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.
After reading this book last summer, it sparked my newly found love of reading. I know you’re probably wondering why I only gave it 4.5 instead of 5, but I’ll get to that later. Let’s start with the good before the bad. I loved how historical and scientific everything was in the book – I felt like everything was explained in so much detail (and sometimes even too much detail). The level of writing was more difficult than any other book I’d read before, and I really felt like it challenged me in a great way. It was so different to anything I’d read before (but bare in mind my book shelf mainly consisted of Sophie Kinsella novels and Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries), and really made me want more. Matthew was borderline perfect, in a scary predatorial way – just minus the whole yoga thing (I mean seriously? Yoga???) and I really liked the chemistry he had with Diana. And I loved that he loved wine; and good wine at that. I even liked Diana a lot, but in the same breath I didn’t. I can’t put my finger on why not though. On top of that, I thought the witches powers were really cool and that the daemons were interesting. You could really feel Harkness’s love and interest in everything she wrote; I even felt like she described Diana to look a bit like her and lived a similar lifestyle. Now onto the ‘bad’ (and there ain’t much bad)… The plot was so unclear – basically, I didn’t know what the hell was going on for so long and what it was leading to, but luckily, I was having a good time reading it. The descriptions sometimes went on longer for necessary, but it wasn’t that bad… Especially not compared to Shadow of Night, which seemed to go on forever (even though it was also a good book), but lets save that review for another day. All in all it’s a great book – it sparked an interest in history, antiques and science which I didn’t have before. It really was different for me and perhaps I hold a bit of a special spot for it! I know I’ve held back on a half star for the rating, but that’s mostly because of what happens in the next book (review coming soon!).
- Overall rating: 4.5/5
- Storyline: 5/5
- Romance: 4/5
- Characters: 4/5