Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

“It begins with absence and desire. It begins with blood and fear. It begins with a discovery of witches.”

A Discovery of Witches has been called Twilight for adults…. I think not.  Perhaps there is the comparison because  it contains a vampire? A lovely vampire named Matthew Clairmont. He is intelligent, cultured, and even takes magical yoga classes. And is completely taken by the object of his admiration, historian Diana Bishop.

Diana opens a bewitched alchemical manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Though descended from a long line of witches, Diana struggles to keep magic out of her life and hide from her true self. However, this witch’s discovery of Ashmole 782 gets the attention of  other supernatural creatures that have been living in secret alongside humans for centuries. Vampires and creative, but destructive daemons believe that the manuscript contains secrets about the past and future and are more than a bit interested in how Diana was able to obtain it after years of it being hidden.

We see Diana and Matthew’s relationship progress as they journey to comprehend Ashmole 782’s secrets. However, their relationship also goes against age-old laws and threatens the existing peace between the otherworldly and human race, which other creatures are not too keen on.

I would  describe  this book as scholarly fiction. It has multidimensional characters, whose emotions run the gamut throughout the story. Surprisingly, it also includes some chuckle-worthy moments. I was especially impressed by Diana’s tenacity, passion, and inner strength.  It was wonderful to read such a strong female character.

A Discovery of Witches  is the first book in the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. The second book, Shadow of Night, releases July 10,2012.


  1. I never finished this book. I’m wondering if I should pick it up and try again. I started reading this because I love anything about witches.

  2. I started reading this book a couple of months ago and really liked it…but I’ve just had to much on my mind lately to read anything at all. So I think it’s time to pick it up again 🙂


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