○○○○○ A Definite Must read!
○○○○ Really good. You should read it!
○○○ It was okay, I finished it. Something was missing.
●● Read if you’ve already read the cereal box, twice.
○ Time I’ll never get back. Probably didn’t finish it.
A Discovery of Witches
By Deborah Harkness
Stereotypes abound in this clichéd paranormal-romance-mystery-historical-scientific-rambling-adventure-to-nowhere that masquerades at the bookstore as general fiction. Diana, the perfect woman (except when she’s not) meets Matthew, the perfect man (if you think the perfect man is a controlling stalker with lot’s of money).
This intelligent, independent woman becomes fragile and stupid after she meets him; she can’t even feed herself properly after he comes along. Did I mention that he drugged her without her permission so that she would be forced to rest instead of working all night—and when she figured it out she was okay with it!
The influence of Twilight in this book cannot be ignored: He breaks into her house and watches her sleep (Twilight), is VERY attracted to her scent (Twilight), and when they finally kiss she wants to go “all the way” and he doesn’t (Twilight). For the last half of the book she’s trying to consummate their marriage (he tricked her into marrying him by kissing her in front of his mother, some kind of vampire rule she didn’t know about). He keeps refusing her advances, telling her they have plenty of time for that stuff later.
Harkness had lot’s to say about what they consumed. He wasn’t into eating, wine was his thing. It worked out perfectly because she ate enough for the two of them (not like Twilight). And tea? My oh my, how she does enjoy her tea, but be sure it has the right amount of milk, the exact number of grams of sugar, and it must be the perfect color. About 100 pages could have been chopped from this tome by limiting the wine, tea, and food details.
Harkness has an above average vocabulary and I like that in an author, but there were times when I felt it was just too much, slipping in words that were way beyond everyday usage. At first it was humorous and then it came off as pretentious (one example was using the word “vita” instead of “resume” or “biography.” Did anyone else look it up?)
Harkness is a good writer in need of a good editor: one that should have cut this book in half and made her focus on one storyline. I enjoy a clichéd romance as much as the next girl, but this one drags on for 600 pages. I was bogged down with details that weren’t necessary to further the romance, enhance the mystery, or clarify the genetic pseudo science of the future.
I made it 85% of the way through this novel and finally gave up. I don’t care how it ends and I don’t care to embark on another long winded journey into book two. The first few chapters were so good and full of promise, I really wanted to like this book. I assume the people who loved it (and there were many!) had never read a paranormal romance before. Good news for them, there are lot’s more out there that are fantastic!