Wednesday, March 23, 2011

review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

pub date: February 8, 2011
publisher: Viking Adult
pages: 595
audience: adult
source: ALA Midwinter
appeals: history, science, romance, paranormal,  
content:  swearing, blasphemy, and some sexual content

Wow, I loved this book. The thing is, I NEVER would have picked it up if I hadn't been given a copy and if I wasn't in a reading slump right now. It's HUGE. And ADULT. But I needed something different and it was just sitting there on my book shelf and my sister really liked it. The author was at the ALA Midwinter Conference in January signing ARC copies and as I was passing I was asked if I wanted one. I am not the kind of person to say no to a free book (even when it's 700 pages of adultness). And I'm so glad I didn't, because it's a really good book!

I loved the different characters. The daemons, vampires, and witches had their own distinct traits and talents. And though for the most part they don't like each other and do not work well together, it's amazing what a little yoga can do to make differences diminish. I loved Diana's aunts and their house, which was a character in and of itself. The different locations and the history was all so great.

I LOVED Matthew. He wasn't perfect, but he was a really good guy. I liked Diana. She was a strong heroine AND she wasn't stupid. YAY. Sometimes strong female characters behave stupidly and then bad things happen. But bad things happened to Diana and she wasn't stupid. I liked that. Does that make me weird? (don't answer).

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the science and history of the book. It didn't bog down the story, though I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning reading and sometimes it was a little too deep for my sleep deprived brain.

Did I mention how long this book was? Well, it's LONG. Yet for all the story in it's pages, I want MORE. It wasn't enough. I CANNOT wait until the next book comes out. Whenever that is. I have no idea. Anyone else know?

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.


J. L. Jackson said...

Glad you enjoyed it. I just bought it today and look forward to reading it.

resugo said...

I hope you like it!