Originally posted on my blog Chasing Empty Pavements
This book seemed like the total package to me... I loved the cover, the blurb, and the premise. It even came highly recommended from two of my co-workers with similar tastes in books. Sadly, it wasn't a steady ride for me. It was very much a bumpy rollercoaster of a ride. It was a little difficult to get into at first but I persevered...and once I did, I found myself totally engaged and entertained but... it didn't last for the entire novel. Sigh.
I'll start off with what I DID like about this novel. I loved the atmosphere of the novel including the academia setting. I think it fit the story well and fit nicely into Diana's personality and the story line. I liked the idea of Ashmole 782 and the whole realm of Alchemy (which is now an app on Android and Apple by the way..it's ridiculously fun). I actually appreciated and liked that Diana didn't want to use her abilities as a witch and instead tried to force it out of her life. To me, that seems like a different characteristic than most of the fantasy/paranormal books I've read lately. I did enjoy a few of the Matthew/Diana love scenes...regardless of how I felt about the book on a whole, there were still some sections that made my heart thump and beat a little faster. I loved the whole "rooted in science, rooted in history" aspect of this novel. To think that there really could be supernatural beings and there could be a perfectly valid (but hidden) explanation for it...I love that idea.
Okay, what I didn't like. First, of all, I've started to notice...even in highly publicized books with high profile publishers...sometimes the editing and the writing is just....not that great. I found myself highlighting section after section of passive voice, telling rather than showing sentences and passages where I was just screaming at my Kindle screen going, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!!!!!" Diana really disappointed me. It was like, at first she was this strong, independent, defiant witch and then she turned into... Bella. Ok. She's not THAT bad. But she like turns to Matthew like he's the end all to be all and I really disliked that because she wasn't like that before all the "insta-love" scenes with her and Matthew. Although...you can revisit my section above to know that I didn't hate ALL the lovey dovey scenes between them. Her incessant need to either try and protect Matthew and forget about herself or completely depend on him is rather annoying and makes her seem like a desperate, whiny, unintelligent witch rather than the smart Diana I knew she could have been. It also took FOREVER to get through this book It's SO LONG and there are so many scenes that are completely unnecessary and not needed... The main reason why I had a hard time reading this novel is that it did feel SO similar to Twilight in so many aspects. I know that's such a naughty thing to do--to compare anything to Twilight but I couldn't help it. That's just how I felt reading it.
Overall, I would have to say this book is average... I didn't hate it but I definitely didn't love it either. It was just okay. It had a few aspects I enjoyed and many I didn't, but as a "student" of literature, I think it's just as important to know why a novel DIDN'T worked as much as why it DID. I think this book would work for many other types of readers, so I encourage you to try it out if you think it sounds like it might be something for you.