I've played the base game for several years and thought I'd try the Book of Steps variant. I was surprised how much easier it was than the base game. It seemed I always had a stack of discards to use-- and it was constantly growing. "Bad" things like throwing away my hand became a "good"t thing since it stocked the discards for spells. Is this the general consensus?
For me this is the expansion to go for and I barely play the game without it anymore. It does not feel much "easier" to me but also not at all "harder". It feels a little more complex because as you said even if you have to discard cards you know they will fuel your spells later.
Because of the spells it gives you more options and possibilities and especially later in the game it is much easier to defend against a nightmare that would otherwise wreck a perfect hand.