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A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness I was pretty excited about reading A Discovery of Witches at first. I had seen it around for awhile and the title had always intrigued me, but it wasn’t until I saw it in the library that I felt like maybe now was the time I’d actually read it. The description had never wowed me, so it probably wasn’t even the book itself that demanded to be read; it was the promise of returning to more adult fare as YA haven’t been doing much for me lately. Really some points made in reviews should’ve given me pause, but I wouldn’t listen. The opening while far from perfect was satisfying enough, and it suited me well as a Fall read. I enjoyed the Oxford setting, the old library, the crisp English weather, the tea breaks—this certainly had to be a read worth my time. Sometimes the daily minutia of Diana’s life was a bit much: did I really need to read about every stir, sip, and cup of tea she consumed? However there was enough mystery here that I was more than willing to forgive some hiccups in the story-telling. Unfortunately, these jolts got worse with vampire Matthew and eventually the story got so off course it never recovered. Like the story, he started out with enough mystery that I was willing to play along and pretend I didn’t where this was going. I actually liked Diana’s initial aversion to him, the banter, avoidance—it worked. There was still enough semblance of story, he was on the back burner and that’s where I liked him. They had tangible tension, he was willing to put himself at odds with the other paranormal beings (other witches, Daemons, and vampires) that were hovering Diana at this point, but that quickly faded into bland ownership. Diana was put on a leash and she was too dumb to realize it and made little to no effort in preventing it. Sure she postured, claimed to be an independent woman, but in the end it was all empty, meaningless words. I do feel like the author realized this to a degree, so she had other characters tell Diana/the reader how strong, stubborn, and persistent Diana actually is. Sorry, but no, didn’t work. If the author had capped off the “romance” to allow her story to flow I might’ve been able to tolerate this union, however they completely hijacked the book and it became so dull and monotonous I kind of feel like I was in a coma reading it. I actually think they made a mistake marketing this as general fiction it should be in the paranormal romance section. At least 2/3 of the novel was a "romance" and none of it fit with the rest of the novel. I really don’t know what to make of it, was it actually supposed to fit because it was so oddly constructed that I really don’t see any effort made in doing so. I'm starting to think that if a book is popular and/or a bestseller then it's best to be avoided. They never seem to be well-written, coherent stories and I always wonder if an editor actually touched it all. This book is about 580 pages and 250 of those could've easily been shaved off. The last quarter of the book was a rush to bring back some actual story elements, but it was too little too late and felt like an excuse to make this into a trilogy. I think I could’ve read another if the characters were actually allowed to shine and if the story was more developed, but it sounds as though it’s the same mistakes compounded. Also I have little interest in seeing how Diana behaves in Elizabethan England. I rate this a 2: if split in sections, the beginning was a 3.75, the middle (and largest section) a 1, and the end a 3.