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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"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.
I purchased this audiobook on a whim not knowing if I would like it or not and I was delighted to find that it was a wonderfully written story with such a lot of detail. The narrator had a range of voices and a reading style that enhanced my pleasure in listening to it. All in all a real treat to listen to. (I have heard it several time now and never seem to tire of it.)
I downloaded this book via a recommendation as wouldn't of chosen it of my own accord. I'm not into the whole vampire romance novel scene that has been popular of late but thought I would give this one a go. I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is more mature and well written than the Twilight sagas (although could have benefitted from some additional editing... too much yoga and tea). I wouldn't say this was for everyone but if you are in for a long descriptive listen (and I mean long) when the plot slowly but deliciously emerges then this is for you.
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