Here's another one I was torn on. I LOVED the Virginia setting. She captured the mountain forests so well that I could feel myself standing among theHere's another one I was torn on. I LOVED the Virginia setting. She captured the mountain forests so well that I could feel myself standing among the trees, hunting for ginseng, listening for a panther. (There's even a character who's working for the CCC building Skyline Drive - awesome!) Holman effectively bounced around in time - 1940, 2011, 1980, 1967. The witch part was creepy, not like the bubbly witches you find in paranormal romances these days. The 1940 and 1980 storylines paralleled each other just enough to make the reader really think about whether it was coincidence or something more. Personally, I kept turning the story over in my head for a day after I finished it. I think what made me not like it as much was a) it really made my skin crawl (and I just wasn't in the right frame of mind for crawling skin), and b) her writing must have been slightly cumbersome, because an otherwise engaging story seemed to take me an awfully long time to read. Still, I think this was a good book and just right for the right kind of reader....more
This has to be one of the most bizarre books I've ever read. It's a good read, though shockingly slow. It also felt like three very distinct books.
InThis has to be one of the most bizarre books I've ever read. It's a good read, though shockingly slow. It also felt like three very distinct books.
In the first part, American witch and science (specifically alchemy) historian Diana is doing research at Oxford's Bodleian Library. There she meets vampire and scientist Matthew. She also stumbles upon a bewitched book thought to be lost for centuries. So this first part of the novel has that academic suspense feel (it reminded me of something, maybe The Historian or The Book of Spies?) and there's a lot of science and science history. There's also the obvious beginnings of a courtship between the two, although a romance would be taboo. In this first part, you accept that there are supernatural creatures walking among us, and it doesn't seem that strange.
When Diana is threatened, Matthew whisks her off to the family home in France. This is a big "getting to know the vampires" section, and the supernatural seems much further removed from the everyday. The science gives way more to history here, and the romantic tension (which still seems so faint) begins to increase.
When Diana and Matthew return to Diana's home in New York, it's a big "getting to know the witches" section, and the supernatural finally seems downright otherworldy. (It's like the contrast between Harry Potter accidentally blowing up his aunt and the sheer volume of magic that takes place when he gets to Hogwarts. That's the best comparison I can give.)
But like I said, this is one of a kind--it's almost academically scientific and historical, it philosophically examines racism, it includes a hint of romance and suspense, its characters are frightfully complex (one so old he's carrying around centuries of baggage and the other so new to her powers that she's practically coming of age)... It's a pretty slow but steady read, and I think it was worth the time it took in the end.
I don't want to give away the ending, but the last 10 pages have really made me look forward to the second book, which is going to have a lot to do with a subject of great interest to me, it seems....more