Monday, May 09, 2011

A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES by Deborah Harkness

Historian Diana Bishop comes from a long line of witches but she has no desire to pursue witchcraft. Instead, she focuses on her career as she does research on historical manuscripts about the move from alchemy and magic to science in Oxford. One day, Diana calls up a manuscript that is clearly magical and draws the attention of creatures everywhere. The world is full of much more than witches...there are also vampires and daemons living secretly among us.  It turns out that this manuscript has been lost and is a sort of "holy grail" for witches, vampires and daemons alike. Now, everyone wants to get their hands on it and Diana may be the key.  In her search for the truth about the manuscript and her attempts to escape from the other creatures, Diana makes an unlikely ally in vampire Matthew Clairmont. Could their relationship be more destiny than coincidence?

I was skeptical about this book because I wasn't sure there was anything knew to say on the topic of witches and vampires.   I was disappointed that THE PHYSICK BOOK OF DELIVERANCE DANE didn't deliver on its promise and was worried that this would be more of the same.  Harkness cleverly introduces us to world where witches, vampires and daemons live among us.  They go about their lives in an uneasy truce with one another but they are all looking for the ancient manuscript that will provide the key to their origins or the chance to become supreme.  Diana is an interesting character in that she is a truly gifted witch who only wants to be "normal."  She is complex and interesting and has a terrific backstory. All the characters in the book are interesting and the story moves at a very good pace. My one complaint would be the love story. Every time the love story came into the tale it slowed the whole narrative down. I felt the love story was silly, overwrought and kind of unnecessary. This is plenty going on without having this over-the-top love angle. Still, I found the book hard to put down. I was disappointed when it ended and I'm looking forward to the next book in this planned trilogy.

BOTTOM LINE: Recommended.  Harkness could have toned down the love story a lot and the book would have been much better. Still, there is much to enjoy here. It's a very creative and fast-paced story and definitely leaves you wanting more. A great vacation read.

1 comment:

Nari @ The Novel World said...

I just started reading this book. I'm only a few pages in, but I like it so far. I can't wait to compare reviews!