A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness

4 Stars

I’d been meaning to read A Discovery of Witches for a while now, and finally picked up the audiobook to accompany me on a long solo trip I took to Portland, Oregon a couple weekends ago.

The synopsis, from Goodreads:

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery, so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks, but her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries–and she’s the only creature who can break its spell.

Ultimately, A Discovery of Witches read like an academic Twilight. Better written, better characters, better plot, but definitely Twilight vibes mashed together with some Harry Potter vibes. There was lots of eyerolling and talking back to the audio on my part, but not so much that I shelved the book.

If I did not have to commit to the first three hours of the book while driving back from Portland, I might not have kept listening. But, after a bit of a slow start, I was drawn in by A Discovery of Witches and found myself looking for chores to do around my house so I could continue to listen to the 24-hour long audiobook. Harkness writes in a descriptive style that when combined with Jennifer Ikeda’s narration offered an immersive experience. I could imagine each setting of the novel with clarity, but never felt bogged down in description.

I enjoyed the audiobook enough that I’m not-so-patiently waiting for the second audiobook to be available at my library. (Any minute now!)

A TV adaptation of A Discovery of Witches is also in production and I plan to watch.

Have you read A Discovery of Witches or the sequels in the All Souls trilogy? What did you think?