A Discovery of Witches

All Souls Trilogy, Book #1

By Deborah Harkness

ISBN# 9780670022410

Author’s Website:  http://deborahharkness.com/

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Heidi

Diana Bishop is an alchemy scholar that spends most of her time in Oxford’s Bodleian Library studying ancient manuscripts.  Diana is also the last of the Bishop witches.  Her family is full of power, but when her parents were murdered when Diana was only seven, she turned her back on magic.

Then one day she pulled up an ancient manuscript, Ashmole 782 that changed her life forever.  The book was pulsing with magic and had actually been spelled.  She broke the spell unintentionally, but quickly decided to return the book.  After that, creatures (vampires, witches, and daemons) started flocking to the library and even following her around.  She found solace in one of those creatures; fellow scholar (and vampire) Matthew Clairmont.

Matthew has been looking for Ashmole 782 for much of his undead life and was shocked to overhear that Diana was able to find it and even open it!  However, Matthew was not the only one who wanted it.  All of the different creatures think it has secrets revealed within its pages, secrets they don’t want the other species to have!

There is something about Diana that speaks to Matthew and he finds he must protect her from the others at all costs!

Eventually, Diana decides to recall Ashmole 782 and study it with Matthew, only the book is missing.  In fact, the librarians insist it’s been missing since 1859!

The other witches feel betrayed by Diana and become an increasing threat to her.  Matthew whisks her away to his family home in France for her protection.  While together the two become closer, which only puts them in more danger as the different species are not allowed to be together.  The Congregation is afraid of the threat the couple poses and will do anything to end them once and for all.  The couple must rely on their families and themselves to withstand the war that is brewing.  And, it’s time that Diana must face her fears and unlock the secrets of her own powers if they have any chance to survive.

First off, this book is a massive sized tome.  It could have easily been divided up into two or three books, and honestly it probably should have been.  It’s very detailed, sometimes too detailed and it seemed to really bog the storyline down.  Some of the scenes seem to drag on too long.  And, towards the end I was getting a bit confused with a few things.  I felt I was missing something and I think it was a result of information overload.  I have no doubt it was all laid out for me, but it apparently all blended in too much and I missed something important or misunderstood it.

I actually enjoyed the characters in this book.  I loved the budding romance between Matthew and Diana.  I found the side characters were interesting.

“Got any more of that wine, Casanova?”

“I’m French, Sarah, not Italian. And I’m a vampire. I always have wine,” Matthew said with a wicked smile. “There’s no danger of running out.”

I loved Diana’s family home, which was a character all to itself.

I just feel like this book had too much going on though making it dull at times and hard to follow at others.  It sometimes read like a history book, and honestly I never cared for the subject!

I think the author put a lot of work into this story, and I just wished that I liked it more.