**spoiler alert** Watch out for a few slight spoilers, guys:
3.5 stars. The author succeeded in creating a suspenseful and interesting story with some**spoiler alert** Watch out for a few slight spoilers, guys:
3.5 stars. The author succeeded in creating a suspenseful and interesting story with some fine little details. Multiple intertwining plot lines, crazy wonderful imagination, mostly interesting characters, and entertaining historical references made this an entertaining read.
Matthew is just a little too domineering + knight-in-shining-armour. Sure, a swoon-worthy hero can be fun, but when he expressly forbids Diana from doing something, or, even worse, says she HAS to take contraceptives...umm, yeah that's kind of a turn-off. I can suspend feminist beliefs for the sake of a good story but, dude, have a frank discussion with your partner about what she wants for her body. It's not like their activity had progressed to the level of conception anyway, and why was SHE the one that had to be responsible? It seemed counterintuitive for a character whose anxiety and other emotional concerns (that were outlined so heavily) to acquiesce to taking hormone pills.
Someone else on goodreads wrote a review aptly comparing Diana Bishop to Sookie Stackhouse (of the True Blood series written by Charlaine Harris and adapted by HBO). In Sookie we have a flawed but funny, telepathic human-fae with so much strength of character that she easily holds her own among immortals, despite her comparative physical frailty. With Diana we get someone who is apparently the strongest, best witch ever, who mostly buckles to the will of her mysterious new beau. She displays strength in many ways, but ultimately reads as weak. I look forward to her character's progression, however, and hope to see her continue to stand up to Matthew and grow into the badass witch she is supposed to be. The inklings are there. She has so many powers it's almost ridiculous. I guess if you're going to go for it, you may as well throw on all the glitter, but the first mention of timewalking almost elicited rolled eyes. I mean, really? She harbours every power known to witches (aside from being poor at casting spells), and each one revealed to us is described as rarer than the last. Maybe just one or two of her abilities could be described as rare rather than all of them, but, whatevs. Due to the time travel bit, this series also reminded me of Diana Gabaldan's Outlander series, but the similarities don't run too deep.
Others have compared this to Twilight. Overprotective domineering vampire male lead? Check. Awesome potential within flawed female lead? Check. Slightly wooden romance? Check. However, other details of this series offer a more academic level of interest (magical historical allusions, famous figures cast as creative genius daemons, etc). The story, while revolving around Diana and Matthew, is also about solving an old mystery and wider acceptance of magical creatures and inter-species relationships (read: pro gay marriage, also like the Sookie Stackhouse series). It had a similar feel to reading Twilight in that I felt like i could have spent my time *better* by reading something more academic/impressive, but it is what it is, and that is a fun story in which to lose oneself.
Matthew and Diana, while proclaiming their passion for one another, can appear a little tame. I'm not sure how this is possible considering some of the book's events, and the fact that there exists a nice amount of romantic tension early in the book, but, somehow they appear rather reserved despite their supposedly passionate love. This is especially true as the novel nears its end.
Also, at a thousand (electronic) pages, this could probably be trimmed since not a lot *happens* (somehow?).
Despite these faults, it's a vastly entertaining, page-turning read and worth the journey for romantic fantasy fans....more