Thursday, September 27, 2012

What a Long, Strange Trip it's Been

SPOILER ALERT: I have finished "Shadow of Night".

Thank the Lord and all the saints.  I feel like I've been on a roller coaster for that was fierce...then got stuck for days...then started moving again and grew rather fast-paced...only to peter out and come to a complete stop.  And it even started to roll backward again, but luckily it stopped long enough for me to jump off and head back toward the merry go round where I belong.

I have never been negative about a book/series I've blogged about before...but this time around, I can't hide my disdain.

Let me get one thing straight:  I think Deborah Harkness is a fantastic writer and historian.  I think she's immensely talented and deserves many accolades for her work.

So why, then, didn't I like Shadow of Night?  Easy:  I don't care for the bait-and-switch.

A Discovery of Purgatory was an exciting, character driven historical fiction that moved along at a great pace and kept you on the edge of your seat.

Shadow of Night was more like a historical review of Elizabethan England with some story about a witch and a vampire thrown in.  And I keep asking myself "Why?"  Why bother with Matthew and Diana if you are going to alter their personalities so much?  I was excited to read the sequel to a book about a dark-yet-dashing vampire who could charm the pants off you one minute, only to scare the crap out of you the next...all the while being a surprisingly decent and caring soul. And the Diana I remember was an intelligent, tough cookie of an alchemist who rowed daily and wasn't the best dresser on the planet because she didn't have time to worry about something as insignificant as clothing.  What transpired in Shadow of Night was a pretty boring vampire who was completely pompous and self-centered and a woman who mused incessantly about her 16th century clothing and her witchy strings.

Shadow of Night is a well-written journey through Elizabethan England.  Hell - there could easily be a college course based on the book.  But for those of us who love Matthew and Diana, it was a real head-scratcher.  I felt jipped from the lack of intimacy between these two characters.  Half the time they didn't even like each other and when they did finally make it into the bed chamber, it was pretty much a bust.

Now - before you accuse me of wanting a "bodice ripper" or not liking Elizabethan England, let me tell you, you are dead wrong.  I am not a "bodice ripper" type of reader...made evident by the fact that I still maintain that Twilight - that young adult book with zero sex - is one of the best love stories I've read in years.  I have never read a Harlequin and don't plan to start now.  And as for my knowledge of Tudors, I have stood and cried at the site of Anne Boleyn's execution at the Tower of London and have gone through more than my fair share of obsessions with Elizabeth.  Elizabeth 1: CEO by Alan Axelrod is a fantastic read, especially if you are in any type of managerial role at work, etc.  I learned so much from Elizabeth's "job" as Queen of England and was able to parlay some of what I read into modern day skills as the head of a corporate department.  (That was way back when, before my kids came along and I assumed the role of Head Chef, Chauffeur, and General Supervisor here at home.)

Bottom line - hardcore Deborah Harkness fans will want to read Shadow of Night.  I just don't know how they'll feel when they're finished.  I literally grieved Matthew Clairmont after I read the book...because I feel like the wonderful character I met in A Discovery of Witches is long gone.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I Know That Dude

SPOILER ALERT: I am currently 88% into "Shadow of Night".

I know...I know...I suck for not blogging.  I don't think I've ever had to do this with one of my blogs before...but my apologies go out to all of you who read this regularly...because I just couldn't blog about this book.  It has just not proven to be bloggable material - at all.

This book has been a history lesson, mixed with things that could have happened or could have been said (minus the supernatural, of course, since we all know vampires don't exist.  Right?  Right?! ;) ).  Oh and a whole lot of annoying Kit, whose ass I'd like to shove my foot into over and over again until girlfriend admits she's a pompous leech.

But seriously...there is just no running to one's computer and frantically typing, "Oh holy shiz!  Blackfriars is actually outside the city limits!" It just didn't work this time around.

Until now, that is.

Holy SHIZZLE - Diana's dad just showed up!  NOW I'm back in business!  THIS, I can blog about!!!

I thought Louisa and Kit showing up on the scene was kindof cool...and somewhat bloggable; I just wish the scene had gone on MUCH longer than it did.  I could have done with less hunting in Prague...and more torturing in Greenwich.  I can't even imagine the fun that could have ensued. was not to be.

But lucky for us, Dr. Proctor appeared out of thin air, reeking of chamomile, oak leaves and coffee.  Immediately I thought "Well, which is it, dude?  Coffee or tea?"  But who am I to question what is arguably the most exciting moment in the book?

OK y'all - I am heading back to Shadow...because it's finally gotten edge-of-one's-seat good...and I must know what happens.  I'll blog more tomorrow because - even though I haven't been blogging - I HAVE been underlining and taking notes in my Kindle like a 5th year undergrad the night before the big exam.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

You Can Leave Your Hat On

SPOILER ALERT: I am currently nearing the end of Chapter 12 in "Shadow of Night".

Jeez Louise!! I finally get to the part I've been waiting for since reading about the bundling in A Discovery of Witches...and what do I do?  FIRE UP THE LAPTOP so I can google 16th Century Wedding Gowns because I need to know EXACTLY what he's untying and undoing and where in GOD'S NAME the rasps and tugs are coming from!!!!!!!!!

Actually...I think I'm just making it last. ;)

Eat Your Heart Out

SPOILER ALERT: I am currently on Chapter 12 in "Shadow of Night".

So there Diana and Matthew sit - on either side of Phillipe - eating a lovely dinner (prepared by "Chef", who I can't help picturing as the muppet with the same name) on the first night of their 3 day wedding extravaganza.

Personally, I could have stood 3 more chapters of them lounging by the fire with Matthew gently caressing the fleshy area behind her knee...but that's just me.

I can't help but giggle at the typical description of the menu.  "...Grilled eel, a delicious puree of lentils, salt cod in garlic sauce...and the entire fish that swam through a gelatinous sea of aspic..."

Oh my god - I think I just threw up in my mouth a little!  And these heroines who go back in time are always all "Yum - aren't all the fish and small birds served with the feathers on so delightful?"

NO!  They aren't delightful!  They're disgusting...and you know it!  Just ONCE I'd like a heroine from today to go back in time, take one look at that shit and say "OH my god - HOW am I going to EAT this fishy, slimy crap?!?"

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not that picky of an eater.  I like to try new things.  I eat raw sushi.  But some of the stuff they write about when all these people are time traveling is so disgusting, I can barely type about it without gagging.

Let's review Carol's 16th century tastes, shall we?
Yes, please!

Ploughman's platter? Yes.
Meat and potatoes?  Yes.
Grapes and cheese?  Most definitely, yes.

But an entire fish that "swam" through ANYTHING gelatinous?! NO friggin way in hell!

Diana's "heart lifted as the laughter and music swelled".  Yeah well my heart would have had to have been resuscitated because there is no way in hell I would eat any of that stuff - 16th century delicacy or not!  I'd have been shooting Matthew dagger glances behind Philippe's head and whispering "You'd better get me an effing piece of bread and the biggest pewter cup of wine you can find; and bring me some butter, too!!!"

Monday, July 16, 2012

Look Who's Sharing!

SPOILER ALERT: I am currently on Chapter 11 in "Shadow of Night".

OMG OMG OMG.  There is so much tension in this book, I don't know what to do with myself.  Diana had been working in the stillroom with half her clothes off...and then had to go eat so the rest of the people in the big hall could stop waiting around for someone to allow them to eat.  It makes zero sense to me why the chef didn't tell Diana about this custom...but whatevs.

And then Matthew comes home after a long day of hunting (grrrr baby!) and is instantly annoyed with his father.  God, these two drive me nuts.  Philippe is a douche of epic proportions.

And if he's the most beautiful thing Diana has ever seen, and is probably in his...what, 30s?  Why then, am I picturing him like this --------->

<--------When clearly I should be picturing him like this!

OK...moving on...OH my thing I know...Philippe tells everyone to stay out of the stable...but Claire Diana finds both of them (along with their audience of pretty much everyone who works at Sept-Tours) going at it with swords.  And hurting each other!  Oh those crazy vampires.

So next thing we know, Matthew is having some type of chromosomal hissy fit...and of course Diana saves the day.  The way that woman stands up to Philippe makes me giggle.  If that were real life, he'd have her buried in the wall - Green Darkness style.  But not Diana Bishop.  Oh noooo sirreee.  Girlfriend swoops in and bedazzles everyone she comes into contact with - including Philippe.

OMG so we all know about my penchant for strong men who have everything and still show their weak side.  Stefan Salvatore...Christian Grey...I could go on.  And it was no different when Matthew Clairmont was kneeling in this centuries old church...that he helped to build...killing himself slowly with old memories and finding himself consumed with guilt.

OH.  MY.  GOD.  I was a mess.  WHAT a film this would make.  And poor Diana - I'd have felt the same way she did when he said Blanca was 2 months pregnant when they married.  OUCH with a capital O!

What amazes me about Diana is that she keeps her own feelings in check in order to get to the bottom of things.  A true scientist, don'tcha think?!

And as much as I love Matthew (lorddddddd I love MYself some Matthew)...he is going to get on my nerves if he doesn't start remembering that Diana is in a strange time AND place - and needs someone to lean on as much as he does!  Shit, boyfriend!  Pony UP and take care of her the way she's been taking care of you - since you showed up in the past!!!

OK y'all - I've got to get back to my book.  Talk about being consumed!! I can't even IMAGINE what is going to happen next.

PS - I think Philippe is ready to let them shack up again.

Keep your fingers crossed...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Here Comes the Yummy

SPOILER ALERT: I am currently starting Chapter 9 in "Shadow of Night".

Oh.  My.  GAWD.  20% in and this book has just gotten exorbitantly better.  Which is interesting as I was enjoying it pretty much already.

The one thing that was bugging the hell out of me was the lack of affection between Matthew and Diana.  There hasn't been much of anything in the way of "I love you" and "I cannot live without you.

Until now.

Matty and Di traveled to Sept-Tours to let Philippe know his vampire son hasn't met the true death.  And what does Philippe (aka Douche Dad) say?  In not so many words: "You're not married - it's obvs to most of France that you haven't done the girlfriend's sleeping in her own room tonight".  OH my god - it was like visiting my parents before my husband and I were married!  And now...Di is tossing and turning and can't sleep.  And you KNOW what she's thinking!  "Um...why doesn't he want to sleep with me??"  Could he be after Ashmole and totally bullshitting her to get it?!

Holy cripes, this might be like True Blood when Sookie found out Bill started dating her because the queen hired him to get close to her!  Or in the Dream Man series when Brock was avoiding doing the nasty with Tess when he was pretending to date her while investigating her!

WHY wouldn't Matthew have girl/boy sex with Diana?!  And he LIED and said they were mated and married...but they're NOT!

LOOK OUT peeps, because this book just got 50 shades of DELISH!!!!!!!

And PS - Did I not TELL YOU that book would show up in the future?!  I can't even IMAGINE what's going to happen.  I bet Rima is going to save Diana somehow.  She is going to figure something out from that book - or maybe the witchy aunts will find something out and call her - and the book will be Diana's salvation.