Review: A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches                                  by Deborah E. Harkness                                   Viking Adult, February 2011

*Disclosure: I purchased this book myself.*

Dr. Diana Bishop is an extremely reputable scholar studying at Oxford.  She also happens to be the last descendant of the Bishop Witches, linked to the Salem Witch Trials.  Since her parents deaths when she was young, Diana has shunned her magical side and chosen to focus on her academic mind.  All of that changes when she pulls a manuscript for research that happens to be magical.  Now witches, vampires and daemons are all after Diana and whatever this manuscript holds.

I have struggled with this review for almost two weeks, because I (in equal parts) loved and hated this book.  First, I love magical things: give me Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, Sookie Stackhouse and I am so there.  So I loved the idea of all of these magical beings co-existing in an academic setting.  I also thought that Diana fighting against her magical instinct made for an interesting twist.  In short, plot = win.

The research was also impeccable.  You can tell that Deborah E. Harkness is a history professor.  But that also creates a problem, because there is almost too much information included in the book.  There were parts where I appreciated the attention to detail, and times where I just didn’t care to so in-depth about the eating habits of wolves.  I think maybe the descriptions could have been paired back a little.

But just when I would start to snooze a little bit, you would get “hit” with an exciting scene that would make your heart pound.  I truly loved the characters and cared about their well-being.  The story line was extremely interesting and it got better and better as the book went on.  It is also set up to extend the story to a second book, which I hope will happen.

This is definitely a book that I won’t rave about, but I think you should get it BEFORE it comes out in paperback.  I loved the characters and am great at skim reading boring details.  So if you like magical things, great stories and can endure a lot of detail…go for it!  I really did wish the book wouldn’t end and can’t wait for the sequel to come out.


About Bookmomma

"The greatest gift is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination.” -Elizabeth Hardwick
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2 Responses to Review: A Discovery of Witches

  1. Joda Foster says:

    Did a 2nd book come out yet?

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