Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Reviewed by Cassandra Alpaugh, Librarian, Mary Jacobs Library
Discovery of Witches is a hefty tome that will demand all your attention. If you are reading late at night you will probably be exhausted at work the next day because you never went to sleep. If you are listening to it on your commute then you will probably end up driving circles around the parking lot to just finish a chapter. Of course this book isn’t for everyone. The only way that it can be described is as a historical-paranormal-romance-adventure-mystery, which basically means Twilight meets The Da Vinci Code. The characters are interesting and complex and the descriptions are wonderful. Diana Bishop is a gutsy, brainy academic who is not going to use her magic–at least, that’s what she keeps telling herself. She is the last in a long line of powerful witches. Having lost her parents when she was seven years old, she has turned away from her heritage and her magic. While researching alchemical manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, she comes in contact with a volume that reaches out to her magic. Panicked, she returns the book to the stacks, but it is too late–word is out that she has discovered the lost Ashmole 782 and now all species of creatures are after her.
Enter Matthew Clairmont, renowned scientist and vampire. He has been searching for Ashmole 782 for centuries and is determined to retrieve the book Diana has recalled. He feels drawn to Diana, feeling the need to protect her from the other creatures, despite witches and vampires being notorious separatists. They are thrown into an uneasy friendship when the worlds of witches, vampires and daemons descend upon Diana, all looking for the manuscript.
Both Diana and Matthew will make cringe-worthy decisions and Matthew will seem too overprotective (can we all say Edward and Bella?) but this is definitely an exciting book that will be hard to put down. Fair warning: this is the first book in a three part series.