A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Rating: 4 out of 5
Summary (From Back Cover)
It begins with absence and desire.
It begins with blood and fear.
It begins with a discovery of witches
A world of witches, demons 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.
An intelligent and well written vampire novel - all most unheard of and yet here we are. You can tell when reading this that Harkness has an interest in research with it's so methodical in it's story plots. There are so many different intellectual themes that you'll defiantly need your thinking cap on with this one. It's a little like reading A Game of Thrones, in the sense that you have to be paying attention, no skimming over bits because if you start doing that you're just going to get lost.
The story follows Dr Diana Bishop, a witch in her early thirties who comes across an old manuscript when researching a paper in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Unbeknown to Diana, the manuscript she's found was lost a long time ago and it's resurfacing has also led to Oxford being invaded with Demons, Witches and Vampires. One of those Vampires being Matthew Clairmont. The story follows these two creatures as they come to terms with what Diana has uncovered and their ever growing feelings towards each other. No to mention the fact Diana has refused to acknowledge her powers for the past two decades, so being dragged into the magical world beyond human eyes it's exactly top of her to do list.
I'm going to start with the main problem I have with this book, because it's the ONLY problem I have with this book. Now, I understand why Harkness has written Matthew to be fiercely protective and almost obsessive over Diana, it makes sense. She's taken the biological traits of a predator and made a real and multi-layered vampire that works. None of this glittering nonsense. However, maybe it's just the feminist in me but I found it almost cringe worthy in parts where he's proving his dominance over Diana. I wanted to shake her and slap him! But in all fairness, that might just be me.
Saying all that, I have a soft spot of Matthew. Yes he's a slightly controlling 1509 year-old but he's also rather damn sweet at times. Although I don't think I like him as much as Marcus Whitmore, his dashing lab assistant. I could go into all the different character's but there are so many that I don't have the time and you lovely people defiantly don't. Which means you'll have to read it and find out for yourselves - you can thank me later. What I will say is keep an eye out for Emily, Sarah and their cat Tabitha - as well as the magic house that has a mood all of it's own!
This is a great book! It's as epic a fantasy as you're going to get set in the present day. It's magical and charming, as well as extremely interesting and intuitive. That's not even mentioning the epic love story at it's centre. It's an intelligent outlook on the vampire/witch culture we've all come to love. If you're someone looking for a fantasy novel, but are fed up of all the teenage nonsense that comes along with it? Then this is the perfect book for you. Would recommend to any lover of fantasy fiction!
I could get behind this... fan made 'dream cast' vid for A Discovery of Witches. FYI there is a movie in development, I do believe that the screenplay has been finish, although it's a long way off being cast.