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Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

8667848. sy475 A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Romance

Published on: February 2011

Publisher: Viking Penguin

Format: Mass Market Paperback

Language: English

My Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis: “A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.
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 is the only creature who can break its spell.”

My Thoughts: 

First things first, I loved the dark academia vibes we got while they were in Oxford. It made me want to go back to uni and work on a paper in the library. I miss classes and the whole environment terribly, and the start of this book made me feel very nostalgic. It felt like such a cozy, fall read. In case you couldn’t tell, that’s my favorite kind of book. 

Best way to describe it: it’s like Twilight but for adults. I don’t remember exactly where I saw that description, but it fits pretty well. It has all the drama and the tension. We also got different kinds of creatures who don’t get along at first but have to work together.  A bit too insta-lovey and cliché, but despite being predictable, it was such a fun read. 

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You can tell how much research went into writing this book, it’s very impressive. Honestly, from the first couple of chapters alone you can tell that the author is a historian. It has so many detailed descriptions of everything. And it’s very nice, don’t get me wrong, but was it always necessary? If I didn’t practice yoga, would dropping all those poses’ names really interest me or would it only confuse the reader? 

I liked Diana as a protagonist, but sometimes she would get on my nerves. Especially when she complained about not being a damsel that needs to be protected while having no control over her powers and doing absolutely nothing to try to learn how to defend herself. Matthew was, in true early 2010s fashion, a bit possessive, dramatic and domineering but it didn’t get too bad. Also, I hear he gets better so I’m holding out hope.

Eye Roll [The Office NBC TV Stanley Hudson GIF by jaxspider | Gfycat

The best part of the book was by far the haunted house. Not only is it a great concept, it managed to be funny while also giving us a bit of a found-family dynamic between the species and I loved it. 

I felt like the plot and the writing, by the end, got a bit messy. Some paragraphs just read weird, as if there were pieces of the text missing. I guess it’s because after all that description it got very vague so I got lost for a bit. Regardless of that, it was a very easy and fast-paced book.

Overall, very cliché but entertaining. I’m intrigued and plan on continuing with this trilogy. Or is it a series?  I think I saw a fourth book had come out. 

Anyway, the real reason I wanted to pick this one up, besides friends’ recommendations, was because there’s a tv show that looks pretty and I want to watch it. So I’m going to do that now and maybe let you know later what I think about it. 

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Have you read this book or watched the tv adaptation? What did you think of it?

Until next time,


2 thoughts on “Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

  1. I tried reading this book twice a few years ago and just ended up stopping even though I was enjoying it for the most part. It still gives me such cozy vibes and is everything I want from a story so I think it was a reading slump that stopped me. This is the year I finally finish it, I’m glad you liked it so much! I’m excited to get to it so I can watch the series, too. I’m interested to see how you like it compared to the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good luck! I hope you can finally reach the end, and then I can’t wait to hear what you think about it. I have started the show and it’s so nice ❤️ I haven’t finished it yet, but I think I might like it even better than the book 🙈


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