A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Title:  A Discovery of Witches
Author: Deborah Harkness
Pages: 579
Genre: Adult Fiction / Paranormal
Source: Purchased
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. [via GoodReads]
While studying at the Bodlein Library in Oxford, Diana Bishop calls up the manuscript Ashmole 782.  Little did she know how something as simple as that would change her life.  She was born a witch but she refuses to have anything to do with magic.  Suddenly Diana finds herself in the sights of witches, daemons, and even vampires.  Or, should I say, one swoon-worthy vampire.  When she finds herself being chased and even threatened by those who believe she knows the secrets of Ashmole 782, she'll find herself even more threatened by one vampire who may want more from her than just the contents of the manuscript.

While the book itself is rather long (over 500 pages), the story felt anything but that.  I was intrigued by its characters, the witches, vampires, daemons, the mystery of Ashmole 782, and especially, the romance between Matthew and Diana. 

As a fan of paranormal romance, I think A Discovery of Witches is one of the best.  Diana is a strong, independent character and you can't help but love reading about how her perfect life gets turned upside down.  There was so much depth and individuality to all the characters that you meet that you instantly feel connected to many of them.  In spite of the paranormal aspects, they were very believable.  

While I did have some trouble half way through the story, I thought the research aspects were just a little overdone and wordy, I still found it to be a beautifully written novel delving into both history and the supernatural. I can see where some have compared it to an adult Twilight - but I also found it like Diana Gabaldon's epic Outlander.  In the end, I'd say it has a lot of both of these and fans of these types of novels will devour this one.  Masterfully told - I cannot wait for the next installment in the trilogy.

My Rating:


Chrystal said...

I'm looking forward to this one. Adding it to my wishlist. :)

Kailana said...

I can't wait until book 2, either. You have less of a wait than I did since I read this book last May!

Melissa @ Mel's Books and Info said...

Thank you for the review! I loved this book too. I just wanted to savor it while I was reading it because I enjoyed it so much. I am still trying to decide what I am going to do about the sequel--preorder (and possibly have to wait for it to be delivered), pick a copy up at the bookstore (and hope they have it in a timely manner), or order it for my nook (get it soon, but I have yet to read a book I liked to savor on my nook)--oh the dilemma! This was a great book--so glad you enjoyed it too.

Kate @Midnight Book Girl said...

I listened to this on audio, which made the read a pretty easy one. I was a little upset, at first, that it wasn't a standalone book, mostly because I'm afraid I'll forget everything before the next one comes out! Still, it was a great take on witches, and I'm sticking with it.

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