A Discovery of Witches
by Deborah HarknessPublished by: Penguin Publish Date: Feb 2011 Narrated by: Jennifer Ikeda Genre: Paranormal (with romance, historical elements) Series: All Souls Trilogy #1 Source: Audible audiobook My Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars Blurb From Goodreads:
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 enjoyed A Discovery of Witches. I listened to the audiobook, which proved to be fairly long, but the story kept my attention and I was just as curious as the characters to see what the deal was with Ashmole 782 (a mysterious magical manuscript). Diana is a witch by birth, but a human scholar by choice. She has very stubbornly decided to try to live as human, but her magic slips out on occasion. Her stubbornness about her magic got a bit old, but she does show growth and acceptance as the book goes on. Michael is a very intriguing character. He is a ridiculously old vampire and he has some struggles with wanting to solve the mystery of the manuscript and with his attraction to Diana.
Diana and Michael’s relationship felt odd to me. I felt their connection and their chemistry, however, that chemistry never saw action. There are a few kisses here and there, but that connection never claims the couple. So, the passion between them is kind of questionable to me. I hate giving away spoilers, so I will stop here with that particular train of thought.
There is so much plot to this book. After listening to it, I felt like I had listened to 2 or 3 books, and still at the end, the story feels like it is just beginning. There really is a lot of detail, almost too much. If I had been reading the print version, I may have skimmed a few paragraphs. The supernatural world that exists is very interesting, I love the witches, the magic, and the history! Oh the history, there is so much of it throughout the book, as well as a lot of scientific talk. The characters are scholars, and they are written well, but at times I did feel that there was a bit too much “extra” material. Nevertheless, I really did like the story. After listening to the entire book, I am engaged in the story and eager to see what happens next for Diana and Michael. I am looking forward to reading the second book in the series.