A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness is book that cast a spell on your knowledge of witches and vampires. This book is one of the All Souls trilogy, it is one of the best books of introducing vampires and witches and their additions to world history and sciences. The book is really well researched on the history and plausibly inserts the creatures into time. This book reminded me of some of my favorite parts of Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles and The Mayfair Witches, the history and the romance. It creates and explains it’s own rules for each creature, mocking their Hollywood interpretations. Diane the main character is a strong witch that does need any saving my vampire or witch. I like that this book is quest for the holy grail tale reversed, instead of finding out about human life they want a book that explains the creation of vampires, witches, and daemons (not a typo, it is a creature at uses influence to madding effect, the super smart, that could go crazy at any moment) and also how to destroy them. The novel pays out like a chess match making continuous moves and sacrifices along the way. A Discovery of Witches is a show on AMC that is currently in it’s second season starring Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer.

The Plot: Diana Bishop is a professor at Oxford and also a witch. She knows what she is but very reluctant to use any of her powers only for trivial stuff, like not finding her glasses. She knows of Vampires and Daemons can feel their presence. Diana while doing research on alchemy stumbles across a book she needs in the Oxford library. the book is old with a seal preventing it from being opened, she need this book and it reluctantly opens, and Diana can feel a spell being lifted. She does research with it a notices the pages when in light reveal hidden text, she would love to explore this more but her need is done, she shuts the book and the seal reforms making the magic reactivate, and returns it. What she didn’t know is that no one has seen that book in hundreds of years and the book holds secrets of life and death to witches, vampires and daemons. When the magic was released others felt it’s power. Matthew an over 1,000 year old vampire wants the book and starts following Diana and protecting her from others who want the book. The book draws an ancient order that will stop at nothing for the secrets of the book.

What I Liked: The history in this book is so good I felt very real and plausible. The lore changes to Vampires and Witches were really thought full and explained where the movies and book borrowed from. The haunted witch house were my favorite scenes with the grandma witch in ghost form criticizing her ancestor’s choices. The family dynamic of vampires, this is the first book that I have read where the maker is referred to as mother and father while the new vampire is referred to as son of daughter. The aspect of the book and the secrets it holds was really intriguing and held my interest. I enjoyed that Diana’s character was so head strong and wasn’t a damsel in distress. I really liked the bad guys and only wished I could have spent more time with them in this book. I really enjoyed the side characters of Marcus, Miriam, and Hamish. The love aspect took be quite a while to be fully on board but when more was reveled in terms of fate I enjoyed it more and it became less forced. The mystery surrounding the death of Diana’s parents and what they did to protect her. The lead in to the next book is really intriguing, it seems like all the things that I liked in this book will expanded. The magic was really good I especially liked the witchwater scene and witchfire usage.

What I Disliked: All the conversations about wine, too much! There’s people out to kill us, let’s take a while and talk of this Bordeaux. The pacing to me was sometime frustrating, there’s a book that can hold the secret to everything we know of witches, vampires, and daemons, and it takes 200 pages to try to summon the book again, while we had ten wine conversations. What I failed to see was all the information on history was pulling the book in a different direction, which I enjoyed where the book ended up but would have enjoyed a faster pace pulling me there.

Recommendations: If you want a smart new take on the vampire genre, then A Discovery of Witches is the book. If you’re a history buff, you’ll geek out after Matthew is inserted Forest Gump-like into literature, history, and science as well as witches and daemons influences as well. This book captures the imagine because it it so well thought out in terms of history. If you’re a wine connoisseur then you will find all the wine conversation way more fascinating than I did. I rate this book 4out of 5 stars. My girlfriend has read all the books says that I will like the 2nd book a lot better, so I look forward to it and the history.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

  1. Hmm, good review. I’ve been curious about this for a long time, keep picking it up and putting it back down when I’m at the bookstore, but the pacing issues and all that talk of wine . . . I don’t know that I’d have the patience to keep reading.

    Liked by 1 person

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