Thursday, June 16, 2011
Book Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
I know I got a vampire that does yoga. Which is weird and I refuse to get over. I got a witch that can't use her magic but apparently is something along the lines of the fifth element. I got a third race of supernaturals that don't really appear to have power and more than anything seem to have some serious mental issues and a flare for art. Some how I got a mystery about an old book and a reference to the Templar's in a book that spent a good deal of time talking about love. The love story came out of left field in the sense that everyone but the heroine seemed to know it was coming from page one. I got a whole lot of quotes from book I haven't read and things in french.
And at the end of all of this with a book big enough to eat my math text book the story is not over. Yes we needed to uncover the mystery in the past and there simply wasn't time for that. Its not like we could have cut out the pages about horse back riding. Those were completely needed to show stuff and what not.
I get wanting to go in depth but there needs to be balance between depth and pacing. Mysteries that move slowly don't really keep people interested. Ignoring "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" because while I understand that it is popular I about swerved off the high way I was so bored when I listened to it. Every couple of pages the characters talked about how some one was going to come after them. When? Next Christmas? Are we going to get a post card noting their renewed pursuit. Then randomly big bursts of action and right back to nothing but tea.
Can you poision yourself with tea? Or coffee? Dragon Tattoo was nothing but coffee this is nothing but tea. Have a soda for god-sake people.
The thing is, beneath all this mush there is a kind of cool story. It does have some really stupid moments but I really want to know what is in that Alchemy book, which is what I was promised by the book flap. I want to know about the missing pages and what not, but after 592 pages nothing has even been theorized outside a few passing comments. This is what they put on the cover and yet nearly the whole bloody thing is about Mathew and Diana not being allowed to be together because they are a difference species. Every now and then its about how Diana is the fifth element but can't do anything with her magical space powers.
The book ends with the love birds going back in time to finds Diana some witches to teach her to use her powers and maybe while they are at it find the old book. But that seems to be the second thing on their mind. The entire second half of the book barely mentions the book.
There are good moment, good ideas hidden in this mass. I still am not sure if they make it all worth it.