A Discovery of Witches
Despite the danger from opposing forces, a Vampire and a Witch fall in love. OR Two wieners make shit difficult for everyone because of conveniently ridiculous circumstances.
I've never really read paranormal romance; the paranormal is cool, but the romance is always too... mushy for me. I mean, I have read the Twilight series, but in my defense, so have a billion other people. And I'm totally willing to admit that I LOVED Twilight, but I assume that has something to do with Stephanie Meyers selling her soul to the Mormon Devil.
Now, after reading A Discovery of Witches, I've come to the conclusion that this book is pretty much Twilight, but with adult protagonists, and two swear words. Does this sound familiar? " 'There's a lot I don't understand about all this, Hamish, but there are three things I do know... I will not give into this craving for her blood. I do not want to control her power. And I certainly have no wish to make her a vampire.' " That's kind of similar to Twilight's "About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was part of him — and I didn’t know how potent that part might be — that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him." Coincidence? I think not. Now throw in the fact that our overbearing vampire Matthew is waiting to go all the way with his beloved simpering Witch Diana, and you have some striking similarities. I've already read Twilight; I don't need to do it again.
Another downfall is that the writing isn't that awesome. I mean, it's generally written well enough, but there are some issues. The pacing is brain-jarring. The first half of the book is draggy as fuck, with little action or excitement. The we read the second half, which is pretty much all action (and makes for way quicker reading) but it's all crammed in there with so many competing elements that it's hard to keep everything straight. There has to be a happy medium between boring as hell and too much shit to comprehend properly! Harkness also feels the need to go into every little friggin' detail about EVERYTHING. Crusty old architecture (snooze) crusty old school history (snore) even the exacting process of putting on riding gear - "The vest was snug and hard - but it wasn't as bad as I expected. The hat interfered with my ponytail, and I slid the elastic band lower to accommodate it before snapping the chin band together." Really? Is THAT how you put a hat on? I had no idea! I'm mesmerized! Harkness also mentions Matthew's eyebrow "rising into the shape of a question mark" no less than three times, with nearly the same wording each time (and clearly Matthew has never had Botox, if he can do THAT with his face).
And when she describes Miriam's "flat black curls" I was totally confused. How can a curl be flat? Is Miriam made out of paper? Is she the undead version of Flat Stanley?
BTW, the characters mostly sucked (with the exception of Juliette, the insane vampire assassin). Diana started out nervous and standoffish, and suddenly (literally, in the space of a paragraph) she this simpering idiot who literally has to be carried through most of the rest of the book and acts like a huge cunt to her family, all because she realizes she's in love with a Vampire. In fact, an exchange between Diana and her aunt sums my feelings up perfectly - " 'You've known Matthew for a few weeks. Yet you follow his orders so easily, and you were willing to die for him. Surely you can see why Sarah is so concerned. The Diana we've known all these years is gone.' 'I love him,' I said fiercely. 'And he loves me.' Matthew's many secrets - the Knights of Lazarus, Juliette, even Marcus - I pushed to the side, along with my knowledge of his ferocious temper and his need to control everything and everyone around him." That sounds EXACTLY like something a battered woman would say. If some broad said that to me, I'd be all:
But in all fairness, I was able to breeze through the latter portion of the book because it was just a bunch of action packed fluff. I was able to just accept the flaws and just go with it, and I even kind of got lost in it for a bit, until way too much stuff started going on and I started to auto-pilot. But I know that it's the first in a trilogy, and Harkness wants us to want to find out what's going to happen next, so I can't really blame her for leaving so many loose ends.
Really, I know this book is an epic. It's long and involved, and has multiple plots that could go in just about any direction. If it was horror, I'd totally be into it. But it's not. To me, it's a Twilight ripoff paranormal romance. And I generally don't enjoy that kind of stuff. But I can see how other people totally could.