A Discovery of Witches
Author: Deborah Harkness;
Series: All Souls Trilogy, Book 1;
Genre: Fantasy Romance;
Publisher: Penguin Books (2011).
I usually shy away from best-sellers like they were poisonous, but the ebook was on sale and I thought the characters sounded interesting.
I read this book within a few days of purchasing it, and I enjoyed it for the most part. It’s definitely a romance, set in an alternate fantasy world very closely resembling the one we live in. However, witches, vampires, and daemons live in this world, although separately from each other. Humans are mostly clueless in this story, and very few even have speaking parts. Just forget about humans, in fact.
The central conflict begins appealingly enough, when we learn that the overeducated and beautiful Diana is a witch but has spent most of her life avoiding anything to do with magic. Of course, she has hidden super powers that slowly begin to surface.
Is this story sounding familiar yet? If you’ve read any YA books about teens with super powers, it will. This is really just a grownup version of those books with some history thrown in.
Researching at the Bodleian Library in Oxford (told you she was overeducated), Diana unknowingly opens a book—and a huge can of worms—that has been hidden for centuries. She immediately meets a super-hot vampire (of course) and they proceed to try to solve the central mystery of the book together.
Oh, that’s not all, of course. They run away to France, fall madly in love, and start a war with the other creatures. The vampire is overprotective and frustratingly mysterious (did I say he was super-hot?). Diana turns into a weakling sometimes, which is especially noticeable because people keep telling her she’s so strong.
The supporting cast is interesting, though very few of them are villains. They include other creatures, most of them related to the main characters. I sometimes felt like the author was padding the story with these extras, but I’m sure they’ll all have specific uses somewhere in the series. Ooh, foreshadowing!
There’s a lot of suspense, sneaking around, kissing, and preparing for bad things to happen, although very little bad actually happens. The preparations for war begin at the very end of the book, so know that you must continue to read the series to come to any conclusions.
The writing is very good, the plot is interesting (that’s the third time I’ve used that word), but the main characters disappointed me. Overall, light reading for romance lovers.
Very little sex or profanity, although violence is often referenced and inferred.