Kristina's Reviews > Shadow of Night

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
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Nov 25, 15

did not like it
bookshelves: brain-candy, fiction, nook-book, hated-em, vamps-werewolves-zombies-angels, suck, wtf, hyped, omg-this-book-is-so-dumb
Recommended to Kristina by: no one. I was dumb enough to tell myself to read it.
Recommended for: masochists
Read from July 15 to 21, 2012

Because this is such a long book (too long), I'm going to give periodic reviews--every 100 pages or so--then write an overview of the book that wraps everything up about the book I hate. I already say hate because it's apparent from the first 97 pages I've read that Harkness makes all the same mistakes/repeats all the same themes from the first book. Warning--my review will have spoilers. I mean, I will try not to divulge really important events (if they actually happen, ha ha) but I may discuss things that you the future reader of this book may not want to know.

As for the first 97 pages of this novel, nothing happens. Matthew and Diana arrive in late 16th century England (1590) and we meet Christopher Marlowe, Walter Raleigh, Henry the duke (who I assume is also a historical figure) and assorted other characters, some of whom are daemons and vampires (Christopher Marlowe is a daemon whose nickname is "Kit"). They spend a whole lot of time talking and trying to figure out why Diana is so weird (apparently the two brainiacs Matthew and Diana are surprised that her 21st century American mannerisms, speech and personality are out of place in Elizabethan England) and when it is revealed she is a witch and a time-spinner (I think that is the term used), a cover story is created to explain her sudden appearance in Matthew's life and where she came from. What kills me about this story is that it is impossibly complicated, bizarre and unbelievable and any good liar knows that the more complex a lie, the harder it is to remember. So Diana (who has yet to impress me with her intellectual abilities) is struggling to remember her life story, how to write the Elizabethan way (the description of her practicing her script is ridiculously long and boring), and trying to convince everyone that yes, she is a witch (ha ha).

Eventually Matthew decides to get to the business that brought them to this time period: finding a witch professor for Diana so she can learn to be a witch. Their whole method of going about this is idiotic. Wouldn't you think they would have searched history (before leaping into the past) looking for a witch professor? Diana's a witch and a scholar--wouldn't she know who in the past would have been a great teacher for her? Matthew lived in this time period so wouldn't he know? I mean, he seems to freaking know everyone else historically important of that time period. No, they went into the past with no idea of who could help her and so Matthew decides to put out what amounts to a 16th century craigslist advertisement. This is what Diana says about that: "The late 16th century really isn't a good time to openly ask around for a witch, Matthew." Ha, you think so? The interview with the witch (who resembles the cartoon version of a witch down to a wart on her nose) goes as well as everyone expected--that is, it's a complete disaster. So now the witch (to protect herself from being labeled as a witch) is now claiming that Diana made her sick, yadda yadda yadda and while some members of this over-peopled household are worried about the rumors, Matthew is arrogant and says, "Eh, it's just gossip. It'll blow over." He is supremely stupid for a vampire who has lived through many ages and has seen what village gossip can do--it can get his wife burned at the stake. So someone (who knows which character because there are too damn many of them) says, hey, the village elder and religious leader are coming to accuse Diana of being a witch (which is hilarious because she is the most useless witch ever) and Matthew is like, eh, no biggie, and they all sit around bantering and exchanging witticisms as if they are at a cocktail party. At the end of this chapter, Matthew is summoned by his father to visit him and Diana goes too (of course). It is also revealed that not only is Matthew a vampire extraordinaire, he is also a: member of the Congregation, a member of the Order of Lazarus and a spy. I'm a little foggy on the spy stuff because I just didn't care and the explanation made no sense to me--something about Protestants and Catholics blah blah blah.

Thus, it is already obvious to me that this sequel is following the same path as the first book: lots of extraneous details about clothes, Diana's writing practice, food and the idiotic conversations between the characters which I'm guessing the author thinks are amusing (they aren't); Diana is still the most awesome-ist witch ever...who can do nothing practical; when trouble finds them, they change location; and now apparently Matthew isn't just a highly intelligent vampire, he is also friends with anyone who matters and a member of two (at page 97) powerful secret organizations AND a spy. My oh my he is a busy guy. No wonder he hasn't had time to have sex with his wife yet. I don't know why the author has to make these two characters so incredibly powerful and (at least as far as Matthew is concerned) influential. They are like super-paranormal-heroes whose fatal flaws are their incredible stupidity (and inability to plan ahead).

So from page 97 to page 298 guess what happens? A whole lotta nothing. Well, nothing that moves the plot forward, whatever the hell the plot is in this book. Here are a few noteworthy events:

1. Philippe, Matthew's father (who is also a vamp), marries them again. There are pages of the pre-wedding ceremony, the wedding, the wedding party...and for those of you waiting with breathless anticipation (I don't know who you are, but you will be bummed) for their passion (ha ha) to be consummated--it is! And it's the most boring sex scene ever. Total snoozer. These two have about as much passion and chemistry as worms mating. Say what you will about the Twilight series, but at least Bella and Edward had passion.
2. Diana kills a witch. Whoopsie. Guess we have to relocate. Again.
3. So, I'm more thrilled by this...the reappearance of the stretchy black pants! Woo! How did this happen in 16th century England you ask? Well, Matthew (who is a tailor among all his other fantastical skills) cut up and then sewed together a pair of his hose so she could have something resembling her beloved stretchy black pants. I'm so happy for her.
4. I have a problem with this sentence: "Matthew considered telling me that it was a secret but wisely refrained" (page 222). The book is being told from Diana's perspective, so how does she know what Matthew is thinking? How does she know he wisely refrained from speaking? This is poor writing and equally poor editing.
5. Another nitpick (I could do this more because the book is full of stupid sentences but I'm selecting the ones that really irritate me): Diana is in London and comments that the carriages she sees in the streets look nothing like the carriages in Jane Austen films. Oh, Diana, you scholarly moron. Maybe that's because Jane Austen was born two centuries later (late 18th century) and the movie people did their research and used carriages appropriate to the time. Sigh.
5. Gallowglass calling Diana "Auntie" is annoying as hell.

I can't figure out this book. There's just no logic to it. Diana and Matthew and their entourage of extraneous characters move from city to city while she shops and learns to be a 16th century woman and Matthew does whatever he is supposed to be doing. I'm so bored with this book. I detest both of the main characters because they are written completely without depth--they don't have enough character in their characters for me to be interested in them or care about them. They are vapid and boring and annoying. And I don't understand what kind of vampires inhabit Harkness's world. They apparently can eat and drink human food/liquids, stay out day or night, don't necessarily have to drink human blood...I mean, they just aren't very vampire-y. The mythology of the creatures (witches, vampires, daemons) is so poorly defined that I don't know what they are supposedly capable of/what their powers are. I'm about half-way through the book and I don't see that the story has even started yet. Is this the world's longest prologue?

A Few More Bitchy Nitpicks and Overall Opinion of this Crappy Book

I wasted a few hours of this partially sunny Saturday morning finishing up this book so I could be done with it. Hell, even 50 Shades of Idiocy is better than this book. First, a few more nitpicks:
1. My confusion regarding the role of supernatural creatures in the world (past and present) continues. It seems that almost everyone (that is, humans) know these creatures exist, but for some reason the creatures are concerned about keeping themselves undetectable, but most humans seem to know they are around. Huh?
2. Supposedly witches and vampires so powerful and scary, yet Matthew and Diana (and their crew of assorted humans, daemons and vampires) allow themselves to be bullied and ordered around by humans. Queen Elizabeth orders them to Prague, they go. The Emperor of Prague (or whomever Rudolf was) pushes them around and they allow it. I don't understand this. These are the most ineffectual supernatural creatures in popular fiction.
3. In keeping with the above complaint, the long, drawn-out nonsense of their visit to Prague is mind-boggling stupid. Rudolf wants Diana (because, along with all her other talents, she is scrumptious eye candy) and neither Diana nor Matthew like that. So Rudolf pursues and she resists...but why didn't they use this to their advantage? He has the Ashmole manuscript they want, he wants Diana. You're telling me they couldn't have used his desire against him, tricked him and gained the book from him? Oh, right, that would presume planning and cleverness on their part, skills they particularly lack. Plus Diana didn't finish her witchy training since they went to Prague when she started learning how to weave her magical threads.
4. This whole declaration grosses me out: "After all my searching, I discover that I am who always was: Matthew de Clermont. Husband. Father. Vampire. And I am here for only one reason: to make a difference" (page 479). Well, goody for you, Matthew. Make a difference in what? Eye roll.
5. That whole "oh, no, Diana's in trouble again but this time she saves herself" load of bs near the end was meaningless. Kit (Christopher Marlowe) and Louisa (Matthew's sister) try to kill Diana but eventually the idiot remembers she's a witch with a firedrake living in her gut so she saves herself. This whole scene is forced. First, Kit has betrayed Diana to other witches over and over again. Why is he even still with them? He's in love with Matthew (of course) and it's clear he wants her gone. Matthew is so quick to remove anyone who endangers Diana, even friends, but he allows Kit to remain? And Diana, who knows Kit is perpetually up to no good, willingly follows him to an area where they are alone and is surprised when he wants to do her harm. Everything about this confrontation is false and dumb and for what purpose? For us to know Diana can save herself? Who cares.
6. Another first person/third person screw-up: "And there's no chance my going any faster, Matthew thought..." WTF. First, the obvious--if the book is told in first person, you know only the thoughts of that person. That's why it's called "first person." If Harkness had wanted us to know what Matthew is thinking, she should have written in third person omniscient. And the two times she's made this idiot error it's to reveal thoughts that aren't significant or interesting. Matthew's thought above is about how he can't possibly drive the car any faster. Who knows why readers needed to know this but the book is full of stupidity so nothing surprises me.
7. I'm not sure what the point of the last chapter was. I found it to be a rather uninspiring and boring way to end the book. I'm guessing Harkness wanted to show how her character Anne ends up being in Shakespeare's household. Is this Anne supposed to be the Anne he marries? Anne Hathaway was about 10 years older than Shakespeare and they married when he was 18...but whatever. Harkness could also be implying that she didn't think Shakespeare wrote his own material, that Christopher Marlowe at the very least inspired some of it. This theory makes me crazy (because it's been disproven over and over again), but again, whatever. The author is making use of "artistic license" here so who am I to complain?

This book has been a nightmare to read. The first book had at least a story of some sort to keep me reading and Diana and Matthew (at least in the beginning) were interesting and likeable characters. This sequel is awful. Diana and Matthew are idealized creations--they have all the best talents, they are supremely unique, they will affect the future, Matthew knows everyone and is involved in all sorts of intrigues, plus he has time to be an architect and romance the Queen of England. They are too perfect and have no real obstacles to overcome.

Nothing happens in this novel. Diana and Matthew float through its pages and allow things to happen to them, but they never take charge and make anything happen. I don't see how they are any different at the conclusion of the novel than they were at the beginning. Diana knows a little more witchcraft, their marriage is stronger (so the author says but I don't see any difference) but nothing substantial has changed. They didn't learn anything from the Ashmole book except that the material it is made from is particularly gruesome. They didn't seem to gain any knowledge or experience worthwhile the whole time they wandered around the 16th century. This book is just one long description of food, scents and clothes. Which may have been okay if the author knew how to bring historical scenes alive, but she doesn't. This is a semi-historical book with supernatural creatures thrown in.

The number of historical figures who make appearances in this book is overwhelming. The historical name-dropping is annoying. Making Christopher Marlowe a daemon and Walter Raleigh a knight in the Order of Lazarus added nothing to the novel. In fact, the addition of all the historical figures did nothing for the novel whatsoever. They didn't move the plot forward (again, what's the plot?) and these historical people popped up so often it became a game of Historical Whack-A-Mole. I hated how Harkness tied these people into her characters' lives. Like much of the novel's contents, there was no need for it.

With this novel, Harkness seems to have created her idealized version of an extended family (the overly sentimental scene at the end had me gagging), her idealized version of herself and her perfect mate, and as a historian she of course added into the novel all of her favorite historical figures. (Well, maybe she didn't like Christopher Marlowe since he was such a jerk.) But she stuffed the novel with a multitude of meaningless events, too many forgettable characters and pages and pages of boring food and clothing descriptions. What she neglected was a compelling plot. Harkness seems to have written this novel merely to please herself and her interests and forgot about her readers. This is a self-indulgent book written by an author who is spoiled by a lack of editorial oversight. An editor with any sense and skill could have shaped this shapeless lump of a novel into a compelling, suspenseful read with intriguing characters. Instead we got this mess. There's no way in hell I will suffer through the next novel. Life's too short to read another one of Harkness's bad books.

P.S.
I feel as if I should add something about the time travel part of the book. It bothered me when I was reading it, but so much of the book is wrong that I completely forget about it when writing this review. I've read a certain amount of time-traveling books but I don't really pay too much attention to the mechanics of it (which is funny since I am a huge sci-fi geek) as long as it seems to make some kind of logical sense (within the novel). In this book, I was okay with the current Matthew disappearing and his place being taken up by future Matthew however the idea that when he and Diana leave events will flow on as before, unchanged, left me banging my head on my desk. Huh? Won't someone notice that he's missing a wife? Won't the 16th century Matthew come back and wonder what the heck's been going on? That made no freaking sense to me at all. You can't just have your characters pop in, change things up, then pop out again and expect no one to notice or for them not to change future events. Everyone with a brain knows that. Again, more evidence that Harkness had no freaking idea of what the hell she was doing with this book. At her author presentation I attended, someone asked her how she wrote the book and taught and promoted the first book all at the same time. Well, yeah, you can see how she did it--the book reflects how little thought and re-writing she put into it. Where oh where was her editor?!!!!


Addition:
Despite my above statement that there is no way in hell I will read the last book in the trilogy, I did. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. Here's the link: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...






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Reading Progress

07/15 page 97
17.0%
07/19 page 298
51.0% "Hating every minute of this book." 2 comments
07/20 page 401
69.0% "Hate." 2 comments
02/08 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-50 of 229) (229 new)


message 1: by Lilia (new)

Lilia I had exactly the same problem: page after page of Diana telling me (not showing me) how smart she is, followed by repeated demonstrations of baffling stupidity. The story took off for me, though, about halfway through the first book (after the vampires doing yoga). Now...here we go again. Diana and Matthew, with centuries of education and experience, proving totally incompetent at every task they pursue. Sheesh.


message 2: by Tonya (new) - added it

Tonya Thank you for throwing yourself on the pyre and reading this so I don't have to. I love that they're already so messed up only 100 pages in & it's a shame such a stupid vampire hasn't gotten staked by now ;)


Kristina Tonya wrote: "Thank you for throwing yourself on the pyre and reading this so I don't have to. I love that they're already so messed up only 100 pages in & it's a shame such a stupid vampire hasn't gotten staked..."

Ha ha. It is too bad Matthew hasn't been staked yet. He's a moron. Diana isn't much better. I dislike them both. This book is really really really bad.


Hoda Kristina. You are a genius. Can i give you're commentary 5 stars? This book is a historical fiction first, and paranormal as a foot note. Not to mention, the perpetual description of the odor of minutia has not added to the experience. It is only slowing me down. Cloves, lavender, mint... I'm not riveted


message 5: by Tonya (new) - added it

Tonya I'm lol-ing at the 'historical whack-a-mole' :D
Since you went through all that did Harkness ever get around to letting these two idiots have sex? I know some women are going to be a might miffed if they don't.


Hoda Ive read biology books with invertebrates having better sex


message 7: by Jfm (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jfm Finally - a review of that acknowledges how insipid this book is! Thank you! I can barely finish it.


Crossfinn I just wanted to clear up a few of the errors/misunderstandings in this review.
“A cover story is created to explain her sudden appearance in Matthew's life and where she came from. What kills me about this story is that it is impossibly complicated, bizarre and unbelievable and any good liar knows that the more complex a lie, the harder it is to remember.”
Diana doesn’t devise this cover story; Matthew’s friends do. Diana calls the story “melodramatic in the extreme.” I believe the point here is that he “learned men” of the period have a few things to learn.
“Wouldn’t you think they would have searched history (before leaping into the past) looking for a witch professor? Matthew lived in this time period so wouldn’t he know?”
There was no such thing as a “witch professor” in 16-century England because sorcery was not an academic discipline but a furtively practiced art that could get you burned at the stake. As a vampire, Matthew had no interest in witches before he met Diana, so witches would not have been on his radar. And, as the previous book pointed out, Diana is an unusual sort of witch who needs an unusual sort of teacher. You do, however, get the point that Matthew is being an idiot to search for a witch in the way he does. Diana tries to tell him so: ““The late sixteenth century really isn’t a good time to openly ask around for a witch, Matthew.’ Once again he dismissed my concern.”

“Diana is in London and comments that the carriages she sees in the streets look nothing like the carriages in Jane Austen films. Oh, Diana, you scholarly moron. Maybe that's because Jane Austen was born two centuries later (late 18th century) and the movie people did their research and used carriages appropriate to the time.”
I am confident that both Diana and the author (an Elizabethan historian) know that 16-century carriages didn’t look like 19th-century carriages. This is simply a way of describing the street scene.

“I have a problem with this sentence: ‘Matthew considered telling me that it was a secret but wisely refrained’ (page 222). The book is being told from Diana's perspective, so how does she know what Matthew is thinking?”
Because by now she knows that 9 times out of 10, his answer is that “it’s a secret”?

“In fact, the addition of all the historical figures did nothing for the novel whatsoever.”
I think we’d better reserve judgment on this: Remember that it’s the middle book of a trilogy.


Kristina Crossfinn wrote: "I just wanted to clear up a few of the errors/misunderstandings in this review.
“A cover story is created to explain her sudden appearance in Matthew's life and where she came from. What kills me a..."


Those aren't errors or misunderstandings. Those are my perceptions of the book. A book should have to stand on its own without explanations. As for Matthew being a vamp and not interested in witches, that is an error. As we see from reading the book, Matthew was apparently locating witches and sending them to prison/to the stake for whatever king/queen he was working for. The new "I'm married to a witch" Matthew was trying to undo his damage. So I think Matthew, who is acquainted with apparently every person of exceptional talent (including daemons) would be aware of a witch who would have the skills to help Diana.

I have no doubt that the author would know what carriages were used in the late 16th century. I'm not taking a shot at the author, except to say that she makes Diana look like an imbecile. It may be a way of describing the street scene, but it's worded in a way that makes Diana look stupid.

As for the third person/first person: it's not a matter of what Diana thinks Matthew's answer is going to be based on his habit of keeping secrets, this is purely technical. The reader knows his thoughts, which we shouldn't since the book is written from Diana's perspective (first person). The author could have better written the sentence: "I could see Matthew was going to tell me this was a secret, but he closed his mouth and refrained" --something that lets me know this is what she thinks he is thinking.

I don't have to reserve judgement about the historical figures adding nothing of substance to the novel. I mean this novel, not the series as a whole.

I appreciate your feedback, but I understood the novel perfectly. I thought it was boring, badly written, badly edited and a complete mess.


Kristina Hoda wrote: "Kristina. You are a genius. Can i give you're commentary 5 stars? This book is a historical fiction first, and paranormal as a foot note. Not to mention, the perpetual description of the odor of mi..."

A genius? That's awesome, but no, I'm just cranky. I'm a critical reader who gets irritated with crappy books that are hyped to unbelievable levels, sell exceptionally well but aren't very good. There are many, many good books out there that never break the top 50 in the NYT best seller list but junk like this does. Grrrr.


Kristina Tonya wrote: "I'm lol-ing at the 'historical whack-a-mole' :D
Since you went through all that did Harkness ever get around to letting these two idiots have sex? I know some women are going to be a might miffed i..."


Those same women may be miffed because any romantic connection/physical chemistry these two had was not to be found in this book. The consummation scene was quite dreary. I've read teen books with better action. See Hoda's comment below.


Kristina Jfm wrote: "Finally - a review of that acknowledges how insipid this book is! Thank you! I can barely finish it."

I finished it out of a sense of duty so I could write this review. It was agonizing reading this and no exaggeration. I dreaded picking up my Nook. Not counting the fluff I'm reading now, I'm going to have to read several excellent and smart books all in a row to cleanse my brain.


Kristina So just a little FYI for anyone interested--this past Sunday a friend and I heard Deborah Harkness speak about this book. My friend kinda liked the book, but was disappointed that it wasn't better and I hated it. Harkness read a few excerpts from the book which neither of us cared about; we wanted to hear her talk about the book. For anyone who doesn't know, Harkness is a historical scholar who specializes (I'm pretty sure) in Elizabethan England. Her reasons for having Matthew know all these historical people in the 16th century is based on a real man who did know (or at least had working relationships with) many famous historical characters of the late 16th century. However, when she tried to do research on this man, there was little to know because he didn't leave much trace of himself behind. Harkness thought that's how a vampire would be: he would know all these people, but slip in and out of history and leave no trace of himself. Which I like and I agree is a great idea, but in practice didn't work so well. That was the theme of the hour (she talked exactly one hour, no more, no less): she explained the ideas behind the book and my friend and I said, "Wow--that sounds like a great book! Too bad that's not what she wrote because we want to read that book!"

Also, from Harkness's perspective, this book is a love story; she thinks the focus is (or should be) on Diana and Matthew's marriage and how it changed and grew deeper, etc., during this book. She sees the trilogy itself as primarily a love story. Sooooo...if you don't like your love stories, here's a heads up for you.

Few other tidbits: Ashmole 786 or 726 or whatever number it is IS a real manuscript. It is an alchemical manuscript she wanted to do research on but couldn't find because it is apparently missing from the library. Warner Brothers bought the rights to the trilogy (because Hollywood can't come up with anything original these days) and the script for the first book is completed. Will the books be better as movies? Hmmm...let the debate begin. Also, during the q&a, an odd dude wearing a football jersey stepped up to the mike and declared that he was a "witch...a Wiccan" and it was funny because Harkness seemed a bit nonplussed by this information. She recovered well and answered his question so points for her. Harkness herself seems smart and funny and she has good ideas but unfortunately for me (and my friend) the books developed from those ideas leave much to be desired.


message 14: by Gail (new) - rated it 2 stars

Gail Sadly I've thrown in the towel at page 132. Not one thing had happened and I'm not liking/enjoying it at all. Such a massive disappointment and I'm devastated with how the sequel has turned out.


message 15: by Kristina (last edited Aug 03, 2012 06:07AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Kristina Gail wrote: "Sadly I've thrown in the towel at page 132. Not one thing had happened and I'm not liking/enjoying it at all. Such a massive disappointment and I'm devastated with how the sequel has turned out."

Even though I wasn't crazy about the first book, I hoped the sequel would be better but instead it's much worse. And if I was disappointed (and I didn't expect much), then anyone who was anticipating the book is probably devasted. And that's too bad because it does suck when a book you've been anticipating disappoints. I think what we the readers are missing is that Harkness doesn't see her books (the trilogy) as a supernatural mystery (the Ashmole manuscript and the genetics/alchemy) or as a battle: Diana and Matthew vs. the Congregation (and other supernatural beings) who want to keep them apart. She sees the novels primarily as a love story; the progression of the love affair/relationship between Diana and Matthew and how two people of wildly different backgrounds (species?) can overcome obstacles and stay together. When I heard her speak a few weeks ago, that's what she emphasized: the book as a love story. The problem with that is she's created Diana and Matthew as such perfect creatures (possessed of all these powers) that they don't have many obstacles to overcome. I mean, she talked a lot about how their relationship grew deeper etc., etc. due to the events of this book, but I don't see that they had to overcome a whole lot. Instead of facing problems (which they caused), they just relocated and caused more problems there (which they again ran from). If Harkness wants to know about lovers overcoming obstacles and still maintaining their relationship, she should read Diana Gabaldon's series about Jamie and Claire. Now, they had obstacles to overcome. Plus the time travel in those books made a whole lot more sense.


Mary B I have to chuckle at readers who hate a book only to spend so much energy and space writing about a book they find so awful. If ya didn't like the first one why would you read the second. Let me give ya a tip...don't attempt the third when it comes out.....just sayin.


message 17: by Tonya (new) - added it

Tonya Mary B wrote: "I have to chuckle at readers who hate a book only to spend so much energy and space writing about a book they find so awful. If ya didn't like the first one why would you read the second. Let me gi..."

Well Mary I'd say she wrote the review just to get snarky comments from people like you but I know why she did because I read her review and the comments.
Your comment, however, leads me to believe that either you're trying to be insulting or you have no reading comprehension and that's why you can't tell why she read the book & gave this mess 4 stars...
'just sayin'


Crossfinn I believe Mary was trying to say there's no reason to be insulting to the author. With which I completely agree.


Mary B Lol


message 20: by Noel (new) - rated it 4 stars

Noel Rooks This is a funny review, but I have to point out a few things. Harkness is an Elizabethan scholar. The School of Night really did exist, and Henry was an influential part of Elizabeth's court. Sir Walter Raleigh should need no introduction. Christopher Marlowe is quite famous, and it is not only in the context of this book that he was known as Kit. It was what everyone called him at the time. I'm fairly certain he was not, in fact, a demon, but all other details ring true. Obviously we disagreed on this book, I found Harkness's attention to accurate detail quite interesting. I think there are ways the book could be improved - Diana is super witch and Matthew the uber vampire - but I think that it wasn't *that bad, if the reader understands the historical context in which it takes place. YMMV, obviously.


Kristina Mary B wrote: "I have to chuckle at readers who hate a book only to spend so much energy and space writing about a book they find so awful. If ya didn't like the first one why would you read the second. Let me gi..."

I actually was so-so on the first one. I read the second one because I was curious to see where Harkness went with the characters and I was hoping it would be better. Obviously, I hated the second one and found it worse. I spent the time and energy writing this review because the first review has so many "likes" that I figured those same people may be interested in what I thought of this book. Also, I couldn't NOT have put the effort into the review. The book was so horrible I actually had to stop myself from writing more. And Mary, if you had read my whole review (or any of it) you would see that near the end I conclude that I will NOT be reading the last book.


Kristina Crossfinn wrote: "I believe Mary was trying to say there's no reason to be insulting to the author. With which I completely agree."

I would like you and Mary to please point out ONE instance of my being insulting to the author. I say nothing personal about the author because I do not KNOW the author. In fact, had either of you read the comments, you would notice that further down I mention that at the author talk I attended, I found her funny and smart. A good writer? Absolutely not. As soon as you publish a piece of work, your work is open to criticism. Criticism is a good thing--or should be. As long as it is constructive (I didn't like this BECAUSE xxxx). Again, I'm being criticized simply for not liking the book and quite frankly, no matter how often you fault me for not liking the book, I'm NOT GOING TO LIKE IT.


Crossfinn "Really, Harkness? Are you one of those idiots who insist Shakespeare isn't the author of his own amazing work?"


Kristina Noel wrote: "This is a funny review, but I have to point out a few things. Harkness is an Elizabethan scholar. The School of Night really did exist, and Henry was an influential part of Elizabeth's court. Si..."

Um, yeah, thanks Noel. I KNOW she is an Elizabethan scholar. I believe I mention that further down. I'm quite aware that the School of Night existed, etc., etc. I don't dispute her historical accuracy. And I would certainly agree that she was detailed. I understood the historical context. Again, quit trying to tell my why I didn't like the book! I stated why I didn't like the book! Sheesh.


Kristina Tonya wrote: "Mary B wrote: "I have to chuckle at readers who hate a book only to spend so much energy and space writing about a book they find so awful. If ya didn't like the first one why would you read the se..."

It kills me that the people who disagree with my review (here and the other book) aren't so much disagreeing with the points I've made but are trying to tell me that if I read the book differently, had a better understanding of history, etc. I would have liked the book. It's exhausting trying to explain to the dissenters they cannot tell me how to think. In order for me to have liked this book I would have to be a completely different person. The only person who actually did argue with my review in a constructive way was Crossfinn, although her/his comment about my being insulting to the author was made with absolutely no evidence to back it up. Apparently you aren't allowed to NOT like popular books on goodreads?


Kristina Kristina wrote: "Crossfinn wrote: "I believe Mary was trying to say there's no reason to be insulting to the author. With which I completely agree."

I would like you and Mary to please point out ONE instance of my..."


Score for you Crossfinn! When I re-read my review the other day I actually thought I should take that out. I was fairly worked up by that point and let my emotions get the better of me. I will probably re-word that because "idiot" is insulting, although I do provide context.


Kristina Crossfinn--I replied on the wrong comment. Obviously I'm responding to the example you provided.


Kristina So, to anyone keeping track, I re-wrote a small section of my review to remove the insulting word "idiot." I did this ONLY because I agreed with Crossfinn that it was insulting. My thoughts regarding the final chapter are still the same, just expressed differently.


message 29: by Pam (new) - rated it 1 star

Pam I agree completely with your review.


Kristina Merty wrote: "It always amazes me how someone who didn't like a book will spend pages and pages complaining about it. Really."

Hey, Merty, we've already covered this. I am guessing you probably didn't read the review, did you? I'm always amazed that people who liked the book feel the need to find a negative review and complain about the negative review...knowing that it's negative. Really.


message 31: by Tonya (new) - added it

Tonya Merty wrote: "When I begin a book, and if I hate it, I stop reading it, after giving it the 50 page rule. I also noticed you spend alot of time reading books you hate because you even have 2 pages of books that ..."

I'm glad you have a rule that a book must entertain you within 50 pages, that's a good rule for YOU others find when they pick up a book they should read it through to the end for many other reasons all their own.
Kristina did not 'bash' the book she gave a well thought, well phrased review of this book which is more than I can say for you, Merty, to comment on a book and a review you've not read is a waste of time and energy. What irony is that...
Kristina wrote: "Merty wrote: "It always amazes me how someone who didn't like a book will spend pages and pages complaining about it. Really."

Hey, Merty, we've already covered this. I am guessing you probably d..."


I find it amusing when people find reviews, don't read them, and haven't even read the books they're commenting on the review for. I then remember that there is a genus of humans called 'Trolls' and that they are hairy, small, tight-assed snobs that live under bridges with wi-fi that spend their days scouting the interwebs in an attempt to berate people over issues they have no knowledge of.


Julie Since everyone here is so good at analyzing, could someone plse tell me what happened to Dianas Aunt Emily? At the end, they said she gave her life so baby Margaret could live. Ive scanned the book to see if when I was speed reading I missed her death. Did the author skip over this important part? or did I? Of all the important things to miss..... help me folks. thanks!!!


message 33: by Floody (new)

Floody Thank you for your review. I felt the same about the first novel. I was annoyed at it's lack of movement. I was tossing the idea around that maybe the second one would have matured a bit and I might give it a chance.
But if it's like the first one, I'm not going to bother.
Thanks for the tip.


Kristina Merty wrote: "When I begin a book, and if I hate it, I stop reading it, after giving it the 50 page rule. I also noticed you spend alot of time reading books you hate because you even have 2 pages of books that ..."

Yeah, okay, Merty, I've kinda had enough of you and anyone else who feels the need to criticize me personally. This is a place to read reviews and discuss the reviews and the book being reviewed, not complain about the person writing the reviews. I've already answered the questions about why I write reviews of books I don't like. I don't feel the need to explain myself to you since you don't even take the time to read all the comments. If you did, you'd see that I also explained why I went to see the author speak. The word "review" doesn't necessarily mean you will say something good about the book. What's the point of that?

You are a prime example of people who annoy the shit out of me. You haven't read the book so you haven't read the review and you don't read the comments YET you feel the need to make all sorts of assumptions based on the fact that I gave the book one star. You don't know me. So what if you have a 50 page rule? So do I! So what if I have two pages of books I don't like? I read A LOT of books. I also have two shelves called "loved'em" and "favorites." I also write long reviews for books I like. I don't care if you don't understand why someone would spend the energy writing a review for a book she doesn't like. That lack of intuition and intelligence is your problem, not mine. I, however, can completely understand why a person like yourself who hasn't read the book, the review OR earlier comments WOULD spend a lot of time making negative comments here.

Just an FYI for you (and any other posters who wish to engage in this nonsense): I'm deleting further comments that don't contain some kind of intelligent points about the book or my review. Posts about me personally and how I am lacking as a person because I don't like the book are NOT intelligent and worthy of my time or anyone else's time. Goodreads has a discussion area so if you wish to discuss how people who dare to dislike the book (or write really long, detailed reviews of books they disliked) are jerks and whatnot, then please go there and do it. I've wasted enough time responding to this crap.


Kristina Floody wrote: "Thank you for your review. I felt the same about the first novel. I was annoyed at it's lack of movement. I was tossing the idea around that maybe the second one would have matured a bit and I migh..."

You are welcome Floody. Thank you for providing an example of why I would write a long and detailed review of book I disliked.


Kristina Julie wrote: "Since everyone here is so good at analyzing, could someone plse tell me what happened to Dianas Aunt Emily? At the end, they said she gave her life so baby Margaret could live. Ive scanned the boo..."

Julie, I wish I could help you but I donated my copy of the first book to the library. If I can get my hands on another copy (or find out another way) I will try to answer the question for you. I don't remember that character dying either so maybe it was one of those things that was implied by the author but she didn't describe it in a detailed scene?


message 37: by Tonya (last edited Aug 11, 2012 01:38PM) (new) - added it

Tonya Merty wrote: "I'm entitled to my opinion and my observation in regard to any review.
And you both are truely examples of a bully, both of you, Kristina and Tonya. ..."


I don't understand your logic. YOU came to Kristina's review, a review you haven't read with comments you haven't read and told her you thought it was stupid to waste so much time and energy to read a book she didn't like.
How is Kristina being a bully by defending her review, her right to read a book?
You can call me a bully but in my opinion you're a trouble maker and now your pouting like a petulant child that got told to stand in the corner.

Merty wrote: ""I then remember that there is a genus of humans called 'Trolls' and that they are hairy, small, tight-assed snobs that live under bridges with wi-fi that spend their days scouting the interwebs in..."

Oh, I'm so sorry I've offended you... nope, I'm not. You came to a review that gave a book a low rating. You did not read the review (by your own admission), you have not read the book, and you have not read the comments but decided to leave a useless comment in an attempt to belittle the person who wrote a well thought out review.
As for my comment being uncalled for, well if the bridge fits sit under it.


message 38: by Pam (new) - rated it 1 star

Pam Ladies, I have a history with Merty and I will tell you that you are wasting your breath and energy on any further comments. She is not capable of forming an original idea or thought and is, no doubt, being fed her repsonses. She is also not capable of realizing any of the points that you are trying to make because she is completely inflexible to anyone else's thoughts and feelings.

This was fun reading the back and forth banter in the beginning, but now, it is just sad as it reminds me so much of my time at readinggroupguides.com. (shivers down my spine)


Kristina These bullies are under the impression that any reaction to them is about critical reviews, using the argument that they have a right to express their opinions. We are not here to fight against critical reviews. That is not what our campaign is about. It is about their bullying behaviour towards others which is becoming increasingly disturbing. We are here to expose that.

Why thank you Merty. I believe you fit the definition of a goodreads bully. I respectfully request you to stop commenting here until you have read this book and can make an intelligent comment about the book and/or my review--not about me personally.


message 40: by Kristina (last edited Aug 12, 2012 01:02PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Kristina Pam wrote: "Ladies, I have a history with Merty and I will tell you that you are wasting your breath and energy on any further comments. She is not capable of forming an original idea or thought and is, no do..."

Yes, Pam, I have also come to this conclusion. This is why I am deleting her posts. I have already done so. I like to read and review books and when I know I am going to write an indepth review of a book, I take notes so that my review is as accurate as possible. I enjoy writing these reviews and getting constructive feedback (even if posters disagree with me) but I am tired of this meaningless back and forth. This type of mean-spiritedness is not why I joined goodreads.


Kristina Tonya wrote: "Merty wrote: "I'm entitled to my opinion and my observation in regard to any review.
And you both are truely examples of a bully, both of you, Kristina and Tonya. ..."

I don't understand your log..."


Tonya, your comments, as always, are spot-on. However, as Pam says, arguing with this person is a waste of time so let's try not to waste it any longer. I'm going to be deleting ANY Merty-related posts (and replies to her) after this. Continuing to engage with her is exactly what she wants. I know it's hard to resist, but she is not a reasonable person and has only one valid perspective--her own. Let's all take the high road and discuss something more important, like Diana's stretchy black pants. Oh, btw, I accidently deleted a reply to you from yesterday. Sorry bout that.


message 42: by Pam (new) - rated it 1 star

Pam Kristina, I wish I had the patience that you have in writing your reviews, especially with the books that you do not like. I appreciate how detailed you are in your description of what you did or did not like about the book.

It is quite obvious that you put a lot of time and effort into each of your reviews.


Kristina Pam wrote: "Kristina, I wish I had the patience that you have in writing your reviews, especially with the books that you do not like. I appreciate how detailed you are in your description of what you did or ..."

Pam (& Susan): Thanks! I really really REALLY like to read and I enjoy a well-written analytical book review myself so that's what I try to do. I figure if I'm going to write a review, I owe it to the book and anyone reading my review to write something that is helpful and detailed, not just: "this book sucks" or "I loved this book." Although it's possible I did do that somewhere, but I hope not (esp. with the books I loved. Sometimes it's much harder to express exactly why a book left me glowing with pleasure than why I am scowling). I took pages of notes for 50 Shades of Grey and hopefully will be able to write the review soon. What a crazy book that was. I giggled my way thru most of it.


IHeartBooks Your review is spot on.


message 45: by Tea (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tea I think your review makes perfect sense. I was so excited to read this book but when I actually got the chance to read it, I was so disappointed. You described the book perfectly.


Kristina Good luck to people reading the third book of the trilogy. Despite how bad the second book was, I'm still a teeny bit interested to see how Harkness ends it. But I don't think I will be able to suffer thru the book. I'll just have to hope someone else writes a really good review that I can read!


Kristina Susan wrote: "Kristina wrote: "Pam wrote: "Kristina, I wish I had the patience that you have in writing your reviews, especially with the books that you do not like. I appreciate how detailed you are in your de..."

I'm working on it this week. I'm re-reading/skimming the book since I finished it months ago. It's so goofy that I can't decide how to rate it (5 stars because it provided me with hours of non-stop laughter or 1 star because the writing is so bad). We'll see.


Carolyn I sympathize with you, but I'm perservering anyway. But yes, she's the worst witch ever. Most of the novel involves Diana and Matthew assuring each other that they really, really, really love each other.


message 49: by Joy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joy Millam Life is too short to read books you despise. Just put it down.


Kristina Carolyn wrote: "I sympathize with you, but I'm perservering anyway. But yes, she's the worst witch ever. Most of the novel involves Diana and Matthew assuring each other that they really, really, really love eac..."

Yes, yes it is. LOL. But I did persevere and finish the novel. But I won't read the last one. Someone else will have to tell me how it all ends.


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