A Discovery of Witches Tows You In

BlogHer Review

In A Discovery of Witches Deborah Harkness brings to life a brilliant scholar witch named Diana Bishop. Because of painful events surrounding the death of Diana’s parents she rejects her powers and devotes all of her brilliance toward studying history with a specific focus on practical alchemy. Harkness does a brilliant job of taking the reader through centuries of history and science in an incredibly interesting way. While I was familiar with alchemical illustrations I had no idea that it was the foundation of modern chemistry or that it had been practiced for 2,500 years. For me, the most interesting parts of the book revolved around Harkness’ fabulous ability to recreate not only ancient and modern places but explain entirely unfamiliar schools of study. To say Harkness is a skilled author would be an understatement.

The book revolves around the worlds of the earth’s creatures: daemons, witches and vampires. The entire creature world surrounding Oxford is stirred when Diana encounters an important ancient and magical book in the Oxford library and Diana is finally forced to face her rich magical background. When she finally starts to embrace being a witch, even in small ways at the start, I felt a huge relief. I for some reason couldn’t identify with such a smart person making it into her 30’s without working out her identity, it just didn’t add up for me. Plus her powers are cool and what I really wanted the book to be about was the Bishop witches and I really wanted her to fall in love with a witch or a daemon (a really interesting creature unrelated to demons).

My question for the author of this book would be -- does the world need ANOTHER vampire series? Honestly, even though Matthew Clairmont, the main vampire character in the novel and Bishop’s love interest is extremely interesting I am so over ‘vampire angst’. The whole “oh I need blood to live and am cold and might kill you and that is so sexy” is played out, or so I thought. But can I tell you people LOVE this book! I am constantly being asked if I have read this book by people who adore it and can’t wait for the next one in the series to be published in 2012.

So even if I didn’t absolutely love the story line, especially after Diana and Matthew start falling in love, the book does seem to have that Twilight, True Blood, Harry Potter magic that will pull it into a major motion picture one day. Hot Topic will tout Matthew and Diana gear, alchemical illustration tattoos will be all the rage. I can already foresee a possible daemon love triangle down the road and the whole world will be reinventing the Edward or Jacob dilemma.

A Discovery of Witches does have that solid rhythm that really good books have that tows you in even if all the elements aren’t exactly like I wanted them to be.

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