Friday, December 20, 2013

A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches
Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)

Genre: Fantasy

Summary (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.

Review: You should know that this is the first book in a trilogy, and that the third book hasn't been released yet.  Somehow, I missed that information, and as I neared the end of the book, I couldn't figure out how it was going to be resolved in so few pages.  Then I got to the end, and I thought, "WHAT?  This cannot be the end!"  And, of course, it wasn't.

As many other reviews state, this book can best be described as a combination of Twilight and Harry Potter, but written for adults.  It got very slow in parts, the alchemical details were completely unscientific, the sheer number of characters got confusing, and I couldn't understand how Diana and Matthew could have fallen in love so quickly (or, for that matter, how anyone could fall in love with a vampire).  Plus, there were an awful lot of plots and sub-plots and twists on plots that could have been simplified.  And how on earth do you pronounce the name Ysabeau?  But aside from those complaints, it was fun to read and entertaining, and I enjoyed the fact that it wasn't a young adult book.

Rating: 4 stars

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