Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

This is... this is a piece of work. I wish I had read some goodreads reviews before getting the audiobook, but I don't usually like to do that. I do listen to the buzz surrounding books, and suggestions, but you never know what you're really going to get when you read reviews of it, because there are some books that the goodreads community HATES, but I absolutely adore, and vice versa.

I was first drawn to the half-off book sale on audible.com and I was intrigued by the interesting book title and the blurb. It was also 23 hours long, which, at the time, thought it would be a good way to pass a few days of work.

Boy was I wrong.

This book is absolutely terrible. At first, the reader is lured into the prospect of an exciting book. It's about a woman who is a legacy. Her family come from a long line of Salem witches, but Diana Bishop, however, refused her birthright after the death of her parents. After trial and error, with enormous power that she couldn't control, she abandons it to become a historian. The set up reeks of elitism, because she goes to Harvard, or Yale, and gets her doctorate and becomes a tenured professor... before she's 30, I presume.

The book opens up and she's at Oxford. Yes, for the summer, researching alchemy. I don't particularly care about what part of alchemy she's researching, because no one really "researches" alchemy anymore. However, that's not the part of the book that goes completely south. The set up, no matter how eye roll-y it is, doesn't hold a candle up to the shit show that happens after that.

And I don't mean shit show like it's exciting action. Literally NOTHING happens in this book.

So, she's researching alchemy, and she pulls up this manuscript. The amount of times they mention manuscript in this book is mind boggling, but apparently, since she has all the magic, she finds this special manuscript, which sets off the magic spell that was on it, and alerts all the magical beings. I don't know why all the magical beings wanted this manuscript, and maybe it would have been interesting to me if Harkness hadn't felt the need to concentrate on boring subjects like:

  1. Everything Diana Bishop eats
  2. Everything Diana Bishop wears
  3. Diana's exercise regimen, including a 10 page description of a yoga session
  4. How Diana and Matthew both smell at any given time

Now, before, Diana Bishop and the New England backstory was eye roll-y. Visiting Oxford to do research? Eye roll-y. But the appearance of Matthew... what's his last name? Crawford? L'estat? Who knows, but he's a vampire who felt the magic book and ran into Diana. At first, she is bothered by him and ignores him. But like all possessive vampire romance novels, it quickly turns into something cringe-y and repulsive. My blood ran cold as their relationship progresses, and Diana, someone who seems to be a smart, capable, Mary Sue, turns into a drooling toddler who can't think of herself. Some things that Matthew does:
  1. Drug her because he thinks she needs to sleep and she doesn't want too
  2. Holds her in his arms by her wrists despite her repeatedly telling him, "no" and to "let me go" and "stop it" 
  3. They go horseback riding and she momentarily thinks about jumping the fence, and Matthew turns and tells her, "we will be done horseback riding if you had jumped the fence." 
  4. Constantly corrects her but also tells her how flipping fantastic she is all the time
  5. Stalks her 
At the horseback riding incident in France (yes, they are in France, not sure why), I had to stop this book. I realized a lot this year about the meaning of my time... and life is too short to hate listen to a an audio. At one point, I sped up the audio, and a lot of times, I zoned out to do various work things... and I didn't miss much. When the characters give you goose chills, it's time to stop. 

Don't get this book. It's the worst. 

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