A Discovery of Witches | Review

☾ about the book

Title: A Discovery of Witches
Author: Deborah Harkness
Series: All Souls Trilogy
Published: 2011
Format: tv show edition paperback
Pages: 704
Rating: ★★★
Trigger Warnings: death

☾ the 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.

☾ the characters

Diana Bishop is a witch, but she likes to ignore that fact.
She is a young scholar at Oxford, trying to research magic, when she stumbles upon an old manuscript that raises the attention of witches, vampires and demons alike.
Diana now has to figure out why she was powerful enough to call upon the bewitched manuscript, and what really happened to her parents.
Matthew Clairmont is a biologist at Oxford. He meets Diana shortly after she first calls upon the manuscript and starts to protect her from the other witches, vampires and demons who want her to get to the manuscript.
He also teaches Diana that she shouldn’t suppress her heritage and powers while helping her figure out why she is so powerful.

☾ the magic system

The powers of witches in this universe lie in genetics, specifically genetic markers. A witch posses certain markers for certain powers

☾ the world building

A majority of the book is set in Oxford, London, and Saint Lucien, France in 2009.
Next to your regular humans, vampires, witches and demons exist in the world of A Discovery of Witches.

☾ what i liked about this book

I loved the setting, and the descriptions of the architecture.
I also really liked Matthew, he was the reason I didn’t DNF the book.

☾ what i didn’t like about this book

It was so long, and really heavy and confusing when it came to the biological aspects of magic.
Also, Diana was a wimp of a main character. While I can understand why she suppresses her magic, I do not understand why she doesn’t let people help her and insists on doing everything by herself – and suffering for it.
Had the author not insisted on adding so much unnecessary (and yet for Dark Academia very fitting) detail, the book could have been half the length.

☾ should you read this book?

If you like Dark Academia as a genre, you need to pick this up, and I am positive that you’re going to like it a lot more than I did.
The book wasn’t all bad, though the plot is very forgettable and a majority of the characters aren’t very likable.
I just think that if you, like me, are not used to adult fiction and then jump from young adult fantasy right into adult dark academia, you’re probably going to find that this book is very character and information heavy and doesn’t offer much on the plot side.

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