A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness

a discovery of witches

The All Souls Trilogy is definitely up there with my favourite series of all time. I’m going to review Shadow of Night and The Book of Life in time, but today I’m going to focus on A Discovery of Witches. 


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.


It took me a while to really get in to this book, but.. once I did I was seriously hooked. The story is so well written. I have read a lot of reviews that think the plot is weighed down by needless information, but I think the description adds to the beauty of the story. And I personally like to know all the extra information, like character’s back stories and the historical/scientific information, sounds silly but it made me feel like it was real.

Diana was a little annoying at first, YOU’RE A WITCH, WHY AREN’T YOU USING YOUR POWERS? But, you can kind of understand why. I think I was just a little jealous that I’m not a witch (aren’t we all?).

As the story goes on you really get to know Diana, and I think she is a really likeable character. Matthew is tough to get to grips with, he is a thousand year old vampire who has some serious issues (anger, over-protection of Diana). BUT, he is also actually really great, and if I’d lived for over a thousand years and my heart only beat like once a week I’d probably have some issues too.

There are so many other points I could comment on, Diana’s aunts (this book totally advocates gay marriage) who are both super cool, Matthew’s mother and lovely, albeit slightly strange, housekeeper, AND THE SETTING, ohh the setting. It is every book lover’s dream. I read A Discovery of Witches and have been pining after a to visit the Bodleian Library ever since.

I know I don’t really give much away here, but there is so much to take in with this book -it is really really long.. 6OO pages long, it is worth it though I promise -and it is all so wonderful it is better for you to find out for yourself.

SO.. I will finish with one piece of advice, go in to this book with an open mind, it may seem like it is difficult to get to grips with at first, but once you are there it is such a beautiful read. And remember that it is the first in a trilogy, so a lot that happens, that seems to be left unanswered all comes together.

Basically… read this book.





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