Book Review of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Book Review of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Book Review of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches is a fun and intriguing paranormal novel that had me hooked from the get-go!

Plot from Goodreads;

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.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.

If you want a suspenseful, romantic, mystery in a world where vampires, daemons and witches live among us then A Discovery of Witches is for you.

It was such a treat reading this book. I haven’t found a novel as transporting as this one for a long while, and would read for hours at a time only to look up and be bewildered at the time passed. Hadn’t I just started reading? The world Harkness has created is richly detailed and filled, aside from paranormal creatures, with books and libraries (what bibliophile wouldn’t love that!) Main character Diana is an academic (and reluctant witch) whose calling of a manuscript from the archives of the Bodleian library sends her world into skew and introduces her to 1500 year old vampire and geneticist Matthew Clairmont. My only criticism would be the quickness of the romance between the main characters (and despite all their obstacles), but the richness of the other elements made it easy to disregard this.

I loved this book so much I started reading the second in the series (Shadow of Night) straight away!

9 out of 10 stars


A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches


  • Utterly transporting
  • Great paranormal world established
  • Intriguing and a good mystery at its heart
  • Likeable main character


  • Romance happens too quickly
  • Matthew is so complex its hard to get a real feel for him as a character

About alicia_gaffney

Alicia Gaffney is a book lover and aspiring writer. She teaches at university and is in the third year of her PhD, writing a thesis about Australian author Eleanor Dark. Her pet peeves are running out of bookshelf space and poor spelling/grammar. When not writing or reading, Alicia is usually being bossed around by her cat Lottie. But she doesn't mind, at least her boss is cute and furry!

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