A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.
Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries - and she is the only creature who can break its spell.
Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series - with an extra serving of historical realism.
©2011 Deborah Harkness (P)2011 Penguin
Where to start in this review! I felt completely ripped off with my time, and my credits. This book has been well touted, I will have to give the publisher's full credit, ten stars even, for their wonderful marketing of this book.
Nothing happens, and I mean nothing! I had to put the book on 3x the rate at which it should be read, just so I could get through it. I felt I had invested in this book, and hey, it couldn't have gotten any worse. I was wrong. And it is left at the end with a "next book" ending, completely accomplishing nothing for your "reading pleasure"
Heroine goes to yoga, Heroine then has tea, lots and lots of tea, Heroine goes rowing, once, twice, hmmmm, what else. Heroine drinks wine. Heroine is very very sleepy. Her significant other tells her what to do "yes, you must have a nap, yes you must eat! yes, you must not to do this, or that." bla bla bla bla bla.
On a positive note... the beginning is promising. I was interested for a nano second or so. Then I kept wondering when something would happen, and was getting quite annoyed at all the describing of incredibly boring things. I mean, how many things can you write about how the Heroine loves tea??? hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....
The reader did as good a job as could be expected with such an uninspiring story. Loved her accents. She was definately not the problem. :)
The narrator was annoying. I think she tried too hard with the different voices, and her English and French accents were like high-school stagecraft.
The story started out well and was intriquing; then somewhere in the middle it swerved into Barbara Cartland romance.
Entertaining, but definitely drags in parts and occasionally crosses a line and become just too sappy. I thought the secondary characters on the whole were much more interesting than the leads.
Yes, I would, but would probably check out the reviews first
No, I haven't but certainly would be willing to try more, I enjoyed her depiction
The ending certainly set things up for a second book. I'd be willing to give it a try
There were a lot of good things going on in this book, such as the references to history and alchemy but, the central love story is really imposable. In fact, the hero is one of those characters that embodies too many great qualities to be believable. For a male reader he’s little hard to take. I also found the female hero hard to take at times. She is an expert in history but has a surprising lack of knowledge in certain instances. These situations are resolved by the hero suddenly unveiling the new knowledge in a dramatic and contrived fashion. It is a concession to affect that undermines the character. She is also a powerful witch who can’t master the casting of spells due to their tedious nature, but CAN spend days at a time in a library studying books, taking notes and writing papers. Sounds tedious to me.
I love Audible and I love books! The file formats for Audible are great, easy download, doesn't take up a lot of space on your device, the ability to download titles again are great. Narrators add another dimension to great stories.
I bought the hardback book and devoured it in days...As I was reading it I kept thinking, this book would probably be in audio, since much of the story takes place in England and France. So, when it appeared in the Audible library and I had credits again I had to get it and I think I listened to it withing a weeks time. Additionally there is a lot of Latin and other languages which as a person who doesn't speak another language the pronunciation is so much more enjoyable to hear than to guess at. I love how the author ties in history, science, myth, prejudice and more.The author put a great amount of detail in the story and I look forward to a continuation of this story.
I found Harkness' prose style a bit stilted, but worth putting up with since the story, after a bit of a slow start, moves at a rapid and entertaining pace. If you like complete suspension of reality, this is a great, light listen.
Harkness combines some original fantasy ideas with cliches from bodice-ripping thrillers into a fun tale. The only disappointment was the way the book ended on an obvious cliffhanger, so prepare yourself to have to wait for book 2 (and probably book 3).
The narration was fine, but not stellar.
I liked this story. It has it's "hokie" moments, but it is a nice story with interesting characters, and a likeable heroine.
Reviews flux all over the place. Let me see if I can help.
1) Do you find the story and premise of "Twilight" intriguing or at minimum your brand of fun guilty pleasure BUT every time you try to read it, the writing is so atrociously offensive you have to chuck it aside?
This book is for you. It pushes all the same buttons but is well-written! Enjoy! There is forbidden romance, supernatural intrigue, and an astonishing number of scenes where witches take a long relaxing bath or vampires do yoga and where everyone smells like cinnamon or cardamom or other pie spices to someone.
2) Did the cover and some of the reviews lead you believe that this was going to be a Gaiman-esque fantasy romp or an intricate Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel?
This book is gonna frustrate the hell out of you if that's the case.
On purely technical levels, the reader's a little weak when she tries to do voices, but the recording's good.
I am reviewing this book even before I've finished listening to it! I am so glad that I took a chance and purchased this book and will be sorry when it is finished. That's the downside to a good book I suppose....the inevitable point where it is done and you have to say goodbye to the characters and their world. As this is the first novel in a trilogy, I am already impatiently waited for book two!
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