Suz's Reviews > A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
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's review
Nov 07, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: urban-fantasy
Read in December, 2011

Strong 4.5 stars. Numbered points.

1. It's too wordy in the way that Diana Gabaldon is too wordy. There is an up side, though. It seems it's worst in the beginning. I have the vague sense that the author floundered a bit trying to "show not tell" while doing the world building and got a bit mired down. So the beginning seems descriptive and slow, but it does, in fairness, set a beautiful tone of academia in which you can nearly feel the book dust in your nose and the slight chill of cavernous educational hallowed halls. In a similar vein as Gabaldon you will not find simply crafted sentences or insipid ideas here. It blossoms, slowly and beautifully.

2. For a while the heroine is a bit stuck in the "If I don't think about it it doesn't have to be real" kind of denial that infuriates most of us and makes us want to throw books at walls wondering why a woman would write another woman that way. Stay with it, it passes and it's so worth it.

3. Once it picks up you will not be able to put it down. But you really need to give yourself a LOT of room to get to that point.

4. The story is...epic. Nothing short of epic. As you may have guessed, there is no way to fully embrace an epic story, even in a 600 page book. The end is the set up for the next book. It's "All Souls Trilogy" and one can only hope that the long arcs are, in fact, cleaned up in three books. Be that as it may, I am not knashing my teeth feeling as if I have been left hanging off a cliff, rudely teased and manipulated without my consent. Although I am absolutely breathless for the next book, if I never picked another one up I could see the end of this one as "they rode off into the sunset and spent the rest of their lives having many adventures" and be satisfied.

You know how I feel about cliff hangers, and this one truly does end on a set up for the next, but somehow I don't resent it. It confuses me and I can't put my finger on why. Does that make any sense?
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by KK (new) - added it

KK Can't wait to read your review on this. This book has popped up on my maybe list a couple of times.

message 2: by Suz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Suz I haven't even started it yet, but I'm going to move it up in priority. So many folks have raved about it and the next one is due out soon.

message 3: by Suz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Suz It was hard for me to warm up to the heroine. Like I said in my review, for some time in the beginning she was nothing more than a denial trope and I found it frustrating. Her over coming it, and my seeing that her over coming it wasn't going to be the point but merely a step in the process, helped me to see past it.

message 4: by Sally (new) - added it

Sally Yes it makes sense. A story can be complete of itself yet leave you wanting more. It's about my favourite state to be in after finishing a satisfying book.

message 5: by Suz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Suz Sally, this book is for you. Seriously.

message 6: by Sally (new) - added it

Sally It's high on my TBR list. Thanks for the push.

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