Monday, January 24, 2011

Review of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches

Deborah Harkness

Viking a division of Penguin

592 pages

A Discovery of Witches the first in the All Souls Trilogy is a masterpiece of literary fiction, filled with factional and fantastical beings brought to us by the lyrical narrative of a most talented storyteller.

In the beginning there were myths and legends brought about by a smidgen of truth and in that truth we find Historian Diana Bishop at Oxford doing research for an upcoming lecture where she comes across a strange medieval manuscript that’s locked not by a physical key but by a magical one, one that will require her to open the door to a painful past that she has stubbornly refused to acknowledge. In the shadows watching is the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont a renowned professor of genetics. Diana and Matthew soon discover that their fierce attraction to each other is not only strange but forbidden as well and they will have challenges to face the least of which is their supposed predisposed mistrust of each other’s species. He is a vampire and she is a witch. Will they find the answer they must, will they fight for each other or against each other and will this be a new beginning or the end.

Deborah Harkness brings us an amazing story filled with fact and fiction, legend and myth and gives us a fantastical twist to the age old question of where do we come from. She brings her story to us using a plot that is both fantastic and easily believed by her audience by adopting historical references and facts and mixing them with occultist beliefs and horror stories. She will mesmerize her readers with her dialogue so much so that the almost 600 pages will fly by in the blink of a witches eye. She takes us to magical and real places with effortless and picturesque descriptive narrative as we live vicariously the lives of her characters through our eyes by her words. She also gives us characters none of which we’ve ever experienced before by making them unbelievable and real at the same time and by giving them the substance they need to make them unforgettable to her readers. The characters will each tell you their own story interspersed into the novel so that they all become an important part of the whole. Our hero Matthew and heroine Diana are two of the most unlikely lovers ever to grace the pages of a book and they will quickly become part of your must read again and again tales. Her romance is innocent and reminiscent of times long ago while also being sensual as to appeal to today’s most critical reader. But this is much more than just a romance it’s an epic tale that will alter your ideas of good vs evil, it’s a mystery of historic proportion and is filled with the fantasy that readers today can’t seem to get enough of.

So fill all of your fantasies in one read and give yourself over to the care of this amazing storyteller for the duration of her book and relish in the knowledge that there’s more to come. Make this a must read for 2011 and I promise you won’t be sorry.

I hate to put this novel in a box of likes because there’s nothing out there to really compare it to so instead if you are a fan of Diana Gabaldon, JR Ward or the Karen Marie Moning Fever series you will love this book and also fans of The Historian, Dracula and Dracula the Undead will love the fantasy in this one.