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  • Writer's pictureAshley Mongrain

A Discovery of Witches

Updated: Jul 11, 2021

Rating - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

"A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.

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.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism."


A Discovery of Witches is the first installment of the All Souls Trilogy, an adult fantasy by Deborah Harkness.

A novel promising a library setting, supernatural characters and a mystery surrounding a 'lost' manuscript, this had so many promising elements.

While I did give this a high rating, I may have been generous in doing so because while I did enjoy this, I had one main issue with it and it came in the form of our main character, Diana. Not enough words can be used to describe how much I disliked Diana's character. I thought she was an insufferable, pretentious, know it all.

Diana is thrown back into a world she removed herself from after a tragedy, and suddenly she acts as if she knows everything about it. That is a common theme throughout the book, Diana saying that she knows everything when in reality she doesn't and is in way over her head. Pair her up with our tall, dark and handsome vampire Matthew, and we have one hell of a couple.

Matthew and Diana's relationship, to say the least, was unsettling. At first, I was fine with their developing relationship because the book was so long that it felt like it was developing at the right pace. Then I got a reminder in the form of a slap to the face when you are told that they have only known each other for a few weeks, and by that point they were ready to risk everything for each other. Their relationship was rather extreme, and they were uncomfortably possessive of each other and borderline obsessive.

Luckily, I could look past Diana and Matthew, even though it was at the forefront of the novel, as the plot was rather good. Try this book out for yourself and see where you lie when it comes to our main characters.

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