Saturday, January 28, 2017

REVIEW: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

My Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★

A Discovery of Witches was a fabulous story: a little love, a lot of history, and a whole lot of supernatural. I loved how the author, who's actually a historian herself as it turns out, is able to bring the feeling of different places to life so vividly. I could literally smell the warm cozy scents of the Bishop family home, and feel the chill in the air of the large French chateau.

The same can be said for the characters. They were all brought to life so richly, opening like flowers as they revealed their mysteries slowly and deliberately. In the beginning, I didn't much care for Diana—she was too academic and focused on her studies and seemed to have little interest in much else, using rowing, running, and yoga only as a way to work out her anxieties. It was only as she began to open up and feel comfortable with the devilishly handsome vampire Matthew that she became a bit more interesting.

The author has a unique way of looking at the world: vampires, witches, and daemons living among us, but each their own separate species distinct from humans. Yes, they are hiding in plain sight, attempting to keep their existence secret from humans by blending in with the rest of the world. I didn't quite understand how this was entirely possible in the beginning, but Ms. Harkness is so wonderful at world building that everything falls into place quite nicely, especially since these three species are able to tell one another apart based on their other senses in a way humans cannot.

As a natural born witch, we discover that Diana's been suppressing her magical abilities ever since her parents died when she was seven years old. But now these same abilities are bursting to get out of her, despite her lack of control, and all manner of creatures now have her on their radar. Danger starts to follow her around and despite Matthew's attempts to keep her safe, Diana must start to understand her magic if she's to figure out what the Congregation is after her for.

Overall, a delightfully engaging book that I'd recommend highly to lovers of books, history, and the supernatural. I anxiously look forward to reading Shadow of Night, the second book in the trilogy.