A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Darkness is an intelligent and romantic story, introducing us to a fascinating paranormal mythology. MUSTREAD!
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
[Some Spoilers; For Mature Audiences]
What can I say that can encompass the awe that I feel for A Discovery of Witches and Deb Harkness?! I’m in awe of the complexity of the characters and plot in this book. I’m in awe of the mythology Harkness creates. And more than anything, I’m in awe of how intelligent the writing is… how meticulous the research that’s been done to write this story. There’s history, science and evolutionary theory, literature and poetry, magical lore and witchcraft, all interweaving to create something so original and captivating. I also connect with this book on a personal level: I’ve spent time in both Oxford and Nigeria, so it’s quite easy to envision the settings we’re taken to. I gladly give A Discovery of Witches all the stars!
Essentially, witches, vampires, and daemons are becoming extinct. Matthew Clairmont, vampire and intellectual extraordinaire, has spent several centuries investigating the origins of each species and their evolutionary path. A book, Ashmole 782, that holds the key to these questions, yet it’s been bewitched so only Diana Bishop, a witch and historian can access it. Curious. Now magical creatures have descended upon Oxford, desperate to get to Diana and this book.
And as this tale unfolds, so do all the questions! Precisely, what is in Ashmole 782? Is it merely a genealogy of magical creatures? What questions can it answer? Is it *really* worth killing over? Diana’s parents seem to believe it is worth dying for…
In terms of the characters, I love Diana so much. I enjoy that she’s an academic, intelligent and thoroughly independent. Truly, Diana is fearless. It’s incredible how she’s spent her entire life trying to bypass magic, but when Diana’s forced to confront her past, she’s fierce! Magic is bubbling out of her, the Congregation (a governing body of sorts for magical creatures) is coming after her, but she will not be bullied. This certainly translates into Diana’s relationship with Clairmont, especially as it starts to become romantic.
What I enjoy most is that, even when Matthew is trying to push Diana away, she won’t let him. Even though Matthew is the general, Diana is the backbone and the heart of this anti-Congregation movement. She’s phenomenal, and I can’t even imagine how formidable she’ll be once she’s able to harness all her magical skills.
Speaking of Clarirmont, literally every other page, I swoon over Matthew. Is there anything he can’t do? He’s bossy, possessive, thoroughly Alpha, but I love that Diana is his weak spot. From the first moment he meets her at the Bodleian Library, Clairmont’s instinct is to protect Diana…to physically shield her from those who mean to harm her. He will do anything, BE anything for her. I enjoy watching him realize he loves Diana AND that he’s willing to fight to be with her.
And as it relates to the Diana/Clairmont romance, I really just have one word–BUNDLING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Similarly, A Discovery of Witches introduces us to awesome secondary characters in Diana’s and Clairmont’s familiies: Ysabeau (Matthew’s vampire mother) and Hamish (Matthew’s bestie) are my faves. I also really love meeting Diana’s aunts, Sarah and Emily.
I can’t wait to see what happens with Diana and Clairmont as they journey to Elizabethan England in the next book! Hamish seems to be concerned that Matthew will become a different person…will he? Will Diana be able to find the help she needs with her magic? Will the remainder of the conventicle be able to hold off the Congregation until Diana and Clairmont return?
I wholeheartedly recommend A Discovery of Witches to fans of paranormal romance, fantasy, and even historical fiction and sci-fi. It’s a throughly engrossing read that raises a lot of questions; but that’s not a bad thing at all. I have total faith everything will be answered, and I’m excited to see how!