A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It begins a bit slow. It took nearly 200 pages to say “Diana found a book. Other groups want the book. She doesn’t currently have the book. The vampire is pale and handsome”…! But when the characters are all introduced and developed a little, the plot starts to move apace.

With Matthew (the handsome vampire) being a scientist studying the genetics of the vampire/demon/witch bloodlines, the content becomes quite technical. Luckily I have a background in genetics and molecular biology; otherwise it might have been harder to understand the finer details of the plot! The crux of his study is that vampires are finding it harder to procreate/sire more vampires, demons seem to appear on the Earth simply by chance, and witches’ abilities appear to be diluting over time. With the exception of Diana Bishop, who seems to have little control over her abilities, but when they do manifest are extreme.

The true significance of the book is hinted at revealing the origins of all the species, but the details are kept (presumably) until the later novels. This focuses on the political meanderings of the various factions, the underhanded attempts on Diana’s life, and the (slightly cliche) romance between the two main characters.

I found that I began to enjoy the story more when they left the confines of Oxford University and went to Matthew’s home in France, and subsequently Diana’s home in America. Diana’s Aunt and Partner are wonderful characters; as is the house itself.

We are left with Diana and Matthew leaving for another place (and time) to continue her magical studies in relative safety. We shall see how that transpires in book 2!

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