Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Discovery Of Witches--Deborah Harkness

I think I described this book as "Harry Potter for adults." That's actually an insult to the Harry Potter series--it at least had some subtlety. This book is an enjoyable romp of a read that kept me busy for a couple of nights, but it isn't in any way emotionally deep, despite attempting to create a shorthand deepness for its characters by putting them in peril.

Right, so we're in an alternate modern time in which three types of supernaturals coexist secretly with humans: witches, daemons, and vampires. Witches use magic, vampires are gorgeous but able to exist in sunlight and eat raw food and pursue their eternal interests, and daemons are brilliant but tend towards ca-ra-zy. Personally, I liked the daemons best. They seemed to be the most fun.

So Diana Bishop is an historian with a specialty in the history of science. She's also the daughter of one of the most powerful and renown prodigy witches of all time, and her daddy was no slouch either. But Diana has no interest in magic, and has never honed her powers. She blames it on the fact that when she was 7, her anthropologist parents were killed in Nigeria for being witches. So no magics for her! Science and logic only! Magic is only for use in an emergency, like when the washer overflows. So one day off in Oxford at the Bodelian, she gets her hands on a manuscript, Ashmole 782. This manuscript is supposed to be missing. And it's locked up in magic, but opens when Diana touches it. But being freaked out, she sends it back to the stacks. Dumb. Ass.

So starting the next day there's all sorts of supernatural with an interest in Diana's doings, including hottie vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont, who's all following her around, gazing at her while sleeping, taking her to yoga, being her new bestie. And then LOVE! And DANGER! And SECRETS!

Right, so Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont have a bad case of The Perfects. Maybe that's what brings them together. Because not only are they each sort of bland, but there's no emotional conflict. Oh, you stalk me? That's okay. You killed someone to protect me? Thanks, hon. Your mom hates witches? Oh, but we're getting on okay. Vampire-witch forbidden love that leads to a secret governing body to tell us to knock it off? Eh, whatevs. You don't believe in intercourse, and are all about the everything but? That's so romantic. Diana particularly has "faults" that are just additions to her perfection, like her "anxiety disorder" that fills her with adrenaline and makes her irresistible to vampires, bad dress sense, and her limited emotions. I mean, you expect a vampire to be perfect, at least.

It's not a bad book--it is very enjoyable, but as you know I'm a character-based reader and the characters in this are not that interesting. So it's just not for me.

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