Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This hefty novel took me over a year to complete. Mostly because I own it, so when I got books from the library this past year, I'd move on to those before returning to where I left off in the saga of Diana the witch/historian and Matthew vampire/scientist. It also took so long because it is...long. And the words are very small. I know, I know, that doesn't change the actual substance of the story...but it changes how I read it.

A Discovery of Witches drew me in because, on the surface, it's not like a lot of other supernatural stories--the main characters aren't in high school and they aren't trying to be sexy. Diana eats on basically every other page, and I like that in a heroine. Much like my last fantasy read, I could get on board with the world's rules: witches, vampires, and daemons are species that exist, plain and simple. I learned the practical definitions of words like "spellbound" (literally, bound by a spell) and "enthralled" (to be in thrall of someone, like say a vampire). There was so much history and research in the book, reading it felt like a workout.

There were points where I saw similarities to Twilight, to this book's downfall. (Similarities to the movies, at least. I've not read the books.) It's almost as if one is the fan fiction of the other, though I can't say for certain which came first. Diana, though she is independent, a scholar, and an active woman, still goes weak in the knees for Matthew, our hunky, broody vampire who also has an affinity for wine and yoga. These two "modern" adults fall in love in a month. Fantasy and vampire attraction aside, that's just not necessary. I also thought it funny how quickly the love story progressed while the actual story took forever to get through.

All of this is not to say I didn't enjoy it; I did. I liked dipping into a different world (not only are supernaturals a thing, but most of the story takes place in the UK, France, or New England). I liked Diana's aunt and her partner, who reminded me of Sabrina's (of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch) aunts with their contrasting yet complimentary personalities. I thought Matthew's mother, Ysabeau, was a riot.

Hopefully I stick with the next books in the series, instead of setting them to the side when other (quicker) reads come along--I think if I had read this all in one shot I'd appreciate it more (and remember more details). I do want to continue the story of Matthew and Diana's star-crossed love, and I want to know more about Matthew's history (which is long...the dude has been a vampire for hundreds of years). Whenever I get to the rest of the All Souls Trilogy (I have a long to-read list), I'll make sure I have plenty of tea brewed for the occasion. Diana would approve.

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