Friday, April 5, 2019

Book #Review: A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy 1) by Deborah Harkness

Book Title: A Discovery of Witches ( All Souls Trilogy 1)
Author:  Deborah Harkness |WebsiteTwitterFacebook| Instagram
Publisher: Viking Penguin
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Paranormal Sci-Fi
Series/Standalone: Series Book 1
Format: Hardcover
Cost: $10.99
Pages: 572
How I got it: Purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million
Publication Date: February 2011
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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.
I read this after watching the show on tv. I absolutely loved the show adaptation (and will be doing a review later) I thought this was a very good story with unique mythology which made me love the story even more.  In the book we are introduced to Diana who is a witch who doesn't practice magic due to a tragedy in her past she refuses to associate with anything having to do with magic and as such choose to study history and Alchemy.  Her belief is that science took away the chance for magic to interrupt her life. And she was right until a magical book lands in her lap and puts her on a collision course with all the things that go bump in the night.

I have to say that after watching the show and liking the Diana we meet there at times the Diana in the book is a bit weaker in constitution. ( I know I know it's not fair to conflate the two but the comparison lingers. In the book, Diana isn't willing to embrace her magic, her legacy or herself even after being shown that her previous beliefs were erroneous. She takes a "bury her head in the sand" kind of approach to life and when you're talking about trying to stay alive that's not the best way.  There are a great many more details within the book that showcase that Diana is way more unique than she believes. From her family's magical genetic make-up to the things she herself has found out by trial and error.

While the overall story is really engaging, and the writing is clearly written with love and attention to detail, history and every sentence has a purpose, it felt rather like ten words were used when five could have sufficed.  The beginning of the book was a bit slow to build up the characters and I think if I hadn't watched the show already I'm not sure I would have finished this book as quickly as I did. I read this in three days in an attempt to get to the cliffhanger from the show and get all the good stuff in before the end. The story does eventually pick up the pace of action, storylines converging and incidents happening all at once.  Considering the size of the book I do wish we had gotten more background on some of the characters who came to mean something to Diana in the end.  They seemed to appear out of nowhere and who they are on the outside of Diana's immediate universe isn't known.

As the story progressed we learned as Diana learned more about herself and the man she's entrusting to help her navigate this new world. Diana blinded herself and was resistant when her aunts tried to teach her anything from childhood and this willful blindness is what puts her in the greatest amount of danger.  Matthew Clairmont has his reasons for protecting Diana and at first, they start with the book she retrieved that he's been hunting for the last 150 years.  It's however, no longer the main reason and as enemies make themselves known Matthew has to battle against his basic nature to hunt everything that threatens Diana down and kill it. Not just because he knows Diana wouldn't like it but because it would start a war that would expose them to humans.

Matthew was certainly one of the most intriguing characters, he tried to keep as much of himself back from Diana as possible and learning about him was like pulling teeth. However, for a vampire his age he's a walking treasure trove of knowledge that Diana is at first intrigued by then drawn to.  Reading about his life and his adventures is one of the reasons I was so drawn to the story. As the story progressed and more about him and his connections to the book come to light I became even more immersed in the book and couldn't put it down until we knew what happened and why.

Once we established that they were going to flaunt the rules and take on the Council I'm not sure why Matthew kept resisting the consummation of their relationship. I know he kept saying as a vampire he has plenty of time, but humans/witches die easily, was he hoping that by holding back this part of himself he would be able to survive her?? Who knows, I'm going to read the other two books to find out though.  While I did like Matthew, I didn't like that he played his cards so close to the chest. Even in cases where it was absolutely necessary for him to divulge information he kept as much as he could to himself until the last second.  Which didn't always end well for him and yet he persisted in doing it.  o_0

Some of the major questions I had were what was in the ampule?? Who altered Ashmole 752?? What other powers does Diana have?? What exactly did her parents know?/ I want to learn more about the characters who are now apart of Diana's world.
Happy Reading my loves, 

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