By: Deborah Harkness
Publisher: Penguin/Viking Adult
Publication Date: February 2011
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: December 13, 2011
Deep in the recesses of Oxford’s Bodleian Library sits a leather-bound volume that was once owned and ‘operated on’ by a 17th Century book collector and alchemist. As far as the world of ‘unique’ beings is concerned, this book has been missing for a good, long time. In fact, in the communities of vampires, witches, and daemons - three factions that live in the human world each and every day - they believe that this book is long gone, although all of the factions wish to see it. Why? Because inside this book rests the key to why they all are who they are, the secrets behind their powers, the covenants and spells of the witches, even issues regarding the debate between science and religion - and every being would kill to get their hands on it.
Dr. Diana Bishop is an extremely smart woman who raced through school at top-speed and ended up at the very top when it came to being a professor and all-out scholar. To say she is descended from witches is an understatement. In fact, her relative was one of the ‘witches’ who was hung from her neck in the legendary Salem, Massachusetts. Diana doesn’t even wish to study magic, nor does she ever think about the fact that she can feel certain powers within her and has the ability to do things that others simply can’t. After the hideous death of her parents, Diana has made sure to live a normal life - never once wishing to join covens, go to witch celebrations, or even play the slightest role in the magic world.
One day, walking into the library, this long-lost mystery book ends up in Diana’s hands, as she takes notes for her dissertation. After this one moment in time, as she cracks the cover of the book and realizes that it is infused with a power that no one but she is able to break through, her life becomes an all out pain in the butt.
From a powerful wizard that shows up at the library, a coven of witches who are nowhere near Diana’s friends, to daemons galore who want nothing more than to get that book they thought was lost - Diana’s quiet, simple life turns into an adventure of mammoth proportions. The one being who shows up in her life that throws her for a loop is a vampire by the name of Matthew Clairmont. Beautiful, yes, but a vampire who is extremely confused - torn between having this sudden urge to protect and watch over Diana so that no one can hurt her - to knowing full well that a witch and a vampire can not have any kind of relationship.
As Matthew gets deeper and deeper into Diana’s life, taking her to odd yoga classes at the Olde Lodge that allow all mystical beings to attend, hiding her out in castles built on lands that he received from King Henry VIII, to bringing her home to meet his all-powerful mother - Matthew’s emotions go into overdrive as he falls deeply in love with a witch who has no idea the amount of power she holds within her soul.
The characters are amazing and the action is non-stop. Even the description of the Oxford Library will have the ultimate book readers salivating, wishing they were sitting within those walls surrounded by such astounding history. If you missed the hardcover, this is one of the best paperbacks of the year! Remember, this is not a Twilight for adults…this is so much better!
Quill Says: A true ’gem.’ You will NOT want to wait for Book II!