Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Discovery of Witches By Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches
Description from Goodreads.com
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

I have to agree with this last statement, the romance aspect was very twilight-esk because the vampire goes out in daytime, he's educated, more human than animal, cautious and fragile-like.
Diana is a great main character, I liked her very much, her development and growth was very well paced throughout the novel and somebody you'd really like to meet.
The romance and plot is very slow moving, snail like and gets a little hot and heavy towards the end, but those scenes still felt like they missed something.
These two main characters are smart, educated, sophisticated and you really feel like you learn a lot about history in this book. But I have to say that there is so much of this background building that I had to force myself to read the middle 150 pages hoping that the ending would be worth my time, instead of just giving up completely. And if this is not the first in a series (and it better be) but just a stand alone novel, it's worth checking out at the library first.
I was amazed that Amazon had the kindle priced the same as the hardback copy $16.00 because I think that is an outrageous price for a ecopy of a book. And if your not into history this book may bore you immensly through a good 400 pages.
The middle of the story focuses on the romance and Matthew's history as a vampire, so lots of stories, very little real action. But then finally around pg 400 something happens and then it's like a roller coaster ride because HUGE event and HUGE decisions happen in a matter of pages and I finished the book going "there are way too many loose ends...and where did that twist in the plot come from?"
A lot of action and then it just ends...?
This book took me about 4 times longer to read than my normal novels. So nevertheless it kept me busy for many hours and unless this is a series, I would recommend checking out your local library before you shell out your money. And if this is a series, I bet book two is gonna rock because all the filler details had to of been shoved into this first book. For now I am rating this book as a three star, but believe me if the story continues book 2 could possibly earn a 5 star review