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.
I don’t think A Discovery of Witches is in any way comparative to Twilight, and I’ve never been able to get through an Anne Rice novel, so it’s hard to say, but if I had to I’d say that it’s a novel that’s unlike any other. It’s a very complex novel. Sometime last year, I put it down about halfway through. I don’t think this was because it was a bad novel, but more because I wasn’t quite ready for it.
Like its content, the novel’s main character Diana is also very complex. A witch who doesn’t practice magic, her personality is very intense. I very much enjoyed reading the novel from Diana’s perspective. The story through her eyes is very vivid.
Her intensity bleeds onto the page and fuses into her relationship with Matthew. I wasn’t expecting such a passionate love story to come from this book, and it was a welcome surprise. Their sudden relationship was a little rushed, but that’s okay. I soon fell in love with the love story between the two of them, and held on tight to their every word.
The world of A Discovery of Witches is very believable, and makes you want to jump into this fantastic world of Daemons, Witches, and Vampires. But not too quickly, because often the dangers outweigh the desire to be a part of it, and you think twice about what you would do if you were in these characters’ situations.
All in all, A Discovery of Witches is a very addicting novel that encompasses all the traits of a great story. And with its open ending, I’ll definitely be picking up book two.