I'm amazed that the phrase "It begins with absence and desire, it begins with blood and fear. It begins with a discovery of witches." after over 1200 pages still gives me chills. And now that I know the meaning behind it, even more so :-).
It was a brick to swallow, but very well written and I enjoyed it a lot. It was a very different from the first book because the story took place in Elizabethan England. Not only we got to meat Shakespeare, but also Her Majesty the queen Elizabeth her self, who was quite a character :-).
I thought it was fun that 16th century dudes thought that Diana was weird, because she couldn't speak "proper" english :-). They almost went balled while trying to place her accent :-).
Matthew, what can I say about him? I loved him sinse the moment I met him and still do. You rairly see a vampire, who is a cold blooded killer but also old fashioned and a gentleman. What a lovely combination. He is a different vampire from what I use to read. They usually are all fangs and growls. Matthew's primal urges doesn't control him, he controls them. He had his caveman moments, too, but they were very tastefully written. I loved reading about him trying to control his blood thirst.
I absolutely adored little Jack. He was a firecracker and a nice addition to the story.
It was nice to find out that there was one person even all mighty Matthew feared. His father. Very interesting character.
I loved that the story was unpredictable. There was no way you could guess where the journey is going to take them and what secrets they going to discover. I liked how main characters handled the challenges they encountered. Sometimes it was scary, sometimes heartbreaking and other times frustrating.
The descriptions of people and surroundings were amazing. There wasn't any confusion about where they went, how people or surroundings looked like. You had a very clear and vivid picture of it all.
Here are some of my favorite quotes:"Giving a woman your whole life is meaningless without giving her your whole heart as well."
***"For a man who considers himself learned, Matthew, your stupidity is breathtaking,""
***"Just call him Philippe," Matthew rumbled. "He goes by many other titles, but those that fit him best would blister your tongue."
***"Okay. What are the alternatives?" I asked.
"Abstinence. Withdrawal. And there are condoms, though they're not reliable either. Especially not the kind available to us in this day and age." Matthew was right. Sixteenth-century condoms were made from linen, leather, or animal intestines."
***"All that children need is love, a grown-up to take responsibility for them, and a soft place to land."
***"A wise man can see more from the bottom of a well than a fool from a mountaintop."
***"Unlike the men who have taken you to dinner and perhaps gone back to your flat for something afterwards, your propriety and fine manners don't frighten me off. Quite the contrary. And I can't help imagining what you're like when that icy control melts.""
***"Gallowglass peered at the statue's breasts. "Aye, Jack. I'd say she's cold." This earned him a cuff on a head from Tereza, who still retained a firm grip over the eyes of the squirming child.""
The reason I can't give it 5 stars is because there were sooo many characters (80+). Which made it hard for me to keep track of all of them. Not only that, some of them had 2, 3 or even 4 names, which at times was confusing. Almost every character they encountered called them by a different name or even a nickname. At times it felt like my head was spinning.
The other issue I had was that there were a lot of irrelevant and unnecessary scenes. Like the hunting trip they went on, the play that they did, the part with the mouse trap and the puppy. The story would have done just fine with a fewer dinner parties and dressing up scenes. Don't get me wrong, I loved all of those, too. They were fun and very well written. But they were very descriptive, therefor took a lot of space and also added nothing to the story. They were more like "nice to know" but not something I needed to know. I understand that the author is a historian and all of those things fascinates her, but sometimes it felt like she fell off track and completely lost herself in them.
With that being said, I absolutely loved the story. And the ending was very twisted and mysterious. Shakespeare is a mean son of a trickster ;-).
I can't wait for the next book. I'm also very happy to know that there will be a movie :-D.