A Discovery of Witches: Not the Normal Teen Witchcraft Scene
If you've been rolling your eyes at popular young adult vampire novels, Deborah Harkness' A Discovery of Witches will appeal to your need for realistic historical detail mixed with deeper storylines, and deeper characters.
By the end of the first chapter of A Discovery of Witches, I knew the intimate details that formed the main character -- Diana Bishop. Diana is one of a long line of witches- but she is so much more. Harkness' novel, just shy of 600 pages, reads quickly. The reader is thrown into a bizarre world of mystique. Thanks to Harness' ability to define relatable intimate characters -- the words flow quickly. With elements of romance intertwined, the bulk of the novel was filled with intrigue and mystery. When a new character is introduced, you wonder if they too are another member of the witch lineage. Or, if Harkness notes that the character is wearing a scarf -- maybe she is tipping us of to their vampire lineage. No character in this novel is a shallow character. No one can be taken at face value.
I've always leaned towards realistic reading material -- everyday characters in present day situations. A Discovery of Witches is about as far from my reading norm as Earth is to Jupiter. However, something about Deborah Harkness' style made this novel one that I would read late into the night. The banter between Diana and Matthew made butterflies jump around in my stomach. They might be creatures far from the norm -- but they still flirt and react just as humans do. It was their relationship that had me turning more pages than I ought to have in the wee hours!
A Discovery of Witches is no light-weight teen thriller. It's a well-thought out, well-researched journey into a realm that is equal parts mystical and real.