A good friend of mine suggested I read Deborah Harkness’ book A Discovery of Witches, part of the All Souls trilogy. My friend cajoled me on so many occasions that this is the book to read (she also wanted someone to discuss it with!). Well, after many months I caved in and began reading book 1 of the series.
Initially, I was totally underwhelmed. Ms. Harkness (a New York Times Bestselling author) is also an historian. In my experience, historian-turned-writers have the need to explain all of the minute details and provide the proper context for everything. Ms. Harkness does this to an extent. Not so terribly that I wanted to put the book down but enough that I would fall asleep in the first few chapters of A Discovery of Witches. Once the historical throat-clearing was done, and the setting up of the initial conflict(s), the story took off and I was hooked!
The story focuses on a witch — Diana Bishop — that does not want to be a witch. She does everything in her power to avoid and NOT use her witch-ly powers. While the majority of readers will wonder at this seeming paradox, as the story moves along, it becomes clear why Diana strives to be as human as possible. However, the reader finds out soon enough that Diana is pretty much only fooling herself! Others notice her unusualness and her otherness becomes the true focal point of the story.
The supporting POV character — Matthew — happens to be a vampire that is over 1,500 years old. He has been a part of every major world incident (very much like Forrest Gump) but this vampire has a heart and it belongs to Diana, the would-be, maybe-could-be witch. Their slow dance into romance is enchanting and will have you rooting for them as if you knew them in real life. Ms. Harkness portrays this couple well!
I love that this trilogy came about by Ms. Harkness wondering, ‘If there really are vampires, what do they do for a living?”(Check out Deborah Harkness‘ website for more!)
I do not want to give any spoilers but I have to say that the intricate world of other creatures in this story world make for great page-turning reading fun! Again, I have an issue with the sheer amount of back story and historical data dump, but that’s my pet peeve. Ms. Harkness is a bestselling author and she has written a top-notch book that makes you yearn to read book 2 of this series which is Shadow of Night.
A Discovery of Witches is definitely a great read!