Book Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

About the Book:

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

Fall under the spell of Diana and Matthew in the stunning first volume of the No.1 internationally bestselling ALL SOULS trilogy.

A world of witches, daemons and vampires.

A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future.

Diana and Matthew – the forbidden love at the heart of it.

When historian Diana Bishop opens an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it’s an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she’s kept at bay for years; one of powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires.

Sensing the significance of Diana’s discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire geneticist.

Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world of half-truths and old enmities, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they begin to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feelings for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels…

My Thoughts:

I discovered the series on one of the online streaming channels and realized that it is actually based on a book series. I watched one episode and then decided to read the book first. I honestly prefer to read books more than watch the series/movies.

This book drew me in instantly. Diana is a strong independent woman who is trying to keep away from the one thing that defines who she is, magic. She is a witch, the last in the line of the strongest witches and she has her own internal demons to fight. A historian, Diana unknowingly opens an alchemical manuscript that alerts all creatures to her presence and draws them to her. Everyone wants the book. Everyone has an agenda.

Matthew, a vampire, is drawn to Diana for reasons he does not understand. It starts off with the manuscript like all other creatures, but then protective instincts kick in and suddenly he wants to keep the others away from her, keep her safe. As they start to work together, there is so much chemistry and passion that builds between them, both professionally and personally.

This is a tale of forbidden love, of loving outside your community, crossing boundaries and of enduring love. Wow. That is a lot of love talk! But this book is so well written with it’s technical descriptions that will not put the reader off. It does the opposite, it will draw you in until you are a part of the world of these characters.

At first the story takes time to build and then slowly builds pace which is then held steady. We follow Diana and Matthew as they navigate a world of creatures where there are rules and of course people who are out to get them. With the support of family and loved ones, they try to find out the truth of the manuscript and keep everyone safe. Diana starts to learn about her magic, her legacy and who she is. She starts to unravel the mystery behind her parents death and come into her own all with the strong support of one truly handsome vampire!

This is a wonderful story that is told in a manner that will leave the reader spellbound. The author casts a wonderful web of magic on reader that carries them along until the end. I loved reading this book and am looking forward to reading the next book in this series!

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