A Discovery Of Witches - A book review

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.

*Ahem*  I beg to differ with that last paragraph there...

The book was good, BUT it left a lot to be desired for me. I enjoyed the historical aspects mixed in with the fantasy genre and I did enjoy the characters - even if Diana was a little irritating (I mean COME ON who wouldn't want to use magic!!) My problems with this book do no lie in the story per se, but more in the telling of it. The friendship/courtship of Matthew and Diana was drug out painfully, chapter after chapter.... the details of the scents in the wine they drank, the fragrance of the food, blah flipping blah!! Then, once the book really started picking up, the action felt very rushed in the last 1/4th of the book. This is nearly a 600 page book - it's a whopper folks - and I felt cheated by the rushing of the action. Now, nothing that I can find right now indicates that this woman is going to write another book (I am not sure I would even read it if she did), but she left herself WIDE OPEN at the end to be able to continue with the plot in another novel or 2, 3 or 10 (or however long she'd like to drag it out).

I always hate being caught off-guard by a cliffhanger. There is this book that I read in high school, which is now infamous with me in a very small circle of friends, because the last line is "And maybe they did." REALLY? I read 800 pages for AND MAYBE THEY DID???? I prefer my fiction to be wrapped up and tied with a neat little bow at the end, so I am sure you can imagine my un-bloggable reaction when I finished this book, as it ends, basically the same way, with this elusive, perhaps they made it... type of ending. *sigh* What's a girl to do?

And just a point of annoyance in the summary up there - I really don't think one should compare books to the Twilight novels. I concede that yes, they are addicting fantastic stories, and I am a self-confessed Twi-hard. However, the writing in those books is elementary and I would never want my novel compared to them in a literary sense. The writing in this book is at a much, much, much higher level, so it does have that going for it.... 


Farmchick said...

I read this book and I did like it, BUT I also felt like way too much was happening at the end of the story. And, the author left it wide open at the end. I didn't like that either.

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