A Letter: A Discovery of Witches

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Discovery of Witches
by Deborah E. Harkness

Dear A Discovery of Witches,

When I heard you were “Twilight for adults” I was skeptical and a bit hesitant to pick you up. Then you were available as a Kindle library loan and I thought what the heck.

When I started reading you, you reminded me more of The Historian than Twilight and I thought the Oxford setting and academia references were interesting. But then you had a vampire who sparkled and a yoga class for “creatures” and I was became wary. Really, the vampire is going to get mad if someone asks what he likes to eat for dinner when they are cooking for him? I think that’s a pretty valid question, even if he has been answering it for centuries.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed reading parts of you, but I do wish you had avoided some of the Edward/Bella clichés. I don’t care if the vampire can’t get over some woman’s smell and I get that a vampire’s skin is going to feel cool against the “hot skin of a warm blood.” Also, it’s actually a bit creepy (not sexy) to have him hunting/stalking her, even if he is “falling” for her.

Look, it’s not you, it’s me. I’m just a bit sick of the vampire thing to be honest. I don’t want to read the word chiseled to describe another gorgeous vampire. I don’t want two paragraphs on how someone smells like cloves… in every single chapter.

I really did like some of your supporting characters. You had some great sassy women (I’m looking at you Sarah) and I loved how the house became a character in its own right. But frankly, it wasn’t enough to make me really like you. There were too many repetitive plots and when I reached the end and realized I had just read 600 pages not knowing you weren’t going to resolve ANYTHING I was more than miffed. If you want to have a sequel, that’s fine, just give me some sort of heads up next time.

Burned out on vampires in the Midwest

I read this for the R.I.P. Challenge hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings.

For more R.I.P reviews visit here.


Alex (The Sleepless Reader) said...

I'm so happy I wasn't the only one! Actually, you were much better than me, because it reached a point (as they were going to France) where I just couldn't take it and gave up.

"Edward/Bella clichés" - I know!! Turning a strong, independent female lead into someone who desperately needs protection to function was the drop that spilled the glass.

I'm also feeling vampire fatigue, but notice I still have two related book in the TBR: The Historian and a modern Russian best-seller called The Night Watch.

Anne said...

Great post on this book! I actually liked it more than you did but I get all the points you made.

Sandy Nawrot said...

OMG the rave reviews of this book! And I wanted in on it, but it is too long for me to read in print, and the audio was only available on MP3 which I can't figure out how to get on my iPod. So I didn't read it. I'm a bit weary of vampires as well, but then I loved Let the Right One In. So who knows. It is a polarizing thing.

Falaise said...

Thanks! I was going to buy it but not now.

Mumsy said...

Great review...just tell me (because I'm not going to read it), was the vampire "dazzling"?

Kristi said...

Love the snark in this post! I haven't read many vampire books, but it seems like they're cropping up all over the place now. It seems like the story is a bit ripped off from Twilight. I'm not a Twilight hater (I kind of secretly enjoyed it, despite the craptastic writing), but the parts that this book seemed to have copied were the annoying/crappy parts. What gives? Good to know your thoughts. This is one I will certainly pass on.

Anonymous said...

fantastic post.

I had been curious about this book, read a few vague but positive reviews on it, but now I must thank you, because really this is not a book for me and I feel grateful for having been spared the time and the distraction.


Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Alex - Ugh, I don't blame you. I read The Historian so long before the Twilight phase that I don't even connect it to that craze.

Anne - I love that one person can like a book, another can hate it and another can be indifferent. Books are awesome.

Sandy - It Let the Right One In was anything like the movie, I bet it was awesome. This was not an BA vampire, it was a swoony vampire, very different genres in my opinion.

Falaise - Maybe borrow it, I read it as a library book.
Mumsy - Of course! The vampires are always dazzling.

Kristi - I will admit that I read and liked the Twilight books, but to me those are bubblegum reads and their really entertaining. I don't expect to be challenged by what I'm reading. This was just stealing bits from that and then pretending to be a serious book.

contemplatrix - I read a lot of good reviews, but maybe I was just in the wrong mood.

Mumsy said...

Also, have you read Robin McKinley's Sunshine? I liked THAT vampire. I hate all the other ones.

Jenny said...

I have been so fed up with vampires for ages now, and I have never been able to make it more than thirty pages into A Discovery of Witches. I was afraid that I hated vampires forever from now on. But weirdly? The show The Vampire Diaries is totally rocking my world lately. May I recommend it? It starts out pretty standard vampire fare and then suddenly becomes so tightly and rapidly plotted you can barely keep track. I said "OH SH*T" like ten times in the last episode I watched. It is unexpected and insane and soapy and awesome. Excellent vampire palate cleanser. There is some teen angst but there is also quite a bit of SUDDEN DEATH.

Heather said...

LOL, you sound so much like I did when I finished this book! I had to be talked into liking this book as much as I do. It's one of the only books I've had to be talked into liking! Although, I liked it more for the history than the vampires. I am so over the vampires.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Mumsy - I haven't, I'll have to check it out.

Jenny - I have never seen it, but I've heard from a few people that it's really good. Maybe I'll have to rent the first season and check it out.

Heather - Hmmm, I haven't been talked into it yet. But I do agree I really liked the history parts and I loved the Oxford setting.