Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

All Souls Trilogy #1
Viking Penguin
February 2011
Adult Paranormal
Deep in the heart of Oxford's Bodleian Library, scholar Diana Bishop requests a manuscript called Ashmole 782 in the course of her research. Coming from an old and distinguished lineage of witches, Diana senses that the ancient book might be bound up with magic--but she herself wants nothing to do with sorcery; and after making a few notes on its curious images, she banishes it quickly back tot he stacks. But what she doesn't know is that the old alchemical text has been lost for centuries, and its sudden appearance has set a fantastical underworld stirring. Soon, a distracting horde of daemons, witches, and vampires descends upon the Bodleian's reading rooms, One of these Creatures is Matthew Clairmont, an enigmatic and eminent geneticist, practitioner of yoga, and wine connosseur--and also a vampire with a keen interest in Ashmole 782.
Equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense, A Discovery of Witches is a novel of epic scope, traveling from the cobbled streets of Oxford to the chateaus and mountains of the Auvergne to a small town in upstate New York. It also takes us into a rich fifteen-hundred-year history that spans Clovis and the Crusades, the Knights Templar and the American Revolution. As Matthew and Diana's alliance deepens into intimacy, Diana must come to terms with age-old traditions and her own family's conflicted history--and she must learn where the modern woman she is meets the source of ancient power that is her legacy. With a scholar's depth and the touch of a great storyteller, Deborah Harkness has woven a tale of passion and obsession; the collision of magic, alchemy, and science; and the closely guarded secrets of an enchanted world.

 Without reservation, I give A Discovery of Witches 5 out of 5 stars. This book was absolutely amazing! While it wasn't a young adult novel, it is just absolutely wonderful for a paranormal novel in the adult genre. While I was reading, I could only really find one thing that I didn't like about the novel and it was only the cliche of "you're different so you can't be together." But, of course, there has to be something to stop the relationship or to block it from going forward easily, so what can you say?
I think what I liked best about this novel was that it was deliciously fast paced and it was loaded with history. I'm a complete nerd for history and science, and this was the perfect book for me to read. I adored it! It was like a paranormal version of Dan Brown, only better! And the love story was beautiful, too. While it hinted at the intimate relationship between Diana and Matthew, it wasn't overly graphic in the most intimate of scenes. The characters were wonderfully realistic and beautifully brought to life.
Overall, A Discovery of Witches is a wonderful story about finding yourself, your destiny, and your courage. A must read.

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