After reading the reviews left by others I had very high expectations for the book which were, ultimately, let down. The book has an interesting premise, and tbh I was actually expecting something a bit more Harry Potter rather than the Twilight that the book actually turns out to be. The plot is slow, but it does pick up towards the end. However, I had issues with the main characters Diana Bishop, the so-called heroine, and Matthew Clairmont, her vampire lover.
Harkness attempts to create a strong, independent, all-powerful female character but that pretty much falls apart when the sexy vampire enters the scene. Diana is swept off her feet by the mysterious vampire and then proceeds to fall deeply in love with him in a matter of days - a feat which probably would not have happened, as a psychologist would have observed, if Diana had had a strong father figure. Diana is also highly intelligent, athletic, beautiful, a very powerful witch and just a little bit too perfect for my liking. Overall, Diana is a woman who would get along like a house on fire with Stephanie Meyer's Bella Swann. Both characters are Mary-Sues who are desperate, needy and just plain annoying.
Matthew Clairmont is a vampire and is therefore, by extension, also perfect. What really annoyed me about Matthew though was that he was all talk and no action. Although we are constantly reminded of his over-protectiveness, in the end he was powerless to stop the bad guys from hurting Diana, which, considering that Matthew is a vampire warrior is an absolute failure on his behalf.
However, what really redeemed this book, and partly why I give this two stars rather than one, is the fact that Matthew is really, really old. Harkness is an historian and this comes through when Matthew is reminiscing about his past or when Diana is studying some old books.
The rest of the stars go the minor characters, who definitely deserve more face-time in future books, and that there is more to being a vampire than being sparkly is also a plus point.
Overall, this book is a massive disappointment and fails particularly in the character department. Unless Harkness wants to be branded as another Stephanie Meyer, she should stick to writing history....