The worlds brought to life by a book series can be epically amazing (LOTR), hard to forget (HP), or a bit hard to imagine (Twilight). The one thing they all have in common is the adventures and characters that live through a number of books. I have always been a LOTR and HP fan. Because I’m a fan of these two, I confess to falling into a continuous search for that feeling of discovering a new amazing and hard-to-forget series. So, this year I fell into two worlds that almost came close, each with its own unique charm.
1. The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness.
This series follows the story of Diana Bishop, who is a historian and a reluctant witch. She works to solve the mystery of Ashmole 782, falls in love with a very mysterious vampire named Mathew Clairmont, and learns how powerful one can be after accepting who one truly is.
A Discovery of Witches
A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.
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.
Shadow of Night
Picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night takes Diana and Matthew on a trip through time to Elizabethan London, where they are plunged into a world of spies, magic, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the School of Night.
As the search for Ashmole 782 deepens and Diana seeks out a witch to tutor her in magic, the net of Matthew’s past tightens around them, and they embark on a very different—and vastly more dangerous—journey.
The Book of Life
Bringing the magic and suspense of the All Souls Trilogy to a deeply satisfying conclusion, this highly anticipated finale went straight to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. In The Book of Life, Diana and Matthew time-travel back from Elizabethan London to make a dramatic return to the present—facing new crises and old enemies.
At Matthew’s ancestral home, Sept-Tours, they reunite with the beloved cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency.
I enjoyed reading these three books. The story is solid, and the adventures Diana goes through are quite entertaining. There is a lot of descriptive prose to get through, but once you get over the start, the flow is good. All three books are complete and available. If you prefer not to read, there is a TV Series called ‘A Discovery of Witches’ with 3 seasons.
2. The Shadow and Bone Trilogy
The Shadow and Bone Trilogy is the story of Alina Starkov, a soldier in the kingdom of Ravka who discovers she possesses magical abilities. Training with the Grisha, her country’s magical military elite, Alina falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes she is the only one with the power to defeat the forces threatening the kingdom–forces that will test old alliances and challenge the very limits of magic, one that will forge a leader from a frightened girl.
Shadow and Bone- Book 1
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near-impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.
Siege and Storm – Book 2
Darkness never dies.
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.
The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her—or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.
Ruin and Rising – Book 3
The capital has fallen.
The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.
Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.
Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.
Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.
The Grishaverse was interesting to get into and is a fun read. I have various complaints about the darkling and Alina. Lots of complaints, however, if you can get over these two or don’t mind them at all, the grishaverse is very fun to explore. Once again, if reading is not your thing and you prefer watching, check out Netflix’s Shadow and Bone series. It only has one season at the moment, but rumor has it another season is on the way.
With this list of six books, my Goodreads 2022 Reading Challenge ends at 53 books. To be honest, a few of the books I read on the list did not give me the review-it-now vibes, it happens. However, I’m excited to have gotten through the challenge and to get through all these books. It was nice having this one constant easy goal to get done through the year. The fun part comes with finding books to put on the list, hahaha. I had a few that I really could not finish and had to replace with others. It turns out I am a huge series fan. I’m quite sure 2023 will have quite a few of these series books too. Here’s looking forward to 2023.