Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

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.

Initial Thoughts:
This has been on my wish list on Amazon since I got my Kindle a year and a half ago. It had great reviews, but as soon as I saw the word "vampire" I was turned off. It felt like everyone and their mom had a vampire book out last year. I went through my wish list recently and decided that it was time I gave it a try.

The Pros:
It felt like this book was a mixture of Harry Potter, a romance novel, and a dash of Twilight. I think that's good? Pretty sure it's good.

The historic detail in this novel was fantastic. I'm a big historical fiction fan, so this was awesome for me.

Harkness is a fabulous writer. No Stephenie Meyer nonsense here. Her descriptions left you feeling like you were in the book, not just reading it.

We read about vampires and witches all the time. Harkness adds daemons to this list. No werewolves. No fairies. No hobbits. Thank god.

I liked the scientific aspect of this book. Taking supernatural beings down to a DNA level was fascinating.

The Cons:
I was confused about the daemons. What were they really? Do they have a different lifespan than humans and witches? Do they live forever like vampires? What were their talents, other than being slightly inclined to higher IQs?

The book had a slow start. Slow starts are not good for me. I tend to lose interest and walk away from the book. Luckily, I stuck with it, which was rewarding in the end.

Diana is an intelligent woman (she DOES have a PhD in something fancypantsy after all), but she acts like a child multiple times in the book,

Matthew was a bit overbearing for my taste. And I like macho men in my novels. So that's saying something.

The Wrap Up: 3.5/5
I liked the book, but I think it could have been trimmed down a little. It was a monster sized book (just under 600 pages!) and I think the attention to detail, while good, could have been cut back a little. Less overbearing with Matthew, and more strength from Diana, and this book would have been perfect.

Favorite Quote:
"My life now has a beginning, middle, and an end. Everything before you was a preamble. Now I have you. One day you will be gone, and my life will be over."

Buy A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness on Amazon.

1 comment:

  1. I kind of loved Matthew. :) And I thought Diana was more immature, but maybe that's because she's so damn naive? She's like your typical book worm who's pretty oblivious to everything else happening around her. But I can't help but feel that in book 2, we'll learn not good things about Matthew. Am I right??