Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Author: Deborah Harkness
paperback, 579 pages
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.
When I first picked up this book to read it, I couldn't get in to it. So I put it aside, read other books, and then came back to it. I have to chalk up my first experience to exhaustion, or a short burst of insanity. The second time was the charm. I listened to this book on audio as well as read through it. If you like audio books I definitely would recommend this one. Jennifer Ikeda narrates and does a fantastic job. Very enjoyable.
The story itself is epic. It's full of vivid details and imagery that blew me away. There are quite a few supernatural characters in this book. Don't worry, keeping track of them doesn't get confusing. I love all their distinct personalities. The story sucks you in from the beginning. Mathew and Diana are mesmerizing characters. They have great chemistry together. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happens between them. The story line is built around a missing manuscript.Diana has been doing research and retrieves a manuscript that has been missing for years and years. She puts the book back, but not before gathering the attention of some very powerful supernaturals. All the supernaturals are waiting for Diana to retrieve the book from the library, including Matthew and her fellow witches and wizards. Diana is the only one who is not interested in retrieving the book. She's not sure if she can fully trust Matthew or understand why he's helping her. He's a vampire after all. And vampires and witches don't mix. However he might be her only chance to survive. Diana discovers that there is a dark side to witchcraft. She's been running away from her true self. Diana must either embrace who she is, or continue on her current path of blindness unprepared for what lies ahead. There is so much intrigue it kept me reading late into the night. This book has it all: great characters, interesting story line, a bit a romance, and lots of mystery.You can tell the author did a lot of research for A Discovery of Witches, from the history to the geography. This is definitely a book I'd recommend to the paranormal lovers out there. I can't wait to delve into the second book, Shadow of Night.