Friday, July 06, 2012

Book Review: A Discovery of Witches

With record heat, I have been doing more reading that I usually have time for.  I had come across a review in Book Page, a newspaper carried by my local library and it sounded interesting.  Hit the fantasy angle I usually enjoy, so I requested the book from the library. 

discovery-of-witches-web-195x300   At 579 pages, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness is not your usual light summer read.  It’s some heavy reading (pun intended, sorry).  And this weighty a tome means when you can’t put the book down, you better have something propping it up for you.

Diana Bishop is the last of the Bishop witches, a well-known (to witches anyway) witch family.  However, she has spent her life ignoring her abilities and refusing to use her magic, concentrating on her studies in history, alchemy to be specific.  Or so she thinks.  Matthew Clairmont is an ancient vampire (who looks really great for his age), a scientist, is there to protect.  Protect Diana from what?  The other witches, vampires and daemons who are after what she has learned and can learn from the ancient book, Ashmole 782.  Problem is these three groups are not suppose to intermingle, much less form partnerships.  And humans, we have no clue what’s going on and the other three races are trying to keep it that way.

From the hallowed halls of Oxford, to a centuries old estate in France, Diana and Matthew attempt to figure out what she has learned and how to get the book to reappear and most importantly, to protect  her from those who would do her harm.  In order to do so, Diana must come to terms with and acknowledge her tremendous magical abilities and learn how to use and control them.

In the end (or is it?) Diana and Matthew travel back to her home in New England where her grandmother, Sarah, and Sarah’s partner, Em try to help.  Along the way they pick up some extra daemons and vampires who are sworn to help Diana.  And the family home----it gets into the act also.  Diana and Matthew must take a leap of faith and travel to another time and place in order for Diana to learn to use her powers.  We the readers must also take an equal leap of faith that book 2 in the All Souls Trilogy, Shadow of Night, is as compelling and interesting a read as the first book.

Worth a read?  Well, I have the release date for Book 2 on my calendar and thankfully that is next week.

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