An epic, richly inventive, historically sweeping, magical romance.
When historian Diana Bishop opens an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it's an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she's kept at bay for years: one of powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons, and long-lived vampires.
Sensing the significance of Diana's discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire genticist. Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world of half-truths and old enmities, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing.
As they begin to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feelings for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels....
©2011 Deborah Harkness (P)2011 Deborah Harkness
"Intelligent and off-the-wall, it will be irresistible to Twilight fans." (The Sunday Times)
"Write what you know, debut novelists are told and Professor Deborah Harkness has accordingly set hers in the world of academia…. A bubbling cauldron of illicit desire…. all the ingredients for an assured saga that blends romance with fantasy." (Daily Mail)
"A romp through magical academia." (Guardian)
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"It grabbed me"
Although it had similarities to Twilight (the only books of this genre I have read), and seemed to have similar vampire characteristics, it is quite different. It grabbed my attention, and I am now reading the next book. Really really enjoying it, and can't wait for the final in the trilogy.
First performance of hers I've heard, and she is amazing. Her accents are wonderful, her voice soothing and riveting (oxymoron there!). Will be searching out her other books.
"A Fantastic Read!"
I had been wanting to read this book for a while, and had it on my Wish List since last year. I finally managed to get it as an audio book, and loved it!
Diana Bishop is a fantastic character! She is a historian, and a witch. I liked this character very much! She is extremely independent and feisty, but, when she discovers an alchemical manuscript that has been missing, she suddenly finds herself thrust into a dangerous world of witches, daemons and vampires, who will stop at nothing to possess the book.
Matthew Clairmont is also a fascinating character. He is a geneticist, who also happens to be a vampire. He is an enigmatic person. I was unsure whether I liked him at first, but as the story unfolded, he won me over! I loved his intensity and his determination.
This story is told from mostly Diana's point of view, but Matthew also has his say, which I found extremely interesting, as it showed their thoughts and feelings. I usually struggle to get into a story when it's on audio book, but I had no such issues with this book. I was swept into the story by the narrator, who did an excellent job giving each character their own voice and accent. I became so involved with the story that I was loathe to stop listening! I am fairly new at listening to audio books and can find my attention getting diverted by outside interruptions. However, this book had my complete attention. The author has created characters and scenic locations that, with the help of the narrator, came alive! I have never been to Oxford, but the description of the Bodleian Library had me salivating! All those books! I could die happy there! There are some interesting characters that I enjoyed meeting, especially Mart (cook/housekeeper) (not sure of the correct spelling, as I had no reference bar the narrators) and Isabelle (Matthew's mother). They are completely different character types, but they compliment each other; You can feel the respect they have for each other. The vampires in this story are far from being all sparkly, but I think it's the witches who are far more dangerous! The story has several twists and more magic than you can wave a wand at! There is a dark scene that sent a shiver up my spine! I am seriously considering getting this book in print, so that I can read it when I am not able to use my audio book app. I am most definitely looking forward to reading/listening to the next book in the series, because the ending left me wanting more!
Deborah Harkness has created a world where humans, witches, daemons and vampires all live (not in peace, but tolerance?) together. This author has now found another fan! I love her writing style, which is fast paced, and the story flowed beautifully!
I highly recommend this book if you love your stories to be full of witches, daemons and vampires or if you love paranormal romance or urban fantasy genres. - Lynn Worton
"Good but not outstanding!"
I love vampire, witch and fantasy stories and was guided to this one by a friend. I have to say I've struggled a little with the narrator as she sounds monotone to me so I think that has affected how I view the story.
I like the story idea but found the main characters stereotypical, which I didn't enjoy they are way to close to Edward and Bella (Twilight). I like a lot of the other characters though and strangely I think my favourite character is the Bishop house!
Overall I liked the story so this may feel like a confusing review! I had no idea until I came to the end that it's a trilogy so has rather an abrupt ending! Though as I write I'm downloading the next book in the series. Shadow of Night, be warned the third book has not been released yet!
No, the number of times the words Vampire and Witch were used were completely unnecessary , I'd got the gist of which character was which fantasy figure by the middle of the book - cut these words out and the book would be half the length..
I understand that this is a fantasy book, but the story just got more and more preposterous as it went on - a dominant tall dark and handsome vampire that little subservient Witch Diana falls in love with. Has feminism passed Witches by ?
The narrators pronunciation of some of the words left a lot to be desired, in particular how she pronounces All Souls is very unfortunate.
Very disappointing - I listened to the end of the book (sometimes falling asleep, and missing chunks - but I couldn't be bothered to rewind - its not as if the plot couldn't be followed if you missed a bit out) I could not believe it when I realised that this was not the end of the story - there appear to be another 2 books !! I won't be troubled by listening to them - I just don't care enough to find out the ending..
"I've given up"
After several attempts to get back into this after abandoning it somewhere in part two, I've given up. This came highly recommended to me by two friends, but it's just not for me. It's too slow paced, nothing has gripped me so far.
A very engaging book by D Harkness.
I was simply submerged in the world that she created and felt myself quite as ease in it.
Her characters are well developed and the story finished right on cue for her second book of the series.
I really enjoyed the narrator doing the French accents. A really nice experience since I first read the book and later on got the audiobook version.
"Loved this book!"
Really, really enjoyed this book! If you like a good magical story, a bit of history and genetics ths book is for you. Well written, good depth and the story flows properly. I was slightly confused when the book ended (before I felt like it had finished) but found out that it is part of a trilogy. Only warning would be to space these books out. Book 3 isnt completed so there may be a while to wait. Really good read x
"Witches, vampires and demons"
I could not stop listening. Clever story, complex characters and a simple love story. Magic and strength. I did not want it to end.
"Book is passable, delivery terrible"
I've listened to 4 hours of this book and I'm about to return it. It's been described as a Twilight for adults, but so far I find it as annoying as Twilight, with the added ingredient of pretentiousness. I haven't given it one star because who knows, maybe later it gets better and I'll never know. The main problem I had however was the narrator. Why choose an actor who can't do accents for a book that requires so many?? One of the main characters is supposed to have an educated Oxbridge accent, and instead sounds like some sort of undercover German spy (maybe later in the book it gets revealed that that is in fact what he is???), the Aussie accent is a mixture of Cockney and American, the lower class British accent sounds Australian, so I can't take any of these characters seriously.
"Very good read"
I did read the reviews before downloading this book but was still surprised by the story line. It was a good story and I did like the characters but I spent the whole book waiting for something to happen. Normally in a trilogy the first book is a complete story and then the second moves it forward but in this case the first book doesn't end at all. It just gets to a point where there could be a convenient pause in the story line.
That said I have got the second instalment and am looking forward to seeing what happens.
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