Book Review: A Discovery of Witches

Book Review: A Discovery of WitchesA Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1) by Deborah Harkness
Published by Viking Penguin on February 8, 2011
Pages: 579

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.


I am super excited to be bringing you this book review today! I’m glad that I’m semi back on track with my reading goals for this year, but depressed that I have fallen super behind on the Paper & Glam book club books. Well, I guess there is always next year🙂

It begins with absence and desire
It begins with blood and fear
It begins with a discovery of witches

The Discovery of Witches opens with the above quote. This was the Paper & Glam book club read for October and I’m not quite sure that I would have picked up otherwise. Spoiler alert, yes I enjoyed the book enough to put the rest of the series on my to read list for the coming year.

The story of this book evolves around Dr. Diana Bishop, a scholar from Yale who is studying at Oxford for the time being. One day, while Diana is doing her research at the library she requests a manuscript entitled Ashmole 782 and senses some magic has been used on it. Diana is a witch, who has chosen not to use her powers in her research because she does not want her colleagues or anyone else to think that she hasn’t done any of the work herself. After reading and returning Ashmole 782 to the library, she begins to notice that she is being followed by a number of creatures including a  vampire called Matthew Clairmont. As many stories go, Diana and Matthew eventually fall in love which creates much anger among the community because there’s a rule about witches, vampires, and daemons not mixing. There is even a creature council made up of selected people among these creatures that decide what kind of activity needs to be stopped.

Diana and Matthew decide that trying to retrieve Ashmole 782 and find out its secrets as well as protect all the creatures from the prejudice they are receiving is worth the risk. Both Diana and Matthew nearly lose their lives at least once in the book. The book does end on a slight cliffhanger,urging you to pick up the rest of the series.

I really did enjoy this book, although it definitely was not a fast paced read as I am used to reading. This book took a long time to read and digest even though I wanted to read it faster I also wanted the book to last. The book definitely has a Twilight feel to it, however I think that the history and science in the book balances it out making the book more intriguing. I’m excited to read the rest of the series including the new book that is set to come out in June 2017.

Let me know what you have been reading lately. I’ll be back soon !


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