A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Reviewed by Angela

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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 demons, 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.

I have read this book twice and listened to the audiobook the same number of times. A Discovery of Witches is the first in the All Souls series. Harkness writes well and her story-telling is engaging and suspenseful. She masterfully weaves together history, science, alchemy, illuminated manuscripts, love, sex, war, and family dynamics. The characters are interesting and complex, the story is exciting without being too ambitious or over complicated. The book held me spellbound and is responsible for a few hours of lost sleep. It's a historical-supernatural-romance-adventure-mystery, my favorite genres wrapped into an exceptionally good book. Once you finish this book, come back to the library for the sequel or to pick up the first season of the TV show!

Rating: 4.5/5 stars