A Discovery Of Witches by Deborah Harkness (Book Review)

Fall under the spell of Diana and Matthew in the stunning first volume of the No.1 internationally bestselling ALL SOULS trilogy.

A world of witches, daemons and vampires. A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future. Diana and Matthew - the forbidden love at the heart of it.

When historian Diana Bishop opens a alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it's an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she's kept at bay for years; one of the powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires. Sensing the significance of Diana's discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire genticist. Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world or half- truths and old enemies, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they begin to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feeling for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels...


Goodreads Star Rating: 5/5

I read this book in the space of four days, I refused to put the book down and I was so captivated into this world, that I didn't realize how time went by. Harkness's writing is intriguing and tantalizing and just overall brilliant. I was also captivated by Harkness's world building, the magic and the amazing characters we meet throughout the book. 

Diana is a Historian and she is also a witch. When she was seven, she lost her parents and refused to use her magic. She works in the Bodleian Library and gets her hands on a manuscript called Alchemy 782, which is the lost manuscript since the 1800s and somehow Diana got her hands on it. After that, a gathering of Vampires, Witches and Daemons start creeping around the library making it harder for Diana to work, especially the good looking and charming Matthew de Clairmont. And a romance begins.

With the relationship between Diana and Matthew, it does fall into similar territory when it comes to books like these but personally I think people got inspiration after reading THIS book. Although it does follow the typical girl meets boy, girl knows he's a vampire, girl geeks out on how many people he has met throughout his lifetime as a vampire. There is a sense of belonging and a comfort when these two are together, their attraction for one another is heartwarming and beautiful. Even though one is a vampire and the other is a witch, they are both willing to sacrifice their life for the sake of one another.

We meet a lot of characters in this book. Matthew's vampire family and Diana's Aunts. Knowing that they don't like one another, I really liked how they accepted Matthew and Diana's wishes and willing to help them from the Congregation. I love Diana's Aunt Sarah, she's like a worrying mother but also a woman in charge. I loved her relationship with Emily, they are very caring for one another.

The magic. OH BOY the magic. It's not your typical casting a spell and making a potion, it's more than what you are expecting with the inclusion of the four elements. There is Witchwater, witchfire, witchearth and witchwind, not all witches are able to use one of the four elements, but some are able to use one or none. Throughout the book, your learn along with Diana the types of power she can use and it's astonishing. Her powers are linked to why her parents are dead and is linked to why she never used magic while growing up. She soon starts to develop her powers and starts accepting her heritage. I also want to mention that I love the house the Bishops live in, it's a very old house, as known to the locals, but it's also magic as well. The house is alive, as well as the spiritual residences of the Bishop family.

It surprises me that it took me this long to pick up the book. I'd seen the book in Waterstones and WH Smith soo many times, that I intimidated with it size. It is over 600 pages but it is filled with history, magic and romance. I am very much looking forward to Shadow of Night, when I get the chance to purchase the book.

If you are interested in Witches and Vampires in a more realistic aspect and a love for discovery, then you should definitely pick this book up.

Hope you are having a lovely day

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