Friday, October 5, 2012

Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1)
By Deborah Harkness
Published: February 8, 2011
Publisher: Viking Adult
Paperback, 592 pages

A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.
Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism. --

3.5 Stars

Yes, yes, I know that this is supposed to be a young adult book blog and I'm reviewing an adult book. Yes, yes, I know that this book compares itself to Twilight, and in fact it's pretty much a rated R version of it. Yes, yes, I also know that I'm going to be ranting in this review, so I give you, the reader, the option to exit this review at once, or continue on to experience my take on A Discovery of Witches.
This book is basically a recollection of thousands of years worth of history being merged into a mere 600 page book full of tons of medieval and fantasy elements. It is definitely a unique take on vampires, witches and daemons that meshes perfectly with the modern world mixed with the dark fantasy aspects. There is something enchanting about forbidden romance drawing creatures of juxtaposing natures that A Discovery of Witches presents.

Unfortunately, I found Diana and Matthew to be clones of Bella and Edward, respectively. Their histories may be different, as well as interests, but the plot of A Discovery of Witches fell in to place as a perfect Twilight cycle. Girl is special = Vampire is attracted to her, "smells yummy." They fall in love over dinner  and danger causes them to hook up. I won't say that I hated this "retelling" of The Twilight Saga, but I wish that there was more originality in the plot.

Now that I think about it, I still loved reading A Discovery of Witches. Despite its unoriginal plot, the lyrical writing enhanced the beauty, the darkness of the ancient world magic. The story flew so quickly, even with the immense size of the book. It took me a month to get through this book. Seriously look at it! The length of the book is incredibly long with the ridiculously high page count and ridiculously puny font. Still, considering that I had enough patience to deal with this book is a miracle that can be explained by the entrancing nature of this book.

My review is basically just saying how this book was so addicting, like meth (but healthier), but still flawed. The beginning was a bit shaky, nevertheless as things progressed, I couldn't put A Discovery of Witches down for a second without dreaming about what was to come. At times, the plot was a bit messed up, but there was so much momentum and history building up. A Discovery of Witches is definitely a somewhat unique read that will drive the reader closer and closer to the mysteriousness of this world. I am definitely recommending this for all and cannot wait to read The Shadows of the Night. 


  1. I've heard of this book, a lot actually, but never read any reviews until this one. It sounds pretty good actually. I don't know how to feel about the story line being so close to Twilight's but I enjoyed Twilight, so I will probably enjoy this too :)

    Jesse @ Pretty in Fiction

    1. You definitely will enjoy it. There is a reason why there's a whole lot of hype for it. It is definitely not a perfect read, but it's a fun enjoyable one.


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