Top positive review
Good airplane book
on October 14, 2014
The Discovery of Witches trilogy is somewhat reminiscent of Karen Marie Moning's 5-volume "Fever" series in that the theme is otherworldly creatures roaming almost unbeknownst among us humans. In this case, rather than Moning's faeries, it's witches, daemons, and vampires. The protagonist is billed as a very powerful witch who for her own protection was spell bound by her parents as a child (meaning her ability to use her powers is suppressed, sort of). She is pursued by witches who killed her parents hoping somehow to learn the secret of their powers (a bit of a stretch), because the pursuing witches are pretty sure she inherited those powers, and perhaps more. So as the story line evolves the plucky protagonist falls for a vampire (all foretold by her mother, it turns out) who provides her with some measure of protection, even as he routinely kills animals and an occasional human or witch to sate his blood lust.
At times the story line gets a bit convoluted and the author is not quite as adept as Moning in being a bit tongue in cheek regarding the absurdity of the underlying story. The protagonist is pictured as an academic historian of alchemical practices, a college prof if you will, which legitimizes tossing in a bit of stuff about alchemy (it does relate to magic after all), but endowing the vampire with a history of such longevity and importance that he was on intimate terms with just about any figure in the history of Europe (including Queen Elizabeth) is a bit of an over reach. Every now and again to keep the story moving, some new power manifests itself in the witch's arsenal, which she uses with varying degrees of effectiveness, with possible lethal consequences. It's not exactly clear, at least for the first book in the trilogy, why she can't toss off the shackles of being spell bound and incinerate anyone who might seek to harm her or her vampire lover, especially since she manages to do exactly that as one of the salient points of the first book. That does provide the premise for the next book in the trilogy, since this one concludes with her using her ability to time travel to go back in time with her vampire lover in tow, for the purpose not only of hiding from her pursuers, but to find a witch who will train her in the use of her powers.
In any event, the quality of the writing is sufficient to hold your interest, especially on the long cross country flights I find myself doing several times a year. While aspects of the story line lose coherence in trying to tie the vampire into historical context, the book overall provides an excellent casual read.