, this author would not be a true contemporary author of fantasy if she hadn’t left a point from which more books could be added to the series. Yeeeey lucky us.

On another note, the second season of the series based on these books is just as mindnumbing as the second book, but it also has Matthew Goode and James Purefoy, who are fuckin hot. So yeah, I’ll watch the third season when it comes out, despite the fact that the plot I know will be in it sucks. But just look at them:

One Comment Add yours

  1. Gigi says:

    I love vampires too! But you are definitely more patient than I am. I’m not sure I wanna finish the series and endure another lengthy read that consists mainly of drinking tea and eating or Diana sleeping. Lol.

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