A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was a relatively quick read, and I can see where many of my friends have fallen in love with it: the mixture of Anne Rice (both Letstat and Mayfair series), Da Vinci Code, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and Twilight make the series feel comfortable while introducing enough new stuff to keep you reading.
Diana's witch heritage should be strong, but since her parents' death she's avoided using any of her talents. Matthew is a 1500-year-old vampire who discovers Diana using a tiny bit of power and gets curious - he's also heard that she found, and opened, a manuscript long assumed lost. Soon other vampires, witches and daemons are crowding into the Bodleian Library, trying to learn what Diana did to open the book and what she learned.
That's all that's needed for us to start, and soon we're reading about the Congregation (which sets laws for the three non-human "species"), the Knights of Lazarus, vampire history, some witch history and a house that takes care of the people who live there by obligingly growing, shrinking and keeping track of furniture and doors when there are guests.
The biggest problem was the writing. Big! Important! Matters! are met with shock, horror and then complete acceptance, too much time is spent on some rather trivial matters while other things are glossed over, and there are altogether too many adjectives. I also got quite tired of sentences like, "A vampire watched me while I slept" (he has a name, Matthew, and unless you're trying to ratchet up the tension by implying that somehow another vampire got into the room, use it!). And while I love the age of the vampire, why did he have to know everyone from Kit Marlowe to Charles Darwin and beyond? Seemed like an excuse add some additional paragraphs to book that could have some editing (600+ pages?!).
Still, it will be interesting to see what happens next.
Copy provided by publisher.