Tuesday, 27 May 2014

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

I have just returned from a really super holiday in beautiful Cornwall. I haven’t visited there for over 20 years and I cannot imagine why I did not go back sooner. Our dogs loved it too, not least because on the farm we were staying there were 14,000 chickens which was enough in itself to keep them interested. We were blessed with good weather on some of the days, got soaked to the skin on others and we caught up with friends while we were there so a good time was had by all. Of course, there was plenty of reading time so I have several reviews to write up for you all over the coming days.

I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of A Discovery of Witches from the publisher. I usually steer clear of anything to do with vampires although I did read the Twilight series when it was first published and I followed this with some of the Charlaine Harris, Sookie Stackhouse Series. However, the market soon became saturated as a plethora of vampire books were released and I sort of lost interest in the genre.

So, it’s some years since I picked up a vampire novel and I am very glad that I did as I really enjoyed this first book in the All Souls trilogy and am keen to read the next two books in the series.

It is set amidst the spires of Oxford University where Diana Bishop, a witch, whose genealogical line dates back to the witch trials of Salem, is undertaking academic research. She has always been unwilling to use her powers for personal gain and is disinclined to acknowledge her lineage as a witch.

However, one day, whilst in the Bodleian Library she uses her magic to reach a book from the upper shelves which is witnessed by vampire, Matthew Clairmont. In a world which is inhabited by witches, daemons and vampires and which rules dictate that the three should never be seen together, Matthew seems intent on seeking out Diana everywhere she goes. Is he merely interested in her magic and if so why, or does his interest in Diana lie in his vampiric lust for blood?

Bearing in mind that Diana is a witch and Matthew a vampire the characters in this book were very believable and I found myself rooting for them every step of the way. There were also some wonderful minor characters; Diana’s American aunts and Matthew’s daemon friend, Hamish, were brilliantly executed characters. The characters were full of life (sorry…. bad turn of phrase when describing vampires) and completely engaging.

The plot also had enough twists and turns to make it engrossing and this fantastical world of magic seems very real and demonstrates the authors skill as a storyteller. For a debut novel this is extremely good and I have the next one lined up to read.

I think anyone who enjoys the romance genre mixed with fantasy will enjoy this book and will find themselves as gripped as I was. This is well worth reading.

ISBN:  9780755374045

Publisher:  Headline

Price (based on today’s price at Amazon.co.uk)  £8.36

Total saving so far:  £276.49

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