Genre: fantasy, pop-fiction
When I first started reading this book I was skeptical. Very skeptical. With the popularity of the Twilight saga, vampire-y/witch-y stories have become ridiculously common and are generally quite dreadful. Also, as a matter of personal preference, I typically don’t read books in the paranormal field. I love historical fiction however, so I was immediately intrigued by the fact that the main character, Diana, is a history professor. I was not disappointed. A Discovery of Witches hit all the right notes.
It was engrossing. Even my husband can testify to the fact that my nose was stuck in the book every free moment I had over a weekend. Literally. I had it on the Kindle app on my iphone so I was reading it constantly. It’s basically about this woman, Diana, who is a witch and a history professor but hates using her “powers” because she wants to be confident that she has legitimately earned her scholastic achievements. Anyways, while she’s doing research in the library at Oxford, she unknowingly discovers an ancient, bewitched textbook. Since she doesn’t have any intention of using her magical powers, she just takes the information she needs from the text and ships it back to the stacks. Unfortunately, the bewitchment means that nobody else can find the book, so Diana is promptly surrounded by other magical beings who all want to know how she got the book and what exactly was in it. Of course, having a bunch of witches and vampire-y things thinking that you’re lying about what you know and what the book said is not the safest thing in the whole wide world. Before she knows it, she’s sucked into the maelstrom of craziness and finds herself trying to stay one step ahead of a bunch of nasty witches and things trying to figure out what exactly was in the text.
Harkness managed to make a fantasy book feel like a historical journey. To me anyways. Maybe just because I love history, but either way, the story-line led me on… and on… and on…
If you like fantasy and/or historical fiction you will probably really enjoy this book.
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars. The only reason I don’t give it 5 stars is that parts of the story-line were a bit cliche. For example, there is a romance between the main two protagonists who happen to be a witch and a vampire–and if you guessed that they probably aren’t technically “supposed” to be together you would be correct. The whole angsty business about whether or not their relationship should continue doesn’t really distract from the story, which is why I only took off half of a star, however, the thwarted love plot-thread is seriously over-used lately. The romance itself was fine. You know, whatever… but I think the book would have been slightly improved if the whole “should-we-should-we-not” question had just been skipped.