*This review may contain spoilers*
As you may have been able to tell from my rapid reading of Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy, I’ve become fully invested in the world she has created for her readers. Since it’s clear we’ll all be waiting a while longer for the second series of the Sky TV adaptation, I sought her other novel, ‘Time’s Convert’ to satisfy my longing to stay in the world of the extraordinary, and beat these pandemic blues.
The only real competitor to Time’s Convert’s plot that I’ve read is Darren Shan’s Cirque du Freak series – and I’ve read a fair few vampire novels over the years! Even Stephanie Myer’s Breaking Dawn from the Twilight series doesn’t really come close. The main plot is what actually makes all the difference, if you’ve every wondered what it might be like to become a vampire then this could give you some insight.
Harkness writes again with the same descriptive easy manner as she does in her previous novels. It was so easy to slip into the world she creates, but to get to experience so much more of Marcus, his life and his journey, it was truly an escape from all the rubbish happening in the world.
I found the focus and effort put into the historical context brilliant. It didn’t feel forced, more so the blend between modern scenes and the flashbacks was done with care and the transitions were handled well. They didn’t become lost or muddled which I have experienced in the past.
However, I do feel that at times there was too much focus on Diana and her new family life. Whilst I love Diana, Matthew and their children, Time’s Convert is about Marcus and Phoebe, and despite Harkness being careful to ensure that Diana didn’t steal the limelight, sometimes I felt her presence and powers overshadowed Marcus’ story a bit.
In stark comparison, the modern scenes featuring Phoebe’s experience and journey to becoming a vampire with the help of Miriam and Freya were expertly crafted to celebrate the strength of women, female empowerment and motherly instincts. As you would expect there are hilarious teething problems which Phoebe encounters in her transition. I found these moments really helped to lighten the mood and give the reader relief, as at times the pace and mood can be very tense and fraught.
There is no problem in general with the pace of Time’s Convert. Harkness combines action and key plot points with a mix of concise and flowing depictions. I could linger in Marcus’ previous lives for an entire novel alone if Harkness had allowed; but perhaps she knew best as she cleverly crafts and weaves together a historical novel almost like a diary in style, with a modern tale.
Anyone who is a fan of the All Souls Trilogy should definitely carry on the journey with Time’s Convert, and I sincerely hope when A Discovery of Witches returns there is room for a spin off to tell Marcus and Phoebe’s story.