Barbara's Reviews > A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
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Feb 19, 2011

it was amazing
Read in February, 2011

Deborah Harkness' debut novel, A Discovery of Witches: A Novel, is amazing. I was drawn in from the first and did not want to put it down. It's like a mature Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1) meets The Da Vinci Code. The characters are interesting and complex, the story is exciting without being too ambitious or overcomplicated. The book held me spellbound and is responsible for a few hours of lost sleep. It's an historical-supernatural-romance-adventure-mystery--my favorite genres wrapped into an exceptionally good book.

Diana Bishop is not going to use her magic--at least, that's what she keeps telling herself. She is the last in a long line of powerful witches, with a father as powerful as her mother. However, having lost her parents when she was seven years old has turned her away from her heritage and her magic. While researching alchemical manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, she comes in contact with a volume that reaches out to her magic. Panicked, she returns the book to the stacks, but it is too late--word is out that she has discovered the lost Ashmole 782 and now all species of creatures are after her.

Enter Matthew Clairmont, renowned scientist and vampire. He has been searching for Ashmole 782 for centuries and is determined to retrieve the book Diana has recalled. He feels drawn to Diana, feeling the need to protect her from the other creatures, despite witches and vampires being notorious separatists. They are thrown into an uneasy friendship when the worlds of witches, vampires and daemons descend upon Diana, all looking for the manuscript.

A Discovery of Witches: A Novel is one of the best books I've read in quite a while. It's clearly written to have a sequel, possibly more than one, and I am anxiously awaiting the next book. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading.


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04/01/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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message 1: by Nap (new)

Nap I was debating if I should buy this book but thank you for comparing it to Twilight; now I'm pretty sure I won't move a muscle in its direction.


message 2: by Beth (new) - added it

Beth  (Curling Up With A Good Book) Im excited! I just bought it and I am looking forward to reading it!! If you like "adult" vampire stories then you should read The Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward...Its AWESOME!!


Jackie C What Barbara said...couldn't say it any better. Drawn in from the first page and could not put it down.


Nicolette I was going to write my own review, but after reading yours Barabara, it is exactly how I feel about this book! Definitely one of the best books for me too!


Beth Grenfell I also told people that it seemed like a mature version of Twilight. It was better of course though without out all the silly teeny bopper garbage. I also loved that she added so much about history.


Anne Gagliano I liked this book a lot but there were definitely moments where it got too cutesy & precious. After skipping over those I enjoyed it immensely but clearly there is more coming. We were left with many loose ends.


Judy Hanks Anne wrote: "I liked this book a lot but there were definitely moments where it got too cutesy & precious. After skipping over those I enjoyed it immensely but clearly there is more coming. We were left with ..."

I am curious, Anne, what you thought as cutesy in the book?


Anne Gagliano Napolexander wrote: "I was debating if I should buy this book but thank you for comparing it to Twilight; now I'm pretty sure I won't move a muscle in its direction."
This book was much better written than Twilight & the characters were better developed. I couldn't get farther than 1/2 through Twilight & decided I was torturing myself so I quit reading it. For the most part, " A Discovery of Witches" was a fun & interesting read so maybe you should give it a try.


Anne Gagliano Judy wrote: "Anne wrote: "I liked this book a lot but there were definitely moments where it got too cutesy & precious. After skipping over those I enjoyed it immensely but clearly there is more coming. We we..."

Judy wrote: "Anne wrote: "I liked this book a lot but there were definitely moments where it got too cutesy & precious. After skipping over those I enjoyed it immensely but clearly there is more coming. We we..."Hi Judy. I just thought the whole "do I hate him, do I not"," do I like him, do I not" thing got annoying. This book isn't aimed at middle schoolers but it struck me that way with all of Diana's indecision & her refusal to use magic ( which I thought was childish). With that said, I really liked the book a lot ( though not as much as you...I gave it 4 stars) & will definitely buy the sequel.


message 10: by Nap (last edited Sep 08, 2011 06:36AM) (new)

Nap Anne wrote:This book was much better written than Twilight & the characters were better developed. I couldn't get farther than 1/2 through Twilight & decided I was torturing myself so I quit reading it. For the most part, " A Discovery of Witches" was a fun & interesting read so maybe you should give it a try.
Ah, I think it was..uugh..wrong to compare anything to twilight. It's currently not on top of my to-read list be sure that I will give time and money in the future to read this and hope that you are right..meh


Kerry Great review. I completely agree with the "mature twilight meets Da Vinci code" comparison


Jennifer C. This is so funny! I'm not finished with this yet, but I was telling someone about it today and compared it to The Da Vinci Code meets Anne Rice. I don't think it's as childish as Twilight. I think it really has an Anne Rice feel. I read her Mayfair witch series. I loved it. This reminds me a lot of that.


Michelle Rahn Thank you! I was looking for a review that would tell me why I should read this book. It sounds perfect for me.


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