Friday, July 6, 2012

A Discovery of Witches ~ Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of WitchesA Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First off I have to ask myself how I missed this one? I picked it up only because I got the net galley of the next book and wanted to know what was going on. For any of you who haven't grabbed this on yet all I have to say is, GO GET IT NOW.

Summary :

When historian Diana Bishop opens a bewitched alchemical manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library it represents an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordinary life. Though descended from a long line of witches, she is determined to remain untouched by her family’s legacy. She banishes the manuscript to the stacks, but Diana finds it impossible to hold the world of magic at bay any longer.
For witches are not the only otherworldly creatures living alongside humans. There are also creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires who become interested in the witch’s discovery. They believe that the manuscript contains important clues about the past and the future, and want to know how Diana Bishop has been able to get her hands on the elusive volume.
Chief among the creatures who gather around Diana is vampire Matthew Clairmont, a geneticist with a passion for Darwin. Together, Diana and Matthew embark on a journey to understand the manuscript’s secrets. But the relationship that develops between the ages-old vampire and the spellbound witch threatens to unravel the fragile peace that has long existed between creatures and humans—and will certainly transform Diana’s world as well.
My Take:

Deborah Harkness has crafted a fantastic world. Just a touch more magical than the one we live it making it easy to fall into and believe. Her characters are well developed and thoroughly enjoyable. The book itself has a slow burn effect. With each passing chapter we are pulled in more and more till you can't bear to put the book down for a second.

I love the way the author has crafted both magic and history into an ever evolving storyline. Some authors put to much effort into "building" their world and the story suffers for it. This is not the case in A Discovery of Witches. Harkness gives you just enough reality with a touch of something more making it easy to understand.

I've read some reviews that compared the romance of Diana and Matthew to Romeo and Juliet. Other than the whole ill-fated lovers comparison I just don't see it. Romeo and Juliet is, to me, more a story of raging hormones and teenage angst where as this was a novel about actual love. The kind you don't expect or maybe even want. Even with the odds against them, since she's a witch and he's a vampire, Diana and Matthew are willing to fight to stay together.

Its hard to not fall in love with both main characters. Diana is strong willed and stubborn, but still willing to let someone into her heart. Matthew tries to be detached but can't help himself around Diana. His controlling nature feels more like a mother hen than an overbearing boyfriend. The secondary characters are just as enjoyable. I found their backstories concise enough to be interesting but not detract from the storyline.

I can't wait to start the next one! If you want more information about this or the next book check out the Deborah Harkness website.

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