This is a difficult book for me to review, as it pulls me in a number of different directions. My initial reaction was to dislike it. The first half of the book comes across as a “B-grade” romance novel, with the tall, dark stranger and the feisty young woman who resists his charms until suddenly she finds him irresistible. There is even a castle and a tower bedroom scene with hundreds of lit candles with their golden glow…how cliché! The basic story has strong echoes of Dana Gabaldon’s "Outlander" series. There is almost no action in the story until over half way through the book, then again once or twice before the end of the book.
The surface story is that of a love relationship between an ancient vampire (looks 37 but is actually closer to 1500 years old) and a witch (36 and looks her age) who is in denial that she is a witch. A real world analysis of the main characters leave the reader/listener with questions--can a Narcissistic vampire with relation addiction issues and Obsessive Compulsive traits have a meaningful love relationship with a woman who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Panic Attacks, as well as serious identity and abandonment issues? Can their relationship be anything other than a classic case of codependence? The relationship difficulties are exacerbated when the couple jumps into marriage about three weeks into the relationship…talk about impulsive! It’s a fictional romance…I know… but if this is some romantic ideal…and some people will take it for that…it is a dangerous and unhealthy ideal. I probably sound like the heroine’s aunt Sarah but she seemed like the only character with an ounce of common sense.
This is a long book, running about 24 hours in the audio edition. It could have been edited to about half that without serious harm to the story. Indeed, judicious editing would have significantly improved the book.
All of those frustrations and complaints noted, I have to admit that the book has a certain charm. The author does a decent job of creating the separate cultures of witches and vampires and the characters are consistent within the context of their respective cultures. Her description of the various periods of history which play into the story create a vivid sense of the periods. Her quotes from the literature of the various time periods are appropriate and not an intrusion. Further, as the story developed and more secrets were revealed the eccentricities of personality in both of the main characters, and a number of supporting characters, began to make sense. By the time the book ended, setting the reader up for book two of the trilogy, I was ready to move on to book two. I’ll probably be irritated with the second volume in the trilogy, as I was with the first, but no doubt I’ll want to continue on to book three and see how the trilogy ends.
Complements to the narrator. She does an excellent job keeping the voices for the characters distinct and believable. Her handling of the accents is admirable.
At first grounded in believable settings this story flies away into fantasy (at least I hope it is fantasy!) and the witch and the vampire float into the adventures as they try to find the lost book they hope hold the key telling why their populations are demishing. If you can listen to such a book and just enjoy the tale then it is a don't miss but I do not believe it is for everyone. It helps that Jennifer Ikeda does a great narration.
I really enjoyed this. I could barely put it down. Mathew and Diana are such an interesting pair. There were places in this book where I was taken completely by surprise and I loved it. I read a great deal so surprises are few and far between. If you're looking for horror or anything for that matter besides a well thought out PNR look elsewhere. This has a well thought out plot, good main characters and secondary characters. My only quibble and it's a small one is the set up in places is the library scenes do tend to go on a bit.
The narration is a treat. Wonderfully done. I'm so glad the second book is also done by Jennifer Ikeda.
Live in Roseburg. Widowed last January when my husband, best friend and soul-mate died of cancer. I love a good book.
Yes, it was one of those books you can go back and listen to over again.
Because of the time traveling element, I would compare it to one of my other most favorite series, the Outlander. And this series is just that good! I loved it for a lot of the same reasons.
Yes, I couldn't put it down.
I've always loved books. Even before I could read I've loved them. Fact or Fiction, I love books. I'd sooner read a book than see a movie.
I would recommend this to a friend or any book lover. Harkness has written a story which has something for everyone, a romance, mystery, drama, history, magic and horror.
There are so many, but without giving away any secrets from the book, I enjoyed the idea of witches, vampires and demons being more human than humans.
The vampire, Matthew. I loved it when he would speak french or with a french accent.
Oh I wanted to but it would have been very hard to since it's 600 pages and broken up into 3 audio books.
I can't wait to read (listen) to the sequel!
This book was so awful as a fantasy, it is definitely for romance lovers who just want to imagine kissing a nice vampire.
Well, she could be A) a better writer who uses less superlatives (set a record for uses of "delicious" and lengthy, boring descriptions of food that rich people eat) and relies less on tired re-treads of vampire love stories. THIS IS NOT A FANTASY NOVEL. It has no action, just a vague, quickly resolved mystery that devolves into a limp, vomit-inducing love story that has about as much charm as listening to two teenagers flirt.
Ham-fisted dialogue, flat characters, and absolutely zero knowledge of the two central interests of the protagonists: evolution, and wine. The author thinks century-old wine tastes amazing; her ignorance on this subject just shows how little research she does. The author also describes evolution so badly and confusingly that I am surprised the author passed biology.
All in all, stands out as one of the worst books I have ever read. I made it halfway and had to bail out on their second date; all the food was perfect, amazing, delicious...! Unfortunately, the plot may keep you interested until that point--I had to quit when my gorge literally rose from the dialogue and endless food descriptions.
Man, I wish i had my money back; even on sale, this isn't worth $5.
She could have used more excitement in her voice, but I think she realizes what a piece of junk she is reading, and does her best to make the $#$* palatable.
I would have cut the vampire character out and made the author re-write the story. it started out well...
Yes! It has many wonderful details that would make a second listen fresh.
Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris, similar vampire characters and engrossing plot. Dorthy Sayers's books, similar attention to historical and literary detail.
Fabulous timing and accents. Each character's voice is unique and imminently recognizable.
It was a book that was very hard to stop!
One of my personal Audible favorites.
I have been happily married for 17 years, I have 3 children (12, 14, & 16), and 2 dogs. I am currently working on a 2nd degree. Life is chaotic and stressful, but I wouldn't change it. I am blessed and enjoying my life.
Get it while it is on sale! It is a fantastic book. Even if you pay full price, its a fantastic book. I have been listening to it for the last day and a half. First it is a great value, 24 hours of listening, but just so you know, this is one of the BEST books I have ever listened to. The plot is involved, the characters grow as the book continues, and the narrator was terrific. I cannot wait to start the next one!
The length of this book could have easily been cut in half. I nearly gave up on it several times. It takes far too long to pick up any kind of momentum. And by the time one of the main issues is "solved", I realized there was still FIVE HOURS left. I gave up. I just couldn't take it anymore. Interesting story and characters, but could have been much more dynamic and fast-paced. Too painful to even finish.