Is A Discovery of Witches a Rediscovery of Twilight?
A Discovery of Witches, at times, made me wonder if we were just rediscovering Twilight. There’s a heroine that needs protection and she gets it in the form of a very old male vampire. There is a very old male vampire that is old-fashioned and involved with a very powerful family of vampires. There is a contingent of creatures (witches, vampires and demons) that do not want these two characters to come together and fall in love.
Sound familiar? It did to me, too, at first. I had to read about half way through the book before my remembrances of Twilight started to fall away. Granted, the heroine of the story, Diana Bishop, isn’t some doe-eyed teenager. She is an accomplished scholar researching alchemy at Oxford. She also happens to be a witch from a long line of powerful and respected witches. But she has turned her back on her craft and her powers because of a family tragedy when she was a child. During the course of her research, she stumbles upon a spellbound manuscript that sets in motion her encounter with her vampire true love, Matthew Clairmont, and begins the multi-creature search for the age old secrets held within this manuscript.
I thought A Discovery of Witches was slow going at first. It became an enjoyable read once we are introduced to the other characters and see how they all interact with each other. A favorite character of mine is Sophie, a Southern witch that was “born wrong” and is now pregnant with her daemon husband’s child. Sophie is sweet and trusting and is sure everything will turn out fine once she and her husband join Diana. One strange thing about this book is that there is never really any climax of action. There is one fight between the lovers and a past flame of Matthew’s but it is over quickly and we are lulled back to a calm state of respite. Just when you think something is about to happen, it seems that the author, Deborah Harkness, lets her words get in the way and the action is subdued. I understand that this book is the beginning of a series and we do lead up to a cliffhanger of sorts as the two main characters travel through time. But if you are looking for a lot of action, this isn’t your book. I am interested in finding out how the characters adjust to their new surroundings during their travels but I am definitely not beating a path to the book store like I was with other recent vampire stories. So in that fashion, this story is nothing like Twilight.