Friday 5 October 2018

Book Review - Time's Convert

  • Title And Author: Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness
  • Publisher: Headline
  • Physical, eBook or Audiobook: Physical
  • Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by publisher in exchange for an honest review
  • Length: 448 Pages or 15 Hours and 46 Minutes
Oh boy… this was a long read. 

Not page wise, just time wise. I started this on 28th August, according to my Goodreads. And I finished this on 1st October. So, around five weeks. That’s a long time for me, dear readers, as you well know. Plus, you know I have audiobook the trilogy this is a companion novel of - All Souls or A Discovery of Witches, to give the trilogy its unofficial title - earlier this year. But when I heard this was coming out and it was going to follow two of my favourite secondary characters, Marcus and Phoebe, I knew I had to have it. I had it preordered and everything. 

Then several things happened. First, my preorder of a signed copy got cancelled (Boo!) and then was asked by the lovely Caitlin at Headline if I wanted an advance reader copy. Hell yeah, I replied, and what I got was a beautiful hardback advance reader copy. And, as I was reading this, I managed to get a ticket to a Deborah Harkness event in Waterstones Tottenham Court Road branch on Friday 2nd November (and that sold out fast! I know three other bloggers and vloggers -  - are going as well so this should be fun!)

Marcus is a vampire made in the 18th century during the American Revolution. Over 200 years, he finds himself in love with Phoebe Taylor, a human who has decided to be become a vampire to be with Marcus. 

But her transformation will prove to be challenging. As she is secreted away to get over the first 100 days of being a vampire, Marcus is reliving the past, reliving his journey from the battlefields of American Revolution, the French Revolution and his bloody past, both human and vampires. 

But once they have come to terms with themselves, will they still want to be together? 

So… where do I begin with this…?

I am going to say this straight off the bat: I read this instead of audiobook it, unlike what I did with All Souls trilogy. And I couldn’t audiobook this till it came out and I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted to due to the fact the narrator has been changed (which makes sense as this is a companion novel and this doesn’t continue with the series - up to a point). This is why it took me so long to read. If I was audiobooking this, I would have hammered this out within a week or two. Plus, only most days, I could only spare ten or fifteen minutes to sit down and read it and this book isn’t one of those books you can do that to. This book - no, this series - is one that you have to sit down and invest time in. Because of that, my opinion might be a bit off base compared to other people. 

But… this is a real mix bag. There were things in here I really enjoyed reading and wanted more information over. And yet, there were other things in here that made me go “…really?” over. And because of this, I feel a little disappointed over it, because this was a book I was super excited over. I’m glad I’ve got it and read it, but comparing it to A Discovery of Witches, it’s not on the same par. 

Ok, let’s get it it out of the way. Things I didn’t warm to or things I think you guys aren’t going to warm to. This book is told in 3 ways: Marcus’s past, Phoebe’s transformation into being a vampire and Diana in the present, watching Marcus and trying to cope with Matthew and their family drama. Now, the Marcus’s chapters before he was turned into a vampire were a little slow for me. It took most of the first half of the book and I just wanted it to hurry up so we can see him being turned into a vampire. So, when that happened, there were times I felt like events were skimmed over or rushed. And these were the moments I wanted to read. A few of them were hinted at within the trilogy so I wanted to know more, but all we got was a page or a paragraph. Some of you guys are going to feel a tad short-changed. And, because of this, I wonder over a comment someone made on Goodreads, saying that a novella might have been a better way to show Marcus’s history and I agree with them up to a point.

Also, as someone pointed out and I am now wondering over, there is no element of danger. You never felt on edge of the characters as you got the sense that everything was going to be ok. You can put the book down and not rush back to it, just to check the characters are alright… 

But, here’s the thing: I really enjoyed both Diana’s and Phoebe’s chapters. I whizzed through them because I enjoyed them hugely. I found Phoebe being turned into then coming to cope with turning into a vampire fascinating. It’s not a simple thing as we all are led to believe. And as for Diana - I missed you. I enjoyed being back with her and Matthew and their whole family dramas. I think if we had less Marcus’s chapters and more Diana and Phoebe’s chapters, I think I would have enjoyed this a lot more. 

Again, this could be because I audiobook the original trilogy and read this. But it’s interesting to go into this world in a different format. Plus, this is a companion novel - yes, we catch up with Diana and Matthew, but it’s not essential reading if you you love the trilogy. You can finish Book of Life, not read Time’s Convert and you would be perfectly alright. Or, you can read the whole trilogy, jump straight into this and you would still be alright. 

This feels very middle of the road for me. This wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t great either. But I do think this is a nice extra for the fans. If Deborah Harkness writes another novel set in the All Souls world (Galloglass backstory? Ysabeau?), I do think she’ll need to tighten things up a little, plotwise. 

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