I don’t know how I came to buy this, but I expect that the promise of an epic set in a world of magic may have had something to do with. Sadly, it turned out that this magical epic was instead epically boring, starring the dullest witches and vampires I’ve ever had the misfortune to read about.
Diana is an academic, studying the history of science and, in particular, alchemy. Apparently from a long line of witches, Diana has tried to steer clear of magic since the death of her parents during her childhood. Except for when it comes to spells like getting the washing done, or getting books down off high shelves. Spotted performing one of these wee bits of magic by a vampire, Diana soon finds herself under surveillance by what would seem to be every witch, vampire and daemon in Oxford as they hope she can break the secrets of a centuries old manuscript that promises the answers to their origins. But, more importantly to the book, she also finds herself attracted to the vampire Matthew – an attraction which is reciprocated – which winds up all of the witches around them and sets them on the path to a confrontation between the magical races.
So far, you’d be forgiven if you thought that this sounded mildly interesting. However, what you would find on opening the book are countless thrilling chapters spent reading about Diana researching, endless snooze-inducing conversations between she and Matthew about their feelings and why it’s so dangerous for them to be together, Matthew showing off (boringly) about having been BFF’s with literally every famous person in history, and a heroine who’s described as feisty and intelligent but who shows that she’s actually rather dull and spineless (quite possibly literally – Diana gets picked up carried around more than bloody Mariah Carey, and on being attacked by an ill-intentioned vampire, freezes and just lets the woman go for her jugular). As Diana comes to learn about her powers (achingly slowly) it soon turns out that she is, of course, one of the most powerful witches to have ever lived with every single power one could possibly imagine at her disposal. Being largely useless, she can’t figure out how to use those powers, and so the book ends with she and Matthew time-walking back to Elizabethan England where Matthew can hang out with his BFF Kit Marlowe (who, of course, had a crush on Matthew) and Diana can learn not to be so fucking useless.
Needless to say, I won’t be reading on.