A Discovery of Witches: The Magical Vampire Story for Grown Ups
By janetkay on June 23, 2011
As an adult who shamelessly enjoyed reading the entire Harry Potter series and the entire Twilight series, I suspected I would enjoy reading Deborah Harkness's novel, A Discovery of Witches. Perhaps there is a hint of witch in me, with the gift of precognition, because I was right. I found the book to be a hybrid of the wizarding world of Hogwarts and the dark and dangerous romance of Forks, only it was written for grown ups.
The story opens with Diana Bishop, a witch who has chosen not to utilize her powers, researching old alchemy manuscripts in a university library. There she meets Matthew Clairmont, a fellow professor who happens to be a vampire. "And so the lion fell in love with the lamb."
Oh...sorry, confusing my books there. It happened to me a lot actually as I read this book. From the witch who doesn't know how to use her powers to the vampire family who doesn't fully accept their brother's new girlfriend, I found many themes that reminded me of those other books. It wasn't a negative thing though. I loved those books, and I felt like having read them before reading this one gave me the background knowledge to be instantly familiar with these new characters, like I already knew who they were.
Throughout the story witches, vampires, and daemons struggle to get along in the world of humans, and in each other's worlds. This fight is summarized by Matthew in my favorite quote from the book: "'Normal' is a bedtime story -- a fable -- that humans tell themselves to feel better when faced with overwhelming evidence that most of what's happening around them is not 'normal' at all."
When Diana innocently requests a manuscript that turns out to be a bewitched volume holding secrets that all creatures want to get their hands on, things get dangerous. Lucky for her, she has a sexy vampire to protect her. Though the book is suspenseful, I was glad there was very little graphic violence, considering it's a book about vampires and witches I mean.
If, like me, you are proud to have read Twilight in a day, and Prisoner of Azkaban in one night, and if you're a little sad to have finished both series, I highly recommend A Discovery of Witches.
Vague spoilerish alert: I was somewhat unhappy with how the book ended. I felt like too many things were left unresolved. However, it left the possibility wide open for a sequel. And I enjoyed the book so much, I truly hope there is a sequel. Or three. Or six.
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