My very first review. After listening to this story, I felt a review must be offered.
This book was selected on one of the "sales" events. I had never heard of the author or the narrator. I selected it totally based on the summary. I was not disappointed.
This story begins almost gently giving the reader all the details of the characters and the creatures they represent (witch, werewolf, demon) in a style that is like removing the layers of an onion. The relationships are revealed and developed in a way that slowly gathers you into their lives. Each piece of the puzzle of this wonderful story is linked with wonderfully descriptive language. Before you know it, you are eager to find out what is in store for these well thought out characters.
I have an 80-page rule when reading a book. If I don't care in 80 pages about the main character, reading stops. Not only did this book pass the 80-page rule, but I never stopped to see how far I had gotten. What was ahead was always more important. Now that I am a regular Audible listener, I guess I will have to change the 80-page rule to a different measure.
Narration was excellent as well. I never got lost in who was speaking. The voices selected to represent the various characters were subtle and a good match for the character described. In fact I felt like the narrator "disappeared" and the book spoke for itself. A good sign that the narrator is skilled.
This story is part of a Trilogy. The second book is due out in the Summer of 2012 according to the author's web site. Boo - too long to wait!
Write faster, Deborah Harkness.
This story has a very Twilightesque feel to it... The story is similar and yet different - oxymoron, I know. There are witches and daemons adding their own "spice" to the story. The characters are older than those in the Twilight saga; they are well developed and intelligent. If you are a reader who cant stand a story that has a similar plot to another literary sensation, this isnt the book for you. I found it to be an easy read (I bought the book) and was never bored. I ran out of free "sit and read" time, so I finished the story audible-style while commuting to work. Im looking forward to the next book.
Audible's description says it's "a richly inventive novel" but I found it to be nothing more than a drawn-out unexciting romance. The "centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript" were simply elements used by the author to patch a weak story together. I usually am entertained by a book talking in the back of my shop while I work, but after almost 16 hours of boredom (out of 24) I had to abandon this one.
Absolute wonderful story... I was hooked in no time and couldn't turn it off. I do not write many reviews but this book is worth it.
So I like witch stories. I understand that this genre isn't filled with literary giants but this book was so poorly written I'm aghast. This book would have been great if it was 12 hours instead of 24. The redundant explanations of every little twitch of any given character wore this listener down. I suffered through it because I liked the subject matter and thought the story was going somewhere. The ending, which to be clear, is a stopping of story; no conclusion, no resolution just an abrupt stop. Please don't pick it up where you left off Deborah, and if you do, find an editor to trim the fat.
I have many complaints - too many to describe here, but one is the narrator does no favors for the characters, particularly the heroine, Diana. I never believed for one moment she was a scholar of anything or had any interesting qualities that would attract a 1600 year old scientist who was friends with Sir Isaac Newton and Shakespeare. Of course this is due to the writing as well...
look elsewhere for a good witch story friends.
The narrator's voice is clear and lovely, but the writing is a way too intellectually elitest and self-indulgent for my taste, and the accents here are.. sadly, pretty awful. Don't get me wrong, it's not that one needn't a massive amount of brainpower to eke out the specifics and required details to understand the book, but the story, the plot line, the characters' treatment of the main character.., it's all just way too- (please pardon the expression here) masturbatory for me... (All written by a very brainy, creative woman- which I adore.. but still...)
To me, this reads like a meandering, self-involved fantasy the author has plotted out to the last detail, during a lifetime of wishing, praying & hoping to live in some strange, alternate universe. Don't get me wrong, she has a wonderful talent for description, and I love a bunch of good detail in my stories. I also love me some alt. universes- and know that of course, many authors do the whole "wishful thinking" thing (at least in one way or another).
But the inaaaanely slow story line due to the coverage of every, single, self-satisfied little detail and illustrations of characteristics already explore thoroughly at previous intervals over and over and over again just makes the story WAY too long, WAY too boring, and and frankly, far too good an offering for putting one (not kidding here) to sleep. (Seriously. I listen to this often as part of my nightly ritual to help me drift off to dreamland now. The author's voice is nice, and the story is just that cumbersome & overinvolved.)
I like the theories the author presents at the core of her work concerning her own version of the "Origin of the Species," the new take she puts on her supernatural denizens, and the rich feeling of texture and atmosphere she tries to paint here. But given the above, I'd rate it overall at about a C.
Pity, as if she picked up the pace a bit and learned how to edit, this could have been a really engaging story. I enjoyed the character concepts, the setting (though again, she goes a little much into her obsession w/the Bodlian library) and the quirky color she lends to many who appear within the cast. But frankly this story dragged like Igor's bum foot encased in a 2 ton block of lead. (Which is a real bummer, 'cause given the preview, I had a lot of hope for this story.) Guess I'll just have to hope they make a movie version of this someday. ..Might help to speed things up.
And speaking of talking waaay too much, I'm going to stop here. ;)
Loved the historical, romance and adventure. Deborah has a real knack of conversation and story telling, leaving you wanting more. You can smell and taste the wine. Jennifer Ikeda also has a flair for the accents needed. BRAVO!
For the first hour maybe, I was bored to tears , but it's a very long audiobook and after that hour, it unfolds into a great story, with twists and great characters. It gets a little hokey at times with the romance, which I suppose can be a little refreshing. All in all, I loved this book and am impatiently waiting for number 2.
I loved the characters in this story. The vampires remind one of Twilight, but without all the teen angst! The flaws in the characters' personalities make them more real, thus making it impossible to quit reading as I had to find out what happened next. I actually enjoyed the everyday scenes such as the yoga class. A little goofy that smooth, suave Matthew would be there, but a nice device to show a situation where the creatures were able to get along. I certainly hope there is another book soon. It's probably good that it isn't out yet, though. My family would wonder if I was ever going to return!
I'm not sure what I expected when I purchased this book, but I know now that it was a great idea. The story is compelling and the historical details are phenomenal. I'm a fan of "supernatural" fiction and this book did not disappoint. I found myself lost in the story; in the details both historical and scientific. My advise to you fellow Audible customers...Listen to this book!