Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Deborah Harkness is an author I haven’t read before and so it’s part of my New Authors Challenge which is hosted by the Literary Escapism blog. Check out their blog and also the challenge. I’m really enjoying all the new authors I’m reading this year!

I think this is my last new author review of 2013! I will write a post wrapping it all up.

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a-discovery-of-witchesA Discovery of Witches
by Deborah Harkness
Series: All Souls Trilogy #1
Genre: Fantasy
Published by Viking Penguin, 2011
E-book, purchased
579 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: 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.

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“The question of why you’re here–how we’re all here–really does consume you,” I said slowly, “I could see it on every page of Darwin’s book.”

Matthew studied his wine. “It’s the only question worth asking.”

What I like about this book:

  • Diana’s study of the alchemists…the way history–the past and present and maybe the future–is interwoven into the story.
  • Diana’s love of history.
  • The Oxford setting with the Bodleian library, the scholars, Diana rowing her scull all create a wonderful setting
  • The way so many lives and events are interwoven.
  • The relationships people have with Diana–Sarah and Em, Matthew, Ysabeau and Marthe, Marcus, Diana’s parents and so many others. They all revolve around Diana even while they have their own lives.
  • The richness of this story–history, languages, settings, characters, emotions–are all wonderful.

What I don’t like:

  • There are still so many mysteries…which is great, but I’m impatient!

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My thoughts:

I love this book! I’ve heard about it since it came out over two years ago, but heard more about it this year after I started my blog and began regularly reading other blogs. I finally bought the book and read it and am so glad I did! I’m also glad I don’t have too long to wait before the third book in the trilogy is published (July 2014)!

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Have you read A Discovery of Witches? How did you like it?

Author: Jan

I love to read--especially mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I also love blogging, photography, gardening, playing Mah Jonng, reading with a cat on my lap, throwing a ball for a dog, creating cards to send to family and friends, reading book blogs, using my computer.

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