Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1)A Discovery of Witches. Finished 6-28-14, rating 3.75/5, fantasy, pub.2011

Unabridged audio narrated by Jennifer Ikeda.  24 hours.

First in a trilogy

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.

from Goodreads

I am not a vampire or witch lover.  I occasionally get intrigued by the hype and check out a book with these characters (Twilight) but haven’t really fallen in love with any.  I’m not sure what made me pick this big book up at the library sale (value by page count?) but I did and I also checked out the Playaway so most of my reading of this one was really listening.  It was good.  I might listen to the next one if it’s the same narrator because I liked her performance.

Some things I liked

  • the concept of a lost book containing the origins of creatures (witches, vampires, daemons)
  • the easy relationship between Diana and Matthew
  • when Diana was trying to figure out what to make a vampire for a romantic dinner – totally made me giggle
  • the setting of Oxford and France
  • all of the well-known historical people who Matthew had known in his 1.500 years of existence
  • Diana. I really liked Diana and her aunts

A few things I didn’t care for

  • the story really slowed once in Wisconsin at the Bishop house
  • too much dialogue and the addition of so many characters in the last third of the book made it peter out for me a bit at the end

I am really curious about the time-walking coming up for Diana and Matthew and I would like to know what happens.  Harkness has made a fun world and I would like to see how it all pans out.

I’ve heard not so great things about the second one, but maybe she redeems the trilogy with the third?  Anyone read them?

July 16, 2014 - Posted by | 4 Star Books |


  1. I don’t think this is for me but my sister loved it.

    Comment by BermudaOnion | July 16, 2014 | Reply

  2. I enjoyed both the first and second books in the trilogy, although the second was weaker. I love the world Harkness has created. I didn’t get an early review copy, but I’ve noticed the reviews are already popping up. I’ve avoided them because I hope to read the third book soon. Glad you liked this one, Stacy. Sometimes stepping outside your comfort/interest zone can be worth it!

    Comment by Literary Feline | July 16, 2014 | Reply

  3. Sounds interesting…I might have to try this one:)

    Comment by pinkim95 | July 16, 2014 | Reply

  4. I started this one, but could not get into it, have been wanting to try again.

    Comment by Nise' (Under the Boardwalk) | July 16, 2014 | Reply

  5. Not sure it’s for me but I’ve noticed a lot of ‘twitter buzz’ by bloggers of the latest book.

    Comment by Mary | July 17, 2014 | Reply

  6. I have this one on my shelf. Its out of my comfort zone for sure, but I’m so curious about it I had to buy it!!

    Comment by Tara | July 18, 2014 | Reply

  7. I read and enjoyed #1, have #2 on my kindle, but have heard it’s not as good as the first (of course I might have a different opinion). I have only skimmed over reviews for #3 since I will probably read it, but so many people feel the series ended on a high note.

    Comment by Duffy Gal | July 18, 2014 | Reply

  8. I was so excited when this book came out. Maybe it was just the cover art? I couldn’t wait to read, but when I actually got my hands on it and read more of the cover, I lost interest. Like you, I’m not a fan of vampire or witch stories (unless they are funny), so I just haven’t gotten myself to actually try it. AFter reading your review, maybe I’ll pass. Sounds ok – but not great.

    Comment by Tami | July 18, 2014 | Reply

  9. I have heard good things about the third. A friend just read all three in a row & really enjoyed them. She (and your review) almost have me convinced to read it whenever I catch up on everything else!

    Comment by Golda | July 18, 2014 | Reply

  10. I struggled with this one. I listened to it n audio and just could not follow it well. I wish I would have loved it and need to maybe try it one day in book format.

    Comment by Sheila (Book Journey) | July 19, 2014 | Reply

  11. hmm I have this one, another friend who loved all three convinced me to get it, and I do love vampires and witches but it’s still unread … oops.

    Comment by Teddyree | July 24, 2014 | Reply

  12. I’ve heard so many mixed reviews on this series. I don’t know if I want to put the time in! But I still have it on my TBR list. But I do love a good world-building, which is why I enjoyed the Caster Chronicles so much. Even though the characters weren’t that great!

    Comment by Heather | July 29, 2014 | Reply

  13. […] A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness […]

    Pingback by Heather MacCorkle Edick | Six Facets of Understanding and the All Souls Trilogy | September 8, 2014 | Reply

  14. […] book? A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness at 579 […]

    Pingback by 2014 Book Favorites and Stats « Stacy's Books | December 31, 2014 | Reply

  15. I read the first two, but haven’t gotten to this one yet. Thanks for sharing your review!

    Comment by Pat @ Posting For Now | December 31, 2014 | Reply

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