A Discovery of Witches Book Review

A Discovery of Witches Book Review

Title: A Discovery of Witches
Author: Deborah Harkness
Published: 2011, Penguin Books
No. of Pages: 579
Cover Price: $16.00 US

Diana Bishop is a historian, and is presently working in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. She calls up a manuscript on which a spell has been cast, and unknowingly breaks the spell. She sends the book back to the archives, and at first doesn’t realize that she has captured the attention of several supernatural creatures who have been trying to get the book for centuries. While Diana is a witch, she has purposely tried to avoid using witchcraft and has been in denial about her heritage and her magical powers. In a world where witches, vampires, and daemons live among humans, Diana meets a vampire, Matthew Clairmont. There is a rule that witches cannot associate with vampires, but they fall in love in spite of the rule. It is, however, a strange relationship, where both are actually a danger to each other with their individual powers. Such is the premise of the first installment of the All Souls Trilogy, A Discovery of Witches.

Harkness is a master at characterization, and readers will feel like the characters are real persons; some may even believe the creatures exist. Although this is a fantasy thriller, with Harkness’ excellent writing, this book could almost be mistaken for a memoir, and it almost seems plausible. The book is difficult to put down, and the suspense seems to build throughout the entire novel as Diana, Matthew, et al go through regular life happenings, like traveling to meet Matthew’s mother, and staying with Diana’s Aunts (her parents were murdered when she was seven years old). There are attempts on Diana’s and Matthew’s lives, and most readers will be on the edge of their seats as the suspense builds. The characters are likeable too, at least the good ones; the evil ones are easy to hate, and as Diana learns to use her magic, readers will find themselves delighted when she is successful and very disappointed when she isn’t. I found it charming when she admitted that she had never cooked for a vampire, and found herself doing research on what to feed Matthew when he was invited to dinner.

No book is perfect, and I found it a bit puzzling that Matthew and Diana were constantly making each other angry with comments they made; most seemed a bit benign to me, and I had trouble understanding why they generated so much anger. All in all, however, A Discovery of Witches is highly recommended for anyone who loves a good thriller with unique characters and a bit of fantasy. This is a book that won’t be put down, and waiting for the next installment will take plenty of patience. It is no wonder that the book is a #1 New York Times Bestseller.

This book was purchased with personal funds and no promotion of the book was solicited by the author or publisher.

This book may be purchased at Amazon: A Discovery of Witches: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy)

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