Book Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont.

I believe this is one of the best books I’ve read in a really long time (and that’s saying a lot because I’ve read so many in the last few months). I have really been branching out and trying to read new genres and experience new things, as of late. You might say, this is not that different from what I’ve been reading but it is. I feel like, despite the fantastical elements of the book, I learned a lot. The main characters are scholars, academics. She’s a genius, and so is he.

I feel like the author didn’t throw the science in your face to the point where your eyes glaze over. I was extremely interested in the ‘science’ of being a paranormal creature. Someone actually studying their genealogy and how they came to be is so interesting to me. Often times,  when you are reading books that involve ‘creatures’ they are busy running or fighting or hiding or…sexing. Hardly ever do you come across a book where they are just ‘existing’. It’s superb to me.

discovery of witches

 

Another thing that really drew me in, as a woman, is that Diana is smart in her own right. She’s done the work to get to where she is and no one can take that away from her. I love that. LOVE THAT. I hate it when the mcm is super smart and rides in on his white horse and the mcf is just flimsy, debilitatingly terrified, one dimensional and couldn’t stack a set of bowls. I love that Diana studies, she ‘reads’, she’s intrigued and she is motivated. I also love the fact that when he shows her something, in his field, she does not understand she immediately asks why, how or says explain it to me. There’s no level of ‘pretend to understand’ or ‘bat the eyelashes’.

Don’t get me wrong. She still has that soft aspect about her. She cries, she feels, she ‘experiences’. She has so many layers and none of them take away from the fact that she’s smart. The way Harkness wrote her made me proud to be a woman. I don’t know if its because I also have designs to be a professor and feel like a kindred spirit to the scholar but I definitely found myself smiling the further into the book that I got.

I have already picked up the second book in the series. Like I said on a previous post, I liked this book so much that I didn’t really read any other books simultaneously. Don’t fear, I will stretch my time this go around but yes, I will be reading the second book. However, instead of writing a new review, I will probably come back and edit this one, at the bottom, and write a few thoughts. So stay tuned!

 

 

If you’ve read this book, liked it, disliked it, hated it or haven’t read it (or listened to it) yet but plan to…let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have any book suggestions or any reviews you’d like to see here, let me know!

Good Readdance,
Jade

 

 

Link to Book