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November 16, 2018

Time's Convert by Deborah Harkness ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

How it begins
Time's Convert is a good as I expected it to be. I fell in love with the All Souls Trilogy back in 2012 when I read A Discovery of Witches. Since the conclusion of that series I've wanted more as have all the fans. There is now a television show (it airs in the US in 2019 and has already been renewed for seasons 2 and 3). But really I wanted more books and so I was excited about Time Convert's which is focused on Marcus and Phoebe, two characters from the All Souls Trilogy.

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September 2018; Viking; 978-0399564512
audio, ebook, print (448)
I thought the book would be completely about Marcus and Phoebe, maybe even told from Marcus's point of view. I figured there would be references to other characters to the series and a few would make an appearance. But this didn't really feel like a spin-off, but a continuation of the All Souls series. While it can be read as a stand-alone. I think it would be a richer reading experience having read the previous series.

The story is still told from Diana's point of view. Matthew and Diana aren't just casual observers, but active characters, as are their twin children. Pretty much everyone from the series is mentioned and most make an appearance.

All that being said, Time's Convert is very much about Marcus's past and Phoebe's transformation.

We already knew that Marcus became a vampire during the American Revolution, but his story starts at the beginning of the war. While he is waiting for Pheobe's first months as a vampire passes, Marcus relates his story to Diana, Matthew, and the other inhabitants of Les Revenants. So we bounce between the late 1700s and present day. Even in present day, we are bounced between Pheobe's first days and the problems Diana and Matthew are having with the twins. And just because I say bounced, it doesn't mean the story feels disjointed. Harkness does a great job of balancing the three storylines woven within this book.

I read this 400+ book in about 3 days. The story flows easily and I didn't want to put it down. I don't know how many times I thought "just one more chapter". I don't usually read American Revolution set fiction but I really enjoyed Marcus's story. And because it isn't Diana's area of expertise either, the reader gets some background information to set the period in a natural way.

I really liked Phoebe's chapters. It was a great way to explain some the vampire lore Harkness created/relied on for the series. We get a bit more information about Miriam and Freyja.

Some of the funniest moments though occur with Diana, Matthew, and the twins. Of course, kids always add levity to a situation. The twins are entering the terrible twos and their personalities as witch and vampire are becoming more apparent. I really did laugh out loud with this scene:

"Shit." The word popped out of my mouth before I could stop it.
"Wow. That was weird. I could see you, but I couldn't hear you. And I couldn't seem to speak," Marcus said, still processing his recent experience. "Everything started to fade. Then you took Philip out of my lap and it all went back to normal. Did I timewalk?"
"Not quite," I said.
"Shit," Becca repeated solemnly, patting her brother on the forehead. "Shiny."
I examine Philip's forehead. Was that a speck of chatoiement, a weaver's signature gleam, between his eyes?
"Oh, God. Wait until your father finds out."
"Finds out what?" Matthew was in the doorway, bright-eyed and relaxed from repairing the copper gutters over the kitchen door. He smiled at Becca, who was blowing him kisses. "Hello, my darling."
"I think Philip just worked - or wove - his first spell," I explained. "He tried  to smooth out Marcus's memories so they wouldn't bother him," 
"My memories?" Marcus frowned. "And what do you mean Philip wove a spell?" He can't even talk in complete sentences."
"Owie," Philip explained to Matthew with a tiny, shuddering sob. "All better."
Shock registered on Matthew's face.
"Shit," Becca said as she noticed her father's change of expression.  pp. 43-44

It was really fun to dive back into this world and learn about some of the minor characters as well as get updates on all our favorites from the series. I look forward to seeing Phoebe grow as a vampire (will she get to return to Sothesby, or will she remain the de Clermont's archivist?). I'm hoping that Harkness will also delve into the stories of some of the dead vampires that we hear about often. Are you reading this series? Whose story do you want to hear (besides Gallowglass because I think we all want that story)?

Buy Time's Convert at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour
Linked to Book Beginning at Rose City Books.

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  1. Not my usual genre, but the excerpt was fascinating. Thanks for sharing, and here's mine:

  2. The Discovery of Witches in om my TBR. I didn't realize it was part of a trilogy, however. My quotes are from HEY, KIDDO a graphic memoir.

  3. Great choice, I really like the sampler.

    Here's my Friday post, and I'm carrying on with the madness of posting mostly non-fiction all month, and actually really enjoying it!

  4. Good to know that reading the trilogy first helps. I will look for it.

  5. I started A Discovery of Witches years ago but I ended up putting it down and I haven't picked it up again but I really want to. And I've heard good things about the show!

  6. I'll have to check out the series. Thanks for sharing! :)

  7. My son always enjoys her books. I have never read them.

    Thanks for sharing and for stopping by my blog.

  8. I loved the first books and want to read this one too. I'm waiting until I finish more that are already sitting on TBR mountain though. Thanks for visiting my blog. Happy reading!

  9. I own the first book in this series, and I don't know why I haven't read it yet. Need to do that!!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  10. I've heard many good things about this author. I haven't read her yet, but it sounds good.