#FridayReads 2022-03-25 ‘The Book Of Life’ and ‘Scouse Gothic 2’

This week, I’m continuing with two Urban Fantasy series that I’ve set aside for too long. One is a best-seller, the other is a niche interest but one that appeals to me.

Both books use vampires as a way of re-envisioning the world. The best seller is steeped in history and heavily tilted towards a romantic view of life, love and loyalty of the kind that only the rich, privileged and powerful could fully reconcile themselves with. The other is grounded in the culture of modern-day Liverpool and a recognition that living forever may allow you to live alongside the world but it makes it almost impossible to be a participant in it. It searches not to change the world but simply to learn to move beyond endurance into some form of contentment.

One book is a tome that will take me nearly twenty-four hours to listen to. The other is a novella that seems more like the second section in a three-part novel.

I’m hoping both of them will keep me company as I sit in the new sun of the Spring and teach myself to enjoy being still.

‘The Book Of Life‘ by Deborah Harkness (2014)

I’m finally reading the last book in the ‘All Souls Trilogy’. This is one of those series that it’s taken me forever to read. I read ‘A Discovery Of Witches’ back in 2014, found it quite entertaining if a little too formulaically romantic at times. Still, I immediately bought the second book, ‘Shadow Of Night’ and then let it languish unread until 2020. Even then, I only got to it because I wanted to read it before I watched the second season of the TV series. As a book, It was entertaining but almost completely lacking in tension. As a TV series, it was much more compelling.

Now, the long-delayed third season of the TV series will soon be on its way to me, so I decided to read ‘The Book Of Life’ before it arrives. Like its predecessors, it’s a long book. I’m hoping it revives some of the tension of the first book and that Deborah Harkness finds her way to a satisfying finale.

‘Scouse Gothic 2’ by Ian McKinney (2016)

When I read ‘Scouse Gothic’ back in 2018, it resonated with me for two reasons: firstly, it was set in contemporary Liverpool, a city that, like Ian McKinney, I had left behind decades earlier and returned to find it filled with the familiar and the new sitting side by side; secondly, the way in which vampires are depicted is a gritty and realistic as the depiction of the city itself.

My only dissatisfaction with the book was that it felt like the first episode in a series rather than a full novel. I wish now, that I’d read the other two books on the heals of the first but I didn’t and so I’ve reached a point where I either get back to the series or let it go entirely.

I’ve decided to dive back in to try to revive my memory of the first book. If the second book works, I’ve promised myself that the second book will be in my reading queue for April.

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