Friday 27 November 2020

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 1 week

Pages - 579

Publisher - Viking Penguin

Source - Bought

Blurb 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.

My Review

I can't believe this is a debut, it is packed with so much and reads like someone who has been writing a long long time. Diana is a witch but has always repressed that side, she comes from a very powerful family but after her parents were murdered when she was a child she has ignored her magic. Now a scholar (with tenure no less) in Oxford, when she pulls up an old manuscript that everyone has been waiting for, witches, daemons and vampires she unwittingly turns her whole life upside down. What starts as a search for her work leads her into an unlikely set of relationships, love, danger and a find that could change the history for all creatures.

Who doesn't love a vampire book, a witch book and some flashes of daemons. Creatures that aren't meant to mingle, stay out of the interest of humans, ignored magic, family secrets and a house that has family ghost that are temperamental and all manners of magic.

There are sciencey bits where one of the vampires looks at genetics/dna. Witches, vampires and daemons at odds with each other and others learning to be friendly. A witch who denied her powers now having to work at undoing years of denial/repression but also another hill to climb to engage with her own power. Folk turning on their own kind for daring to "mix" with others out with their own species. It has so much going on and I thought it was grand, I have books two and three on the tbrm, hopefully not be too long until I get to them, 4/5 for me this time.

View all my reviews


  1. It's always interesting to read different perspectives on a book. This isn't one I particularly enjoyed, that your take in it has me thinking is all to the good.

  2. Lainy, I'm glad you enjoyed this story. I don't usually gravitate toward vampire or witch stories, but this one does sound intriguing.

  3. I read this a good few years back, I must read all the books back to back, it is so good!


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