BOOK REVIEW: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Title: A Discovery of Witches
Author: Deborah Harkness
Publication: February 8, 2011
Publisher: Penguin Books
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 594

SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell. 


I can’t remember where I picked this book up at.  It may have been for Halloween book sale or something like that. I hadn’t really thought about reading it until recently when my friend said that her friend was reading it and that it was so good she was sneak reading it during the day.  When I hear that books are so good people sneak read them I have read them.  The book isn’t rated all that well on Goodreads, however, I always let myself be the judge of a book.  I have read books with amazing ratings that I thought absolutely horrible and wished I never read them.  

Diana Bishop is a witch.  A witch that uses her powers without actually realizing it.  She knows she uses it occasionally, like when a book that is too high to reach.  Matthew is a 1500-year-old vampire that is following Diana because she requested and received an ancient manuscript from the Oxford library.  With that set up I couldn’t wait for the book to really get rolling.  Diana spends most of the book not knowing what she can really do.  It’s not until she gets her DNA tested by Matthew, who is a geneticist, does she realize how powerful she is.  It isn’t until the end of the book when she finds out that her parents “spellbound” her that she realizes how to use her power.  I wished through the whole book that Matthew would finally get his head on straight and tell Diana that he loved her.  I mean we knew through the whole story that Diana was attracted to him.  

The book is action packed from beginning to end.  It has witches, daemons, and vampires.  It checks every paranormal book checklist.  The book moves quickly but you don’t get confused about what is going on like some books that have a lot of action.  I love all of the secondary characters.  They all had wonderful back stories and were well rounded.  The main characters were semi-relatable.  The only reason I say semi-relatable is because they were all highly intelligent and studied various things at Oxford.  For me at least, that only makes them semi-relatable.    I would definitely put them in the “go and grab a drink and talk about various things” camp.  All in all, I loved this book so much.  I have already borrowed the second book from my local library to read while on vacation and I have set the TV series based on the book to record on my TV.  I honestly don’t know why people didn’t like it.  I will have to go back and read the reviews to find out. 


Pick up your copy of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and check your local bookstore. Also make sure to add it to your To Reads list on Goodreads and leave feedback for the author when you are finished. Check out more from author Deborah Harkness, including more in this series, on her website HERE.

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