A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness
Not sure why but I’ve ground to a halt with books to read, I think its just because I’m busy and don’t have the time to get into anything new. When I feel like this I like to reread old favourites, I know what I’m in for and I don’t have to concentrate. So that’s why I’ve returned to the Deborah Harkness trilogy. I love everything about it, its an academic girl, old manuscripts, magic, love, treachery and good writing and vampires in Oxford.
Shadow of Night – Deborah Harkness
What can I say but more of the same only this time we travel back in time to Elizabethan England, France and Prague. Harkness is first and foremost a historian and academic so her books are full of lovely historical references and anecdotes. I spent most of my time on-line looking up paintings and artefacts and listening to beautiful music.
The Shining Girls – Lauren Beukes
Change of tack and I saw this on a friends bookshelf. I had dismissed this originally as it had been touted by Richard and Judy and appeared to be an American crime book. Two things that don’t appeal. Now I know they don’t appeal to my friend either so on his recommendation I gave it a go. Beukes first two books were fantasy / horror; this I would consider a cross over. It started with a very promising concept. A serial killer wanders into a house that acts as a time portal from the 1920s to modern day he wanders back and forth through time killing girls that shine out to him and leaving mementos from previous kills at the next scene. He is unchallenged until one girl escapes and she tries to track her would be killer down. And here the story starts to stutter, it really should have worked better but for some reason it just doesn’t hang right. It becomes stilted, sometimes hopelessly over-complicated, other times really interesting thing aren’t even considered. Why do the girls shine? Why can he see them? What is the house about?
Beukes is clearly moving into John Connolly territory and is going to do well with great writing and imagination. I just think this book was a stumble, I’ll definitely try something else by her.