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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The story twist and turns in wonderful detail with a lovely hit of history
The rivalry between the different species
yes a real 'page turner'
A cleaver way to bring vampires, witches, demons and humans together
Good verses evil and those opposing change
The whole series is great, voices portraying each individual so succinct and consistent.
Highly recommend, enjoyed its difference.
"OK story - appalling narration - avoid!"
I've been forced to give the performance a 'star' as Audible doesn't allow a zero star rating. Jennifer Ikeda is perhaps the worst narrator of any audio book I've listened to. Her performance is appalling. Jennifer Ikeda has only one mode - monotone smug.
She has no ear or ability for accents and her attempt at a Scottish accent could be a major influence in the independence debate. Its even worse than Mel Gibson's accent in Braveheart. Who on earth was her voice coach? Did anyone bother to listen to her pronunciation (or lack of it) or was it simply launched on an unsuspecting public? For example, she uses totally the wrong pronunciation for "Magdalene College". This is pronounced 'Maudlin' and not Magdalene (as in Mary Magdalene).
The story might be interesting, but I no longer care. Jennifer Ikeda has broken the cardinal rule of narration, she has become obtrusive and indeed, intrusive. Don't buy this audiobook.
"Witches and Vampires for Grown Ups"
Dark, exciting, gripping
The twists and turns in the story. Never quite knowing if you could trust the main character, Matthew, but wanting to like him at the same time. The darkness of the story was balanced well with humorous parts.
She has a very expressive voice which gave depth to the characters.
Think you know everything about vampires, witches and demons....think again
Yes I would because it was amazing
Matthew and Diana. Is such a lovely story that keeps you gripe.
No not yet but I will be doing on the next book.
It made my heart beat faster and sometimes laugh.
A must read
"Complex & compelling academic vampire story."
Detailed, descriptive, compelling
When Diana realises that she can conjure witchwater.
When Diana talks to her mother and father whilst trapped.
Yes many. I gasped, cried, smiled and desired more.
The great thing is it is part of a trilogy but I am growing restless awaiting the release of the final part.
"Oh dear - over long, overwritten and repetitive"
Such a shame, the ideas are interesting and inventive, but the author does not have the skills or language to carry it off so falls back on endlessly repeating the same phrases and situations....resulting in a book which is about 3 times longer than it should be and boring for most of the time. The narrator is quite good but overly ambitious with accents which she cannot handle.
"Only for a certain type of listener (not me)"
So I never review audiobooks until now. I suppose it's very British to only complain when unhappy and not to praise a good experience. Anyway I digress.
The main character in this book is a girl, who meets a guy (vampire) fairly early on in the book and proceeds to increasingly swoon and kiss her way through the rest of the book, with various people worried for her while she struggles to unlock her inner power, etc. Quite run-of-the-mill stuff and nothing at all surprising.
That said, it's well read - I can't find fault with that aspect of it.
If you like hearing about the (IMO fairly predictable) heart-felt yearnings of a young girl then this book is right up your street. Personlly I like a bit more Walking Dead and a bit less Twilight, so won't be contonuing the series and will avoid this author in future.
Less passionate kissing
The voices were good, accents fairly reliable.
Most of the kissing and swooning stuff
Not for me, but by no means actually bad. Teen girls will love it, doubtless
"Historical Romance with Bite"
I first read and then listened to this book. It works on many levels. It fulfils the criteria of vampire romance but with a main female character who has strength and powers of her own. She does not need to become vampire and is accomplished academic rather than mooning teenager. It also uses the genre to explore history and culture across continents and millennia. Histories of literature, science, alchemy and faith are interwoven with modern genetics and exploration of prejudice. Sometimes the detail becomes too ponderous and I find many of the ensemble of diverse characters more complex and intriguing than the main male character. However, this is generally well crafted and well-performed writing.
I also like a long read / listen I can get my teeth into, or escape into while I commute or do housework etc. I returned to this work because, even after knowing the outcome (so far) diluted the suspense and romance, other layers of story, characters, time and place still unfold. It is, like the Bodleian Library the story opens in, full of journeys of thought and imagination.
It is rather long to listen to in one sitting.
I've listened to the sequel, which is almost as good and have the final in the trilogy on pre-order.
"Great story telling with new twists on old theme"
The narrative was engaging and I while it took me a little while to get 'into' once there I was totally hooked.
A great listen with some riveting passages. One of those books which you don't want to end.
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