Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Discovery of Witches

Today's review comes from Marie Enud, a frequent contributer. Enjoy...

As soon as I finished devouring all 579 pages of A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah harkness, I wanted to start reading it again.  If Anne Rice’s vampire Lestat morphed the Twilight Saga into Harry Potter and added a little alchemy, it would become this tale. The sheer magnitude of this story is told with a sustained pace of depth and intelligence.  Harkness creates a modern world where daemons, witches, vampires must navigate their legacy of complicated alliances and genealogies or face extinction. The facts and folklore of science and history lend a credibility to this story that is absent among lesser writers, and simpler tales.  For those seeking an intellectual antidote to the recent pop-culture “non-human creature craze,” look no further.
The tapestry of this story begins with Diana’s discovery of Ashmole 782, a long forgotten text that “appears” as she pursues academic research on alchemy.  The appearance, and then subsequent re-disappearance, of this book trigger an invitation for other-worldly creatures, danger, and adventure to invade the University where Diana teaches.  Those who love the archaeology of literature will delight in the moments when Diana Bishop (the witch) peruses Matthew Clairmont’s (the vampire) exquisite library.  Lovers of history will delight in the ruins and archeology that bind the characters.  Lovers of love stories will enjoy the intense yet meandering pace with which Diana and Matthew discover each other.
Never indulgent, Harkness guides the mystery of this book expertly.  Ending at a pivotal plot point, I imagine a sequel will be eminent. Until then, I am content to re-read and cherish this magical tale of imaginative alchemy. 
-Marie Enud

As always, thanks for reading. Questions and comments are encouraged below.
-Adam Delaura

Also checkout:
A Discovery of Witches (Audio Book)