Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Title: A Discovery of Witches Author: Deborah Harkness
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Published by: Penguin Audio
Length: 20 sound discs (24 hr.)
Source: Library
Format: Audio
Rating: 4 stars

Summary 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 is the only creature who can break its spell.

Magical, mystical and utterly captivating. A Discovery of Witches is one novel you won't want to miss.

Both Deborah Harkness's words and Jennifer Ikeda voice are spellbinding with beauty and wonder. While this novel is set in modern day Oxford and New York, there is a sense that you are transported back in time to a different world. It may be that Matthew is a centuries old vampire and he gives the novel a timeless feel, but either way you will definitely be transported out of your current location and into this fantastic world.

Even though the title is A Discovery of Witches you will meet many different paranormal characters. Since there are so many characters there is not much character development beyond Diana, Matthew and a few others. However, the world that these characters live in is rich with detail and originality. The buildings themselves are described in great detail, especially Sarah and Em's house which has a mind of its own. The house actually builds more rooms when it knows there will be more visitors. Don't we all wish we had houses like that?

What I really loved about this novel is I felt it covered an area or genre in adult literature that was missing. Sure there are many paranormal romances, but this novel felt more like literary fiction that had paranormal elements than a paranormal book. It was intriguing to take what I normally read about in young adult literature or the fore-mentioned paranormal romances and bring it into adult fiction. I think that Deborah Harkness fill that gap wonderfully.

The audio of this novel was amazing. I had a hard time turning it off and would sit for hours at night just listening to it. It was engaging and the cadence of Jennifer Ikeda voice was perfect. While I did really enjoy this audio it was a long one at 20 cds so make sure you set aside some time or you'll find the dishes not being done and the laundry piling up just get in one more chapter.



  1. I really liked this one too. The next one in the series comes out in a couple of weeks!!!

  2. I want a house like that! I really really want to read this now :) It's been sitting on my shelf for ages...

  3. This sounds like a great one to listen to. And the world sounds fantastic! I love detail that's well done.

  4. I really enjoyed this book but read it when it first came out - which kind of feels like a long time ago now! Your review was a great reminder of what happened since I'm super excited about the second books upcoming release!

    I love YA but sometimes it's nice to read about adults!

  5. *Sigh* I so loved this one! Shadow of Night is just as good!


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