I have a weird relationship with Deborah Harkness’s books. I liked her All Souls trilogy, but I also recognize that it has some significant problems (that I won’t get into here). I had assumed those feelings would carry over to this book, a sequel to the trilogy, essentially. It’s billed as being about Marcus and Phoebe’s relationship, but it’s actually just an extended epilogue and very little happens that is of consequence. It’s also very weird.
The book is split in three parts. First is Phoebe’s journey to become a vampire. This is where the vast majority of weirdness is concentrated. I can’t say I was uninterested in these sections. She really just let her imagination go and doesn’t seem to have cared how any of it comes across. YMMV of course, but I thought some of it was absolutely bizarre. Entertaining, but bizarre. The second part is following Diana and Matthew and that whole clan, and this is the part of the book that is the most indulgent. I did find everything with her twins interesting, but really, this section just felt like the author was in love with her characters and wanted more time with them, and if you’re not in love with them, too, you might not find what happens here as interesting as the author wants you to.
The part of the book that really sealed this two-star rating for me was the extended flashback sequences into Marcus’s past before he became a vampire, which eventually becomes the story of how he met Matthew and became a vampire. It did become more interesting when that finally happened (and weird) but for some reason I found everything before that extremely uninteresting. I probably should have just skipped those sections (I was doing the book on audio).
The book isn’t terrible, really, I just think that anyone who isn’t already a fan will not have a great time.