I thought the plot was rather bloated, and I didn't like the Mary Sue protagonist nor the cardboard cliche vampire hero. I was also dismayed by the frequent appearances of new characters, pointless magical powers, and deus ex machina devices. And did I mention how needlessly loooong this book was? I wanted to stop but at about 250 pages in I felt like I had to know how it all resolved. And then I wasn't particularly satisfied by the ending - the (non)resolution of sexual tension annoyed me.
To give Harkness a modicum of credit, the settings were well portrayed, and the descriptions of manuscripts in the library at Oxford were fascinating. But why is this book getting such accolades (from snobbish literary reviewers even) when so many other good urban fantasies are not? Is it the veneer of alchemy and academia, or the endless descriptions of wine?