The Charms of Deborah Harkness

BlogHer Review
Orphaned as a young girl, the last witch in a long family line, Diana Bishop grows up to vow that she will live as a human, completely ignoring her true birthright as a witch. Dedicating herself to a life of logic, she becomes a historian doing research on alchemy texts in the Bodleian library at Oxford. One routinely ordinary day, while working on a project, she receives a requested text named Ashmole 782. Upon touching it, Diana knows that the book is tied to witchcraft. In her debut novel, Deborah Harkness has somehow managed to weave a story full of adventure, history, passion, science, seduction and every other entertaining and thought provoking element a reader could need. There are moments, reading in bed during the dark of night when one may hug their pillow a little tighter. There may be pages where a mother, at home during the day with her children, may blush a deep shade of crimson. There will absolutely be moments where the thought of putting the book down seems impossible.

Being dubbed as the Harry Potter for adults, or Twilight for grown ups, I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I began reading A Discovery of Witches. Aside from a few small parallels, (which you’d have in any witch or vampire story) I didn’t really see a lot that reminded me of those series. Honestly, if I absolutely had to tie this story to anything entertainment wise, it would be more along the Buffy the Vampire Slayer lines… (TV series, of course, not the movie.) Of course, this book isn’t Buffy, but in my opinion it is far more similar to that storyline than the other two. Also, since we are on the subject of my opinion- this book would make an excellent film.

It isn’t far into book one of the All Souls Trilogy that Diana’s buried powers begin pouring from her, forcing her to face things about herself and the world that she’s tried to ignore. Working alongside Matthew Clairmont, an incredibly brilliant and attractive vampire, the story becomes one of a dark romance and passion unlike any other supernatural tale we may have seen before. Taking us to places we may have only ever daydreamed of and throughout eras we will only ever read about, Deborah’s vivid imagery becomes more and more defined, sucking us in as other worldly battles rage.

While I consider myself an avid reader, there were times when parts of the storyline were a bit over my head. The characters are incredibly intelligent, which adds to their depth, I felt, though I’ll be honest and admit that I didn’t always understand everything that they spoke of or did. It did take a bit, in the beginning, for my mind to be engaged and see past the intellectual direction, but I did. Instead of coming across as lofty and full of itself, it all works together to open its readers imagination to the possibilities of the magical realms all around us. The characters are well defined and written, growing to become either loved or passionately loathed. One thing is certain; nothing in A Discovery of Witches fell flat for me. The second book of this series couldn’t come soon enough for me…

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