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2019 Monthly Challenge > September Group Read Discussion: A Discovery of Witches

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message 1: by Sara (last edited Sep 02, 2019 05:29AM) (new)

Sara | 1508 comments September Group Read Discussion is open for A Discovery of Witches. Discussion will be led by Kenya!

Please use spoiler tags if you are sharing any plot related surprises.

Posts here should only be about this book.


message 2: by Betty (new)

Betty Miller (bettymiller) | 8 comments I love this series, and I’m really looking forward to what others have to say! I’m using it for the re-read of a favorite book prompt.


message 3: by Kendra (new)

Kendra | 301 comments I read Time's Convert back in January and I was going to then go back and reread the series but then I discovered this group and realized it was going to be the Sept. book, so I held off until now to do the reread.


message 4: by Sherri (new)

Sherri Harris | 441 comments I used the book as a re-read too. I read it again before I watched season 1 on AMC. I liked the show also.


message 5: by Meg (new)

Meg | 39 comments I started this book and got about 1/4 of the way through and had to abandon. Nothing happened!!! She made tea and ignored all the signs. Urgh.
I feel like everyone loves this book and there must be something I'm not getting...


message 6: by Jennifer W (new)

Jennifer W | 699 comments Lol, Meg, that actually makes me feel a bit better about my reluctance to read it.

I remember when this book came out and there was a lot of hype around it, but it didn't really sound like something I would enjoy, so I haven't read it. But it's always been one of those in the back of my mind like, "should I try it and see what all the hype is (was) about??" But if it's a nothing happens for pages and pages, maybe I will continue to skip it...


message 7: by Kenya (new)

Kenya Starflight | 657 comments Hey everyone! Sorry it took me so long to start off this discussion, it's been a busy week. I hope everyone enjoys the book... or if not, at least the discussion, heh.

Some preliminary questions, then Sunday I'll start off with some discussion questions of what people might have read so far.

1. Do you enjoy fantasy novels? If so, do you enjoy urban-fantasy novels specifically?

2. What prompted you to pick this book up? Pretty cover, just to fill a prompt, preparing for watching the series? If you're not normally a fantasy fan, what prompted you to venture into a genre you don't normally read?

3. What are your expectations for this book? What are you hoping to get out of it?


message 8: by Kendra (last edited Sep 05, 2019 09:32PM) (new)

Kendra | 301 comments 1. Do you enjoy fantasy novels? If so, do you enjoy urban-fantasy novels specifically?

Yes. Urban fantasy still accounts for a large chunk of my reading.

2. What prompted you to pick this book up? Pretty cover, just to fill a prompt, preparing for watching the series? If you're not normally a fantasy fan, what prompted you to venture into a genre you don't normally read?
Originally, I read this because I'd heard that it was supposed to be Twilight for adults and I was curious. But that was back when it was first published.

3. What are your expectations for this book? What are you hoping to get out of it?
I want to see if I still like it as much as I did the first time I read it.


message 9: by Theresa (last edited Sep 06, 2019 12:01PM) (new)

Theresa | 1766 comments I actually read Discovery of Witches in 2017 and was surprised at how much I liked it. I'm hoping at some point soon to start the 2nd in the series. In anticipation, I'm going to just skim some parts of the book again in order to 'refresh my recollection', as we lawyers say. This discussion will help as well!

1. Do you enjoy fantasy novels? If so, do you enjoy urban-fantasy novels specifically?

I'm not much of a fantasy reader, and those fantasies I read tend to be more adventure type, less magic or creature oriented, or to read more like historical fiction. For example, I am a huge GRRM Song of Ice and Fire fan, adored LOTR, and loved Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind which read like Dickens to me. I have also enjoyed the Katherine Arden series that started with The Bear and the Nightingale which read to me like legend and historical fiction.

2. What prompted you to pick this book up? Pretty cover, just to fill a prompt, preparing for watching the series? If you're not normally a fantasy fan, what prompted you to venture into a genre you don't normally read?

Well, truth is I have a first edition hardcover, so I bought it the minute it came out in 2011. It just sat on my shelves as part of my massive TBR for years. That happens a lot because I buy a lot of books - it's cheaper than therapy. Why did I first buy it if I don't really care for fantasy? Frankly, I did not realize it was fantasy when I bought. I thought it was more of a mystery about an ancient manuscript that suddenly surfaced, which is something I love (I read mysteries voraciously). And of course, it is about that too. I do believe that once I realized it was more a fantasy with creatures like witches and vampires, it slipped to the back of the TBR.

I ended up reading it finally for 2 reasons: It had somehow maneuvered itself to the top of the TBR and kept winking at me from across the room when I'd be watching tv. AND, I needed a book for 2017 PS that had been on my TBR for too long. It won.

3. What are your expectations for this book? What are you hoping to get out of it?

Well, as I've already read it, I can only say that I was not just pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it, I have been recommending it to many. I won't say much more other than to say I suspect the reasons I loved it so much are going to be quite different from the majority who read this because they love fantasy.


message 10: by Kenya (new)

Kenya Starflight | 657 comments Time for discussion questions! Will post them every Sunday until the end of the month. :) Also feel free to add thoughts and impressions that aren't part of the discussion questions.

1. Diana's mother says that fear is "the strongest force on earth" (p.5). What does she mean? Do you agree?

2. Early in the novel, Harkness describes the typical personalities and physical traits of daemons, witches, and vampires. If you could be any one of these beings, which would you choose and why?

3. What do you think about Diana's refusal to use her inherent powers? Do you think it's justified or not?

4. Do you like the fact that the author has invented her own rules for vampires, witches, and daemons in this book? What do you think of her interpretations of these beings?


message 11: by Cari (new)

Cari Piatt | 15 comments Oh my goodness I LOVED this book!
I normally am not into these types but I had a very long road trip so I picked up the Audio.
It’s 24 hours long but it was perfect for my trip. I absolutely fell in love with it and finished the entire series within 2 months after.
Once again the group has picked something I would normally not and I loved it!


message 12: by Hilary (new)

Hilary | 58 comments Meg wrote: "I started this book and got about 1/4 of the way through and had to abandon. Nothing happened!!! She made tea and ignored all the signs. Urgh.
I feel like everyone loves this book and there must be..."


Meg, you are not alone. My husband saw it on my dresser and said that he tried to read it, but after 100 pages of nothing happening, he abandoned it. I told him I was reading it for this month's challenge and he shrugged his shoulders and said, "Good luck." I'm gonna give it a go, but if nothing is happening, I'll probably abandon it too.


message 13: by Hilary (last edited Sep 11, 2019 08:01AM) (new)

Hilary | 58 comments Kenya wrote: "Hey everyone! Sorry it took me so long to start off this discussion, it's been a busy week. I hope everyone enjoys the book... or if not, at least the discussion, heh.

Some preliminary questions, ..."


1. Although I don't read a lot of fantasy books, and they are not my first choice, I'm not against them. I didn't even know urban-fantasy was a genre. Learn something new every day, I guess. Hahaha.

2. I decided to pick up this book, because it's this month's selection for the challenge. I like these challenges because it encourages me to read books I would not normally read.

3. I actually have pretty low expectations because of all the mixed reviews and my husband's not-so-great review (he couldn't finish it). So if it keeps me entertained, that's good enough for me. Ha!


message 14: by Theresa (last edited Sep 14, 2019 11:23AM) (new)

Theresa | 1766 comments Since I read this a couple years ago, I had to 'refresh my recollection' by skimmimg a few sections to answer some of these.

1. Diana's mother says that fear is "the strongest force on earth" (p.5). What does she mean? Do you agree?

Fear has many guises and is hard to overcome or suppress, but is incredibly easy to instill and use as justification for actions. It is both a tool to be manipulated and used to control, and also ungovernable. It is instinctive rather than learned although managing fear can be learned. That all makes fear incredibly powerful.

I do agree because fear will cause people to band together and endorse unacceptable even unspeakable actions by leaders, governments, religions, neighbors. Rulers and political candidates have used it throughout history to incite support, compel conformity, and suppress rebellion. A certain president routinely panders to the many fears of his supporters to keep them loyal.

2. Early in the novel, Harkness describes the typical personalities and physical traits of daemons, witches, and vampires. If you could be any one of these beings, which would you choose and why?

Easy peasy...a witch. Fits who I am: literate, fascinated with connections, tradition, history. Someone who ties people together and to each other. All the things I am and love are true of witches - study, reading, friends and family, home and roots, accumulation of knowledge, lawyering. Of course lawyers are witches and wizards!

Interestingly, ability to use magic or cast spells is least interesting or appealing to me.

3. What do you think about Diana's refusal to use her inherent powers? Do you think it's justified or not?

I think it childish. Understandable in a child or teen who wznts nothing more than to blend in with peers and long for family to be mainstream. Immature in an adult. Plus Diana is a hypocrite because as an intrinsic part of her constitution and mind, she is using it. Just not exploring, developing, and ultimately controlling it. She us wasting a valuable gift that should be employed just like a gift for languages, math, drawing, etc.

4. Do you like the fact that the author has invented her own rules for vampires, witches, and daemons in this book? What do you think of her interpretations of these beings?

For me Harkness has adapted the traditional legends to reflect ethnic and religious diversity as experienced in the world today. You cou substitute Jew, Latino, Muslim for demon, vampire and witch, and the core social and political story told would remain intact. This for me is why I ended up loving this fantasy, a genre of which I am not particularly fond.


message 15: by Kendra (new)

Kendra | 301 comments 1. Diana's mother says that fear is "the strongest force on earth" (p.5). What does she mean? Do you agree?

Fear, like all emotions is irrational. It can be a force for good, keeping people cautious while they're attempting new or dangerous things, but too often people let their fear rule their actions, which results in tragedy. But I think that goes for any emotion. Love, Compassion and Empathy are every bit as powerful as Fear, Hate and Anger (but the negatives are usually easier to act on unfortunately).

2. Early in the novel, Harkness describes the typical personalities and physical traits of daemons, witches, and vampires. If you could be any one of these beings, which would you choose and why?

Daemon: A subtype given to artistic genius. Sign me up. I love music and art, and wish my talent could match my passion. I'm good enough, but that extra little bit would be worth the instability (well, maybe not, but this is all theoretical anyways).

3. What do you think about Diana's refusal to use her inherent powers? Do you think it's justified or not?

I think it goes back to fear. She is afraid to be different, and afraid to end up like her parents. But no matter what justifications she came up with for herself, in the end she was letting fear rule her actions, so therefore she was not justified.

4. Do you like the fact that the author has invented her own rules for vampires, witches, and daemons in this book? What do you think of her interpretations of these beings?

I think if you are going to take ideas that are in the public consciousness (like vampires) you have to come up with your own spin on it, or why bother? And her take is interesting and different enough to give it a chance to stand out. I liked that she took a more scientific take on the legends.


message 16: by Patricia (new)

Patricia | 47 comments 1. Do you enjoy fantasy novels? If so, do you enjoy urban-fantasy novels specifically? I don't enjoy fantasy books in general, but I have liked some in the past. I loved the Harry Potter books

2. What prompted you to pick this book up? Pretty cover, just to fill a prompt, preparing for watching the series? If you're not normally a fantasy fan, what prompted you to venture into a genre you don't normally read? I read (correction: tried to read) this because it was the September group read.

3. What are your expectations for this book? What are you hoping to get out of it? I already returned it to the library, but my expectations before reading it were that, since it is so popular, there must be a reason, so I kept an open mind.


I tried. I usually give a book 50 pages before giving up on it, but it was a struggle to make it that far. I just couldn't finish it. It's not my cup of tea; it's hard to put my finger on exactly what I didn't like about it, so I'm not saying other people won't like it. I will not be finishing this one, and will be looking for a different book for this prompt.


message 17: by Kendra (new)

Kendra | 301 comments I like this book, but it is a slow read. Not much happens in the beginning, but it does make me feel what it would be like to be at Oxford, so I don't mind the lack of action. The stalking and over protective behavior being a sign of "True Love" is still a little irritating.


message 18: by Hilary (new)

Hilary | 58 comments Kendra wrote: "I like this book, but it is a slow read. Not much happens in the beginning, but it does make me feel what it would be like to be at Oxford, so I don't mind the lack of action. The stalking and over..."

Yeah, I've done a lot of eye rolling with all the stalking/overprotective equals love parts too.


message 19: by Katie (new)

Katie Turner | 64 comments It's on my ereader, so it's a good thing I haven't hucked it across the room yet. Not saying it hasn't been close a couple of times.

Slogging away, I should finish this weekend but damn is it slow. It's been helpful in getting me to sleep more.

I'm not really into it, but not knowing how it ends will bug me enough that I'll get through.


message 20: by Katie (new)

Katie Turner | 64 comments I finished. Can we talk about (view spoiler) seriously wtf?


message 21: by Kenya (new)

Kenya Starflight | 657 comments I apologize, everyone, for being such a lousy discussion leader. This month was an extremely rough one for me, and I just let the discussion slide entirely. I'm sorry. :(

Katie, I'd say we're clear to discuss anything potentially spoiler-y now.


message 22: by Kendra (new)

Kendra | 301 comments Katie wrote: "I finished. Can we talk about [spoilers removed] seriously wtf?"

The book was Matthew's way of telling her WHEN Diana and he had gone, so she burned it so Peter Knox et. al. would not be able to figure it out.


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