Harry Potter and The Discovery of Witches

BlogHer Review

In the fall of 1998, I wandered into a bookstore with the purpose of burning a bit of time entertaining two small children and an infant. The bookstore had one of those horrid play areas for children and well, as much as I hate the IDEA of them, the reality is that day I needed a bit of diversion for the children. Said infant wasn't sleeping which meant neither was I.

An hour in the play area seemed a good way to tucker some, if not all, of the children out. I picked up an odd looking book off the shelf, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. This was in the days long before Harry Potter was a household word. I had read a good portion before we even checked out.

The clerk said "Oh! We just got those in and I thought it looked interesting but I don't think your kids are old enough." I stammered something about it being for me and smiled. "Back in the day" adults didn't admit to reading YA.

I blazed through Harry Potter. I loved it despite holes as big as the Grand Canyon. I wanted the next one in the series THEN. It just worked its magic way into my brain as one of THOSE books. Not many other books have had the same effect on me, though I do have a list.

A Discovery of Witches joined that list in much the same way. I picked it up and tried not to put it down or tried to put it down and failed.

Bodleian library and Diana Bishop both grabbed me as one might predict.  I love old, interesting libraries and reading about them participating in a story in an unusual way generally gets me past the first few pages of any book

Diana Bishop? Have you read Sarah Vowell's Wordy Shipmates?

Oh wait, you want to know about this book.

The story combines a reluctant hereditary witch, some vampires, demons and a long-lost manuscript. Add in Darwin, alchemy, romance, a good large dose of religion, and politics and you have a great paranormal fantasy book in your hands. Or do you just have honest-to-goodness magic with words? I suspect the latter since I put it down and growled "There better be a next book." (Research tells me there will be but not until 2012 *moan*)

I have questions. I want answers. I want to spend time with a rich cast of characters who all have special quirks.

I also rather wish to talk to the author about the politics veiled behind the paranormal. Intentional? Coincidental?

In the meantime, if you need a book to not put down or to read a book before EVERYONE else is reading it, consider A Discovery of Witches. Beware it is one of those books that make dinners late, cause you to procrastinate on other tasks and generally sucks you in.

Let me know if you want to chatter about the politics or religion or about the characters. I need someone to talk to about it all! (which may be why I have foisted the book on all the readers in my life recently.)

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