A Discovery Of Witches: You Won't Want to Put it Down

BlogHer Review

You cannot imagine my excitement when A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness came up for review less than a hour after I almost bought it at the store. I have been looking forward to reading it ever since it came out, and let me tell you I was not disappointed in the least.*

The story of a witch, Diana Bishop, who has turned away from her supernatural destiny and chosen to live as a human and scientific historian, A Discovery Of Witches has all the benchmarks of a thrilling story: danger, romance, magical powers and mysteries galore. Upon doing research in the library at Oxford, Diana comes across a book of obvious magical powers, an even though she wants nothing to do with magic or her true identity as a witch, the few moments she spends with the book change her life for ever. Various other witches and daemons and vampires are all desperately seeking this book as well, and they all believe that Diana holds the key to unlocking its secrets.

The description and characters are so vivid, and the mystery of the book so fascinating, that the reader is entirely engaged, and when the story shifts away from the central mystery, you hardly notice. Because at Diana's side is a handsome and charming 1500 year old vampire named Matthew Clairmont, and it is so enticing to learn his secrets alongside Diana, that we scarcely notice when the focus shifts away from the mysterious book, and becomes a tragic romance, with the enemy factions fighting to keep Diana and Matthew apart. I am not one to swoon over love and romance in books (didn't read Twilight because the sickly sweet romance thing turns me off), so I'm happy to say that while the romance between Diana and Matthew has every facet of fated destiny and true love, it isn't sickly sweet or too overly dramatized. The scenes depicting their emotions are full of all kinds of physical reactions from the characters as they are swooning over each other, but they are written in a straightforward enough way that they don't make you want to hurl over the two lovebirds. There are also tons of historical elements peppered throughout the book, both as part of Diana's research and in Matthew's life which add just that much more depth and interest to the story.

As the book moves into the final section, with Diana and Matthew and their families deciding what measures must be taken to uncover the truth behind the book, and preparing to fight against the people who would forbid their love, we come to the only thing I really didn't like. The pages fly through your fingers as you race towards the inevitable conclusion, and you begin to realize one thing: there is no way this story is going to be finished before the pages run out. Indeed folks, this is but part one of a planned trilogy (the All Souls Trilogy), and you will have to wit until at least 2012 for the next installment. And trust me, that is going to be a crushing disappointment, because once you have begun reading A Discovery Of Witches, you aren't going to want to put it down until you have turned the very last page.

*ok, maybe I was a little disappointed -- but only because I LOVED this book and now I have to wait for part two!!


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