So, I just finished A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I have a quite a few problems and questions about the book. The first thing is the point of views. My main issue when it comes to the point of view for this book is that it switches between first and third person. Generally speaking, I do not like it when an author switches between first and third person points of view within the same book. To me, I think that any fiction should consistent in terms of points of view, whether it’s all in first, second, or third. But especially, I do not think it should be in a published fiction book that was published by a publishing house.
My second issue is that the author seems to be telling the story, and not showing. I don’t really know how to explain it well but I found a website that does. So check it out. It’s on the bottom.
My third issue is related to my second issue. I think that the author is putting too much emphasis on telling us what the characters are eating. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I think that telling us what the vampires generally eat in this world is important because what one vampire eats in one book series might be different from another vampire in another book series. I also think that if telling us what a character eats or drinks adds to the story or to character development, then tell us. But I think that telling about what a character eats doesn’t add to the story or character development, then the author should have nixed it. It’s the same with what the characters are wearing. I mean, I don’t really need to know what the character is wearing unless it’s relevant to the story or to the character.
My fourth issue is that I think the author is putting to much emphasis on the plot development, and not enough on character development. I find this to be a bad thing because I like to see more of a character development. To me, the plot development is not as important as character development. I also think that the author didn’t completely think everything through in terms of the plot. I say that because I thought that a person could drive a car through some of the plot ideas.
My fifth issue is that I thought the chemistry between the main characters of Diana and Matthew didn’t quite feel right. To me, it felt a little forced in the beginning. And then, as the story went on, the relationship between Diana and Matthew reminded me of the relationship between Edward and Bella from the Twilight series. It reminded me of Edward and Bella’s relationship because Edward was extremely “protective” of Bella. It felt like Matthew was treating Diana like she was a baby or an extremely delicate piece of china. And while I get that vampires are supposed to be extremely protective in the context of the book, I find it to be a bit unnerving.
My sixth issue is that the relationship between Ysabeau and Diana. I found it a bit weird that Ysabeau was so cold, no pun intended, towards Diana in the beginning of their relationship, but yet Ysabeau warmed up to Diana within a few days. I really don’t see how anyone can do a 180 in just a few days, especially considering Ysabeau’s history.
My last issue is the amount of characters that are in the book. I found it to be extremely hard to keep track of so many characters. For example, towards the end of the book, the son and daughter-in-law of a character briefly made mention of the mother/mother-in-law and I didn’t really remember this particular character. I had to go back towards the beginning of the book to refresh myself on who this character was.
To top everything else, I have quite a few questions regarding the book.
- Why does Matthew have a strong influence over other vampires and other creatures? Did he build up a fearsome reputation like the Dread Pirate Roberts did in The Princess Bride by William Goldman?
- Why is Diana so independent in the beginning of the book, but so dependent upon Matthew later?
- How does Matthew explain away Diana’s extended leave of absence to Oxford when they go to France?
- How does the Bishop house work exactly? Is it powered by magic? If so, how? Is it the actual house that is powered by magic or is it the land on which the house is built?
- How is it that one character knows what happen to a second character without the second character saying what happened?
- Are Deborah Harkness’s vampires like the classic vampires, as in only being able to turn a human into a vampire, something like Stephanie Meyer’s “vampires” where a male vampire can have a child with a human female, or something in between?
- How can vampires be killed besides fire?