How can I put this properly? This is a three part download and I was able to get through the entire first part, and a good hour of the second part. so a good 8+ hours in or so. Let this serve as background.
I love reading books and listening to them, but I also don't have a problem putting one down when it just ends up being dull, and that what this book is. I don't know if it is a difference in perspective, or I wasn't the target audience for this series, but audible kept recommending it to me so I went ahead and go it.
First the good points.
* The narrator is wonderful, she has good voice and breathes live into theses characters.
* The story is interesting, old magics hiding the secrets of why monsters exist? That is what kept me in for as long as it did, I really generally wanted to know where it was heading.
* The characters are interesting, and I like the little side characters sprinkled throughout and it feels like there is a depth to this world.
* Speaking of characters I like how there are limitations in the races of the book.
* Alchemy, what can I say, it is neat, I really like how the main character is trying to write a paper on how alchemists were trying to solve/understand issues brought to light by modern science. It is interesting, I wish there was more. (The screaming scientist in me can cram it, I know its a fantasy book)
And the bad points.
* The romance subplot/main plot? I don't know how to explain this properly, but about half way in the first part the romance plot takes over entirely, but good lord is it SLOW, and to make it worse (in my mind) they are almost back to back, she meets him while rowing and has a long "don't stalk me" talk, then shortly there after he starts hitting on her as soon as she gets back from the row. And not too long after that she is cooking him dinner.
* While the detail put into the background scenery are nice, and they are well read, I really wish I could just go in and say "OK he has a nice old house from the 1600's do I really need to know every little bit of this house?" The answer is no, just give me the highlights of the house and let me imagination it my own way.
* This one is a pet peeve of mine but damn it, when you put in a vampire, make it a VAMPIRE! What the crap is the main character? They 'say' he feeds off of blood like a vampire but apparently he is just fine 'eating' I don't know emotions or something. I don't understand it. The vampire has no teeth, no weakness to the light, there is nothing about this vampire that tracks with the vampire mythology. If you are not going to rely on the vampire mythology why call them vampires at all?
> To note, when I got this book I did not get the second paragraph liking it to Twilight. That being said clearly the only reason why he is called a vampire is because it is popular, If this was written before twilight I am sure it would of been called something else
* The demons in this book are also painfully dull, all they are are basically either mad men or super geniuses. Why call them demons? This is back at the mythology complaint, if nothing else at least give examples of the mad ones, all we get are the calm ones who are no different than humans as far as I can tell.
I am running out of steam now and I can't think of other things to mention. In the end I guess all I can say is that it it would of been a lot more interesting if the story focused more on "Ashmole 782" and less on the tedious hot/cold love plot. For some reason it feels like the author just shoe horned it in and it would of been fine if it didn't start taking up the entire story.
Anyway I am returning this book, I just can't finish it. I really wish there is an abridged or alternate version where the love plot is greatly reduced and the alchemy story has more time to breathe.
The narrator is wonderful. It's like I was right there with Diana.
There isn't a complete book I could compare it too. It's the book I recommend to friends that like twilight & Sookie but tell them it is so much better.
Well I listened to this last year from library cd's. Bought this from audible 2 weeks before release of Shadow of Night as a refresher. I got an e-version also. Listening to Jennifer preform this makes it more real. It's like watching a movie. I can view whats happening more clearly. When I had to actually read it (to finish before Shadow came out) at work it wasn't as easy to submerse myself in the story. She really brought all the characters to life for me.
Everyone should read this book and Shadow of Night. :0)
Another reviewer stated that it was "Twilight" for adults. I have to say it's not even that good. If you're in for 24 hours of dragging romance laced with very long tedious descriptions of scientific discovery or furnishings then by all means go for it...otherwise you might pick a different series. I did give the reader a good review because she did a fine job reading the story..I just didn't like the story.
Pleasantly surprised with a book so well written by a first comer and the performance was fabulous by Jennifer Ikeda!
Jennifer Ikeda has a beautiful, soothing voice.
Jennifer gave each character life with her accents and inflections.
Perhaps. I had no problem with the narrator.
I'm honestly not sure. I liked the overall story, but got bored at times while I listened because the author drew it out more than necessary. I got bored listening to the minutia of details, and I thought many times while listening "the author could have gotten to the point long before now." It IS a good story, and I hope that the sequel to this book is better written.
If a screenwriter could clean it up and get rid of the excess, then yes.
This is a multifaceted tale, with some elements more intriguing than others. Depending on the vein of the story you are interested in, you may find it wonderful or you may find it lacking.
The female lead is a rational scholar, descended from the first Bishop woman to die in the Salem witch trials. She avoids magic, as it is almost unaccessible. She studies and teaches at Oxford and is a mature adult.
She finds herself in an interesting predicament. She studies an alchemical text, that which describes "chemical transformations in a rational and systematic way, before the periodic table." The imagery and history behind her work is rather fascinating. However, she loses access to this text and all eyes turn to her.
You've certainly read about the romance in the other reviews. I will grant you that, but there is a larger context to their connection that is not even fully revealed in the first book of the trilogy. There is also much European and American history, philosophy, and the melding of art and science. This I particularly enjoyed.
Another stream the book follows is witchcraft. For women or men of older traditions, I believe you will find this pleasing. More modern urban fantasy fans will be bored. I personally loved the sentient house.
The book is well-written, unlike some more modern urban fantasy or sci-fi books and the narration is quite good. The female narrator does a wonderful job with male voices. The pace can be a bit slow, but that is relative to other books to which you are listening.
The story unfolds, along its multiple dimensions, creatures and their habits and disputes, appropriate behavior to fit in with the surroundings, sought after knowledge, in a slow pace. If this is your thing you will like the book. I sort of liken it to the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.
The overall tale is a story to be told, or heard rather, if I have shed any light on the conflicting reviews. I personally enjoyed the book, being of older traditions, loving good mysteries, and always reveling in the mysterious.
I have listened to this audio book three times. I love vampires, wine and genetics, so this is book strikes a very strong chord in me. But the characters are what really make it a joy. Diana and Matthew are so well drawn and complimentary to each other. Listening to them fall in love never gets old, well not yet anyway.
Harkness build a very tangible and authentic world. Even though it is fantasy it meshes well into the real world, and I find myself lost in that world.
I would love to hear more from Jennifer Ikeda. This is my first that she narrated. But if I like a narrator I will try anything she/he reads!
I was listening to this at work one day during a boring data entry day, and became so engrossed that I jumped when a friend came to my desk for lunch. I had fallen in completely. I gasped out loud at parts and urged characters to not put themselves in harm's way.
I like fiction, sci-fi, fantasy and magic-realism.
The overview did mention something about "A Discovery of Witches" being equal parts "history and magic, romance and suspense", BUT it didn't specify how cringe-worthy and eye-rolling-ly cheesy the romance part would be. Ugh! I'm a fan of the fantasy genre, and I totally love reading about vampires, witches, magic spells, etc, etc, and it's fine if there's some romance thrown in, but the romance between these two main characters is so boring and slow moving and also predictable, that I can no longer force myself to finish this book.
The narrator, Jennifer Ikeda, does a decent job. She skillfully jumps between the different accents in a very believable way. Sadly, the dialogue is often annoying. Not her fault, though. The performance is definitely the best thing about this audible book.
The idea behind the book is actually quite clever, and I appreciate how Deborah Harkness has created new and interesting ideas about the powers and traits of her vampires, witches and demons. I also like how there's a bunch of historical tidbits thrown in.
Up to about 2/3 of the way through this book, I probably would have given 3 stars, but then the romance story line that had been quietly brewing in the background suddenly took over, and the cheese-fest began. Too bad, because it would have been a decent, if extremely long, audible book.
If you like vampires and romance then this is a book for you. It is well written and the character development is good. I like the over all story line, but I'm not into romance. I think that the book could have been shorter or had more action in it.
I don't like romance stories in the first place. I thought it would have moved faster.
I never read her stories before. I'd like to know what happens to the characters, but not if all of her other stuff is this slow and romantic.
Not unless my wife made me.
It's a great story line for people who like romances.