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?

15 thoughts on “A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

  1. Literary Feline says:

    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!

  2. Duffy Gal says:

    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.

  3. Tami says:

    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.

  4. Golda says:

    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!

  5. Teddyree says:

    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.

  6. Heather says:

    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!

Leave a Reply to Teddyree Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s