A Discovery of Witches: A Novel by Deborah E. Harkness

A Discovery of Witches: A NovelI love reading fiction, especially ones with witches and vampires, so when I heard about A Discovery of Witches I just had to read it. It also gave me an excuse to finally use my kindle since the next book I bought would be an e-book. I was really enjoying my reading experience with the kindle up until the end; not the kindle’s fault.

A Discovery of Witches is about Diana Bishop, Matthew Clairmont, and the Ashmole 782. Diana Bishop is a respected historian of alchemy that comes from a long line of distinguished witches. However, she refuses to embrace her powers due to the tragic death of her parents but later we discover that there is more to that. Matthew is a 1500-year-old, hot, scientist vampire that is also doing research at Oxford like Diana. The Ashmole 782 is a bewitched manuscript that is believed to possess the history of all species and have unknown powers. For the most part Diana is able to stay away for the world of magic with a few exceptions. However, that ends when she unknowingly requests Ashmole 782. The moment she gets the manuscript is the beginning of chaos and a forbidden love story, no surprise there. Interspecies dating is prohibited.

The one thing that made me a bit iffy about this book was the comparison to Twilight some people were making. I read the Twilight series and don’t exactly care for it. At the beginning of the book, I really liked Diana because she was independent, affirmative, athletic, and had a bit of spunk. In the middle, she began to remind me of Bella Swan, who can’t be without Edward. Well, not to the same extent. I felt that the middle of the story was mainly about Diana drinking tea, eating toast occasionally with eggs, drinking wine, and being tucked into bed. I am not sure how much tea a person can drink, since I drink more than my fair share of coffee I am not too critical of it, but it is just boring to read about it. Off course this change happens after she starts hanging with Matthew Clairmont and becomes too dependent on him. Like Edward Cullen, Matthew is over protective and torments her with a very brief separation; felt like déjà vu. I did find Matthew Clairmont more appealing than Edward. Finally, in the final chapters of the book she accepts her powers and starts acting more like a heroine and not so much as a damsel in distress.

The pace of the story slows downs in the middle but really picks up towards the end which felt rushed. I also felt the end was abrupt and wanted to throw my kindle. I was glad to be reading this book on my kindle since it is over 500 pages and would be quite heavy to lug around. However, with a book your are always aware when the end is approaching but with the kindle you have to pay attention to the progress bar which I stopped doing during the middle since every time I checked no progress was made.

I enjoyed enough of the book but I would not say that I could not put it down especially when I was slogging through the middle. I really think it would have been better if some sections from the middle were left out. I thought the author did a wonderful describing the settings and weaving in different historical time periods and figures, like Darwin and Newton. She also spends a considerable amount of time describing different wines of which I would love to try a few. I will be reading the sequel mainly because I have the irritating habit of having to finish a series once I read the first book. If I did not have that habit, I would be hesitant. I am just hoping that she does not it make too long.