A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Headline: paperback published 2011: 688 pages

It begins with absence and desire.

It begins with blood and fear.

It begins with a discovery of witches.

A world of witches, daemons and vampires.

A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future.

Diana and Matthew – the forbidden love at the heart of it.

Two words. Epic disappointment. I don’t know exactly what I expected from something likened to Twilight and described as paranormal romance, but I was deeply influenced by the reduced price and title, which promised so many good things (like a story set in Puritan America and lots of burning-at-the-stake type ideas). It was also set in Oxford (for a part) which I have a bit of a love for thanks to Philip Pullman. Oxford seems to hold its own magic. But, either way, whatever the reasons, I really had to force myself to read this. I kept hoping that it would get better – that I wasn’t revisiting the wasted hours spent reading the angst-heavy pages of Twilight for an older generation. I hoped that the idea of vampires, daemons and witches would be less… literal, and more metaphorical or symbolic. How I was disappointed.

There are very few books I refuse to finish – it feels wrong to leave something half-read when so much work has been put into it (yes, even rubbish books are the love child of their authors and represent the graft of years and years of torture). The only one that springs to mind is War and Peace; I got an inch in and was so bewildered I genuinely didn’t feel I was losing out by putting it down. I can’t even remember what that first inch entailed.

So I finished it. I think that’s all I can really say about this book.

Rating: 4/10

Next book: Another recommendation from the friend who first directed me to the magic of Dresden, I will be moving on to Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding. As a small example of this particular friend’s genius, check out her Etsy! Just nip across to Lola Sees Stars on Facebook whilst you’re at it.


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