For quite awhile now, I've felt a little sad and left-out of the club that has read and loved this book. At first, I convinced myself it wasn't for me. I told myself that I was SO SICK of vampire novels. (All the while I was trying to get the book on audio from my library, but the only format was on MP3, which won't work for me.) So I went back to telling myself I didn't need any more vampires in my life.
But then Heather decided to use some extra Audible credits and download it, even though she'd already read the book, and gave it to me on her iPod. That is a friend! She wanted to bestow the joys of this book upon me. I'm so glad she did.
Synopsis: Diana Bishop comes from a long and illustrious line of witches, but she has turned her back on her "gifts" because she believes it is to blame for her parents' brutal deaths when she was a child. Instead, she prefers to languish in the academia of Oxford, teaching and researching and doing smarty things.
Then one day, she unknowingly calls up an ancient bewitched manuscript from the bowels of the Oxford Bodleian Library...one that was thought to be lost forever...and all hell breaks loose. Witches, vampires, and daemons descend upon her, hoping to get a peek into the document that may have the answers to explain the origins of all other-wordly creatures.
Among those in line for a shot at Diana and said manuscript is geneticist and 1,500 year-old vampire Matthew Clairmont. Who just happens to be devastatingly handsome, smells like cloves, loves fine wine and participates in regular yoga exercise. Matthew and Diana forge an unbreakable spiritual and emotional bond, even though relationships across species has always been prohibited. In their quest to find the answers to their origins, and defend their love against the governing forces of their kind, they find that all that they know and love may be taken away from them, including their lives.
My thoughts: Ultimately, I DID enjoy this book. But I struggled with it at first. It seemed just a little corny and contrived, with talk of Matthew's glowering looks, his explosive temper, his smells and her smells, her irresistibility, and his fierce protectiveness of her. There isn't much of a warm-up to the love affair either. It is pretty instant and pretty intense. What does that remind you of? I did roll my eyes.
But Matthew is kind of a cool dude, if you can get past his desire to control Diana. He has been around, and has rubbed elbows with a whole lineup of historical figures (like Darwin or Shakespeare for example), he likes wine, and does Yoga. You have to give credit to Harkness for her fantasizing the perfect vampire to life within these pages. And Diana is no pushover. She is headstrong and gets pissy when Matthew tries to reign her in. (She DOES seem to sleep a lot, and he likes to watch her sleep, which is annoying.)
I really enjoyed how the author builds this whole world, and a whole history, that has been filled with these creatures. It is a construction job that is worthy of a trilogy (which this is, by the way). It is a world that was easy for me to get lost in, me being the student of Anne Rice and her sexy, dangerous vampires that intrigued me for books on end.
I must admit that even though life-threatening things were always happening to Diana and Matthew, I never really felt much danger. They seemed to get out of tight scrapes fairly easily, and the right person always showed up at the right time. More contrivance.
But I will continue with the series. It ended on a cliffhanger. It entertained me. Harkness is a very good storyteller.
A few words about the audio production: The narrator for this audio is Jennifer Ikeda (who does come back and narrate the sequel "Shadow of Night"). She narrated Marisa de los Santos' "Love Walked In", which charmed me to no end, and she was equally as pleasant here. Her accents were smooth and effortless, and made this listening experience very enjoyable.
Listening length: 24 hours and 2 minutes (592 pages)
4 out of 5 stars