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on 29 June 2015
I only got half way through this book. It is painfully slow, the pace of every scene dragged down by sentence after sentence of unnecessary description. The interminable tea-stirring scenes are particularly draining. With the author's background, the alchemy and academic angles had potential to be fascinating and are why I tried the book, but they barely got a look in because Diana was so busy with tea, rowing and yoga. My biggest problem though was that, based on the section I read, this is another story in which a male vampire's misogyny is dressed up as love and protection and a highly intelligent and apparently brave woman spends her time swooning, being wrapped up in blankets and carried up flights of stairs.

The four-species world is a great idea and there is an interesting story in here, but there are so many amazing books out there that I didn't want to spend any more time wading through tea to find it.
19 people found this helpful
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on 4 November 2016
Despite my sometimes loathing for the attention-seeking wimp of a heroine I enjoyed this, I think because of the settings and the obvious passion she has for her characters. Couldn't quite understand the undying love the male protagonist had for Diana, who kept fainting, crying, obsessing about her feelings of self pity, sleeping and eating (all in great detail). Not sure why he kept calling her his lioness, love is blind perhaps. I would have preferred to see her acting more independently away from the over-protective, enfolding arms of her lover, then needing to be rescued whilst lamenting her fate, and fainting again. I often wanted to walk up to her and give her a kick up the backside as everyone else seemed to indulge her self obsession. Perhaps this is a fault of first person narrative, and editors saying 'you need to explore her feelings more!!' Sometimes, you can just overdo it.
Some great imaginative touches in the book, particularly the magical house, but much of it was rather too 'Twilight' for me, and the obsessive love and devotion thing overdone.
If I got the following books for free I might read them to see if Diana develops into a more likeable character, but otherwise I wouldn't read them. Sorry.
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on 19 July 2017
Great book, got given it as a gift and didn't read it for ages, but as soon as I got halfway through I had ordered the second one, then had to wait (forever) for the third. Written brilliantly and everything is described so you feel like you can see, smell the details. Lots of research has been done by the author and you can really tell, the clothes, places, furniture etc is all spot on.
This sounds like a "typical teen fantasy" book, I assure you it's far from it. There is real threat and fear in this book and it's not sugar coated.
Can't say much without ruining the plot but the characters (even the bad ones) are bought to life so well you don't want them to die.
Best money I've spent on books.
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on 18 April 2018
I loved it the first time round, but the second time has been a bit hit and miss. I’ve noticed things this time that I didn’t really see the first time. Like how many times phrases or words are repeated. Or how boring Diana actually is. There were plenty of boring scenes as well, like rowing and running? I didn’t really care about that part.The first half of the book is pretty much like that. Then there’s Matthew. I love Matthew, I think he’s a brilliant character, but what in the world does he see in her?? He’s mysterious, gorgeous, intelligent. Each to their own I guess. Anyway, other characters are great as well. I’m a huge Marcus fan so I’m definitely looking forward to his own book coming soon.

The writing style is very easy to get on with, and sort of keeps you going even when you think you couldn’t possibly cope with another dodgy rowing part. The story is entertaining as well, and Matthew’s back story is well thought out. Diana’s family history is interesting and has enough details to completely understand everything.

An enjoyable story, maybe a little boring in places. Likeable characters and well thought out storyline. I highly recommend this to fans of witches, vampires and other supernatural elements.
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on 6 January 2017
I started reading A Discovery of Witches thinking "yep, I'm going to really enjoy this book". Although i did find it a decent read, I preferred the build up in the beginning of the book, which is probably opposite to most other peoples opinion who've read this one.

There are parts that verge on the ridiculous and don't seem to be logical, but this is a fantasy book, so normalcy goes out the window. It does start off quite slowly, but I enjoyed that part and felt it really built the scene for me and drew me in further with vivid descriptions. For anyone who can't suspend disbelief or isn't a fan of genre fiction, stay away. Far, far away. For those of us who enjoy stepping into different worlds and reading about creatures such as witches, vampires and daemons, this should tick all the right boxes. Some of the romance was a bit too much and sickly sweet and I felt it would have been better to focus on other things.
2 people found this helpful
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on 17 August 2017
Honestly one of the best books I have ever read, and the start of my favorite trilogy of all time. The characters are engaging, thoughtfully written and interesting, and the story is intricate and clever without being overly complex and convoluted. The passion that Deborah Harkness has for her work shines through in this book and the remaining two of the trilogy. I honestly cannot recommend this book highly enough. An absolute must read for fans of the supernatural, and honestly even if you aren't normally, I would urge you to give this book a try because the writing really is that good!
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on 10 March 2018
Lots of people have complained about the time spent in academia in this novel. For me, it's one of the fascinating aspects of it. I've loved wandering the Bodleian with Diana, and I thoroughly enjoyed the speculations on genetics /DNA of the creatures in this world. Diana is a Mary Sue, but they're ubiquitous in fantasy so I'm not complaining.
I'm going to buy the next installment straight away.
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on 26 December 2015
I've kept my eye on this book for a couple of months and wasn't sure whether to buy due to the mixed reviews. I took the gamble and I'm glad that I have.

This is a fast paced story set in the world of vampires, witches, daemons and humans. Creatures are not supposed to mix due to an ancient agreement but also because the humans start to notice them more if they are together (for us humans are slow after all ;) ) Diana is a witch who doesn't use her powers and Matthew is an ancient vampire who does nothing but.

They are Doctors of science, Matthew more modern and Diana into old age alchemy. Whilst researching Diana requests a manuscript that hasn't been called for hundreds of years which starts a race from all sides to see who can get to the manuscript first. This is how Diana and Matthew meet and all rules are broken as they team up to learn the secrets of the manuscript and each other.

I do believe that Diana and Matthews relationship develops a bit quickly and I would like to see it drawn out further but apart from that I really enjoyed this book.
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on 15 September 2012
This book kept popping up here and there as a recommendation and as I enjoy a bit of paranormal fiction, I eventually decided to read it. The first thing is that it's incredibly long- which is fine when you are provided with a gripping plot, so I wasn't put off.

In the beginning, I liked the idea of the studious Diana, a quite feisty and intelligent woman, spending time in the Bodleian library for her research. Lovely! I liked the idea that she was refusing to participate in a supernatural life, but the hint that she was something really special and that it wouldn't be long before she couldn't resist the pull of it any longer. The introduction of Matthew seemed promising at first and then...

Nothing happened. Nothing. A few more chapters... nope, nothing. I thought perhaps I had been mislead about it being an intelligent paranormal story and perhaps it was more of a paranormal romance, as Diana's relationship with Matthew began to be signposted. But, nope, nothing there either. She strangely starts declaring her undying love for him out of nowhere, and he starts declaring he can't live without her, but they have barely kissed, or even had a little frisson of passion, or even a bit of flirting. Very odd. No passion after the declarations either, just quite a lot of him bossing her about. They jog along, with still nothing happening in the plot, and him behaving as though he is her father rather than her lover for life. He is always wanting her to lie down or promise that she won't go anywhere or do anything, until she becomes quite an delicate, wishy washy woman; a stark contrast to the character we met at the beginning.

The writing is generally good in terms of the technicalities, but unfortunately you really do need some plot in a paranormal book, action, excitement, danger, amazing supernatural powers at work. This books has none of those features. It is dull, dull, dull. You can criticise other paranormal writers as much as you like for being trashy, but their books have all those features and that's why they are fun to read. This tried be paranormal high-brow fiction, failed miserably and bored me to tears.

Oh, I should mention that if you are a tea lover and enjoy entire paragraphs devoted to the description of making tea, choosing tea, drinking tea and so on. Ignore everything I have said, because this is the book for you :)
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on 10 March 2018
This is my fav book of all time. Simply put it is addictive. The trio of books well worth the buy and Debs is a brilliant writer! Such drama, really believable characters, some sadness, some smiles and a book that keeps you thinking about it for days and weeks afterwards!
One person found this helpful
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