Review: A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) – Deborah Harkness

One of my reading resolutions this year is to get some of the bigger, more intimidating books off of my TBR shelf.

For my first crack at a big book I decided on A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. As a book that is getting a TV adaptation sometime in 2018, I knew the sooner I could read A Discovery of Witches, the better.

Did the book make me want to watch the tv show?

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8667848A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness

Publisher: Viking Penguin (February 2011)

Print Length: 579 pages

Audiobook Length: 24 hrs and 2 mins

Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda

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’s the only creature who can break its spell.

The Review

This book is as the title suggests, magical.

Harkness has this spellbinding way a way of starting off with the smallest of ideas and fleshing them out to the point where you come out of the novel in a pool of emotions  partially jealous that anyone has this type of gift with words and partially grateful that they chose to share their gift to the world. The pacing of A Discovery of Witches seemed effortless, which was a major bonus while reading it due to it being almost 600 pages.

Quite possibly my favourite part of A Discovery of Witches is how Harkness weaves our own history into her fantastical world. Salem, the French Revolution, and Tudor England all make cameos through out the pages and to see Harkness’ justification of each show the depth of her research while writing.

The characters were equally as interesting. Dr. Diana Bishop, a witch, has spent her whole life rejecting her heritage. As a descendant of Bridget Bishop, a famed Salem witch, she has a lot to live up for, and a lot to lose by being with vampire Matthew Clairmont. While I can definitely agree with others who have reviewed this novel’s romance as a more adult version of Twilight, it didn’t bother me enough to make me not like the relationship. There is a lot of potential in it, and my hope is that as the series progresses so too does the relationship.

My only complaint lies in Hakness’ writing of secondary characters. I was itching to learn more about the Daemons in A Discovery of Witches, so much so that I got frustrated that Hamish Osborne wasn’t featured more heavily. I hope that this changes in the next two installments, as I already feel like I have a fairly good grasp of Vampires and Witches as Harkness sees them, give me more Scottish Hamish, please! I also felt that the aunts where not used as effectively as they could have been. Although, I did like that Diana was able to see her ancestors, balancing out the focus a bit.

Overall Rating:  4 out of 5 stars.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indigo

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And that is my review for A Discovery of Witches by Debora Harkness. Do you have any witchy recommendations? Leave it as a comment below and help my TBR grow.


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