Sunday, July 8, 2012

58. "A Discovery of Witches" by Deborah Harkness

Harkness, Deborah. A Discovery of Witches. New York: Viking, 2011.

592 pages

Reviewed by J. d’Artagnan Love

A Discovery of Witches is the first book in a trilogy about Diana Bishop, a witch who has spent most of her life denying her supernatural powers. Raised by her two aunts, Diana becomes a successful historian and professor specializing in the study of the history of alchemy. It is this very research that starts her on an adventure she is unwilling to experience.

Diana unlocks a spellbound book that tells the secrets of the origin of the three main species covered in the tale: witches, daemons, and vampires. This discovery does not go unnoticed by the other witches, daemons and vampires of the world and Diana is thrown into the start of a battle to own the book. Along the way she meets Matthew Clairmont, a chillingly handsome vampire. Despite the taboo of associating with vampires, Diana forms a bond with Matthew and he helps her unleash her inner witch.

This is a fun, fun, fun read. Harkness writes in a way similar to Dan Brown in The DaVinci Code and Elizabeth Kostova in The Historian. The plot is thick with several interwoven layers, time periods and rich characterizations. What I like most about Harkness’ writing is her use of description. She has a perfect balance of detail and you can feel, taste and hear pretty much everything just as she describes it. I can’t wait for the next book!

3.5 darts out of 5
Bookshelf project status: None (borrowed from a friend) 

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