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nataliya

nataliya

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” 
― Stephen King, On Writing.

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"If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals."— J.K. Rowling

'A Discovery of Witches' by Deborah Harkness - a disappointment, to say the least.

A Discovery of Witches  - Deborah Harkness

For mere two bucks I rescued this book from a dusty shelf of a local Goodwill store, adopting it with high hopes. For free, I returned it to the same shelf a few weeks later with dejected feeling, sandwiching it between a rejected copy of 'Twilight' and a tattered paperback with a shirtless guy on the cover.

 

At least it found its rightful spot. And I'm out only two dollars.

 

And I would have gladly paid more to free my own bookshelf of this book.

 

So it goes.


My books mercilessly rejected the intruder.
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The appeal of it (besides the beautiful cover deceptive in its alluring elegance of royal blue) was the introduction of a (supposedly) adult professional accomplished heroine, a history professor to boot, who allows us to take a fresh new look at supernatural occurrences rooted in history (and in a book written by a historian, too!). No sappy teen romance, no supernatural entities masking as high school bad boys, no helpless heroines in need of rescue as Diana, the protagonist, is supposedly from a strong magical line herself. 

The reality of it was a book that many characterized as 'Twilight' for adults, which is an uncannily accurate description. We have a whiny insecure heroine (her personality is roughly that of a wet dishrag) who nevertheless is treated like a special snowflake for no reason whatsoever, who falls head over heels over the first remotely hot and mind-bogglingly rich vampire who (a) doesn't really need to drink blood, (b) has an insane amount of 'protectiveness' which really boils down to stalking and over-macho patriarchalism, (c) is hauntingly tortured by his dark past, and (d) is an intolerable self-centered rage-prone jerkass.

Before my brain explodes with distaste, here is a brief list of things that are NOT sexy or attractive: stalking, kidnapping, drugging an unsuspecting person, patronizing, condescension, snobbery, uncontrollable anger, murderous tendencies, codependency, and neverending smug name-dropping.

Here is a brief list of things that do not have to happen when heroine falls in love: helplessness, fully surrendering control, dramatic drop in intelligence, sudden childishness, unexplained neverending sniffing of the male love interest, need to be constantly rescued, codependency, and propensity for irrational acts.

Please feel free to add to any of the lists above.


The plot unfolds at a snail pace, getting easily distracted by an endless tedious repetition of any trite details of the characters' lives - wardrobe, meals, tea, love struck gazing, enough wine to call an impromptu Alcoholics Anonymous meeting¹, endless hours in the library, tea, lovestruck gazing, athletic activities, more wine, more food, more tea, more wardrobe, more lovestruck gazing, more repetitive description of basically EVERYTHING in almost a diary style, padding the meager plot to an impressive doorstopper size of the finished product.

¹ Actually, maybe consuming wine in the quantities described in this book would have helped with the boredom.

On the other thought, wine tends to make me sleepy. So does this book. It would have been quite a snoozefest combo. 


Not to mention the absolutely ridiculous amount of page space given to an inter-species yoga session. Could have been worse, I suppose; it could have been vampire baseball. Or vampire cross-stitching, for all the excitement it brings.

Because of such insane repetitive padding of the tiny meager plot lines, the sizable book comes to an end right as real plot is about to start unfolding. Basically, it ends at the point where most self-respecting books would start (but of course, those self-respecting books would not have subjected the reader to such a hefty amount of tedious, superfluous detail to wonder whether the author was paid per word written).

In a nutshell, this book was boring and unoriginal, needlessly long and devoid of any exciting plot, full of filler exposition, and perpetuating ridiculous ideas about the roles of male and female love interests. Shame that such a dreck gets such a lovely cover.1 star.
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An interesting thing I observed (something I haven't seen on Goodreads yet): when I try to look up the quotes for this book,that's what I see:

Quotes Not Available
Deborah Harkness has requested that her work not be excerpted or shared on Goodreads. We are complying with her request and have removed all her quotes. To see the DMCA takedown, please click here.


I wonder if the slew of negative reviews is in any way responsible for this silliness.