Book Review: A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches
All Souls Trilogy
Author: Deborah Harkness
Pages: 579 pgs
Reading Level: Adult
Published: February 8th 2011
Review Source: Library
Available: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Borders

Summary: (from goodreads) 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.

This one took me awhile to read, mostly because real life got in the way and partly because there is a lot going on and you have to pay attention while you read. It reminded me of the Diana Gabaldon Outlander series as far as how I had to read it. It isn't a book that you can just breeze through, you have to process it and digest it so you don't get lost. If you are looking for a quick/easy read, this is not the book for you. This book demands that you pay attention to the characters and storyline or you will most likely become lost or lose interest. Although it took me longer to read than other books I've read recently (because of the reasons above), it was totally worth it.

Diana Bishop is a headstrong woman, who also happens to be a witch who refuses to use her powers. While doing research in the library she comes across a text later known as Ashmole 782. She knows there is something magical about this text, and she is frightened by what it could mean, so she sends it back to the shelves. In discovering the text, though, she opens up a whole world of hidden creatures, one in particular becomes very significant to the story, vampire Matthew Clairmont.

The story as well as the characters grow and evolve throughout the book and I for one cannot wait for the next one in this trilogy, not due out until 2012.


  1. I have been looking forward to reading this novel for a while. Thanks for the heads up about really paying attention and devoting time to this novel. I'll make sure to wait until I'm in the right mood to read it.

  2. I absolutely LOVED this book! I feel like I learned so much while reading it too - wine, tea, history, etc. I can't wait for the next two books! Did you know you can become FB friends with Matthew and Diana? Their profiles are pretty great. :)

  3. I'm glad you liked it. A friend of mine read it and said it got off to a slow start and then she really liked it. Looking forward to reading it :)

  4. Sounds interesting. :)
    I'm just curious... Your review mentions that the reading level is adult, what do you think, for what age range this book would be most suitable?

  5. i read this book while ago and like it took me while to read it. but i have to say that love, love, loved this book and i can not wait to read the next instalment. Happy reading

  6. I have this one from the library but have not even had time to start it. Funny enough, I also have on the same counter the first book in the outlander series.... also big and intimidating :)


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