When I first read "A Discovery of Witches", I read it back to back four times and then bought both sequels on their release day. They were superb. This is good. I loved the lead character, Marcus, in the first novel. Here, he had lost some of his vivacity. The complications of beccoming a vampire for Phoebe were interesting, but not exciting. Other reviewers have mentioned the lack of any sort of major conflict or crisis. There is no villain, no one is playing for high stakes. Hardness has researched the period beautifully and the world she creates is, at least in the first half of the book, a credit to her. But there is no big concept at play and it shows.