Author: Deborah Harkness
Summary: 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.
Review: There were things I absolutely loved about this book…and things that I didn’t.
Deborah Harkness has created an interesting world in which there are four species: humans, witches, vampires, and daemons. I loved the way she built this world, along with all the rules and regulations. I also love the magical caste system and the specifics of each species. She has put a unique spin on witches, vampires, daemons, and the way they interact in the world together. That got me hooked right away.
I also loved the female lead character, Diana. I loved that she was a historian and that Deborah really showed you the ins and outs of an alchemical historian. It made me want to get my PhD! The male lead character, Matthew, wasn’t so bad either, if not a bit too stereotypical.
I was on my way to finishing this book in less than a week when suddenly the “romance” novel appeared. The middle of this book is a romance novella. I’m not a romance reader, never have been, but maybe in the future. But not now. So, needless to say, the story seemed to veer away from the tension and the magic and the mystery. All that was sais was “i love yous” and “swoon”. And I had to stop. It wasn’t my cup of tea. (You’ll get that pun later).
Finally, near the end, the romance let up a bit and the tension came back. Not fully, but it did. I’m on the fence about finishing the trilogy. Like I said, Deborah put a great twist on the magical creatures and their rules, and I do love the plot of the story. I just can’t handle the romance stuff…
Recommendation: Borrow from your local library first