What is it?
A Discovery of Witches is the first novel in the All Souls Trilogy. It’s a riveting, unique cross-genre masterpiece that combines drama, romance, paranormal, and historical fiction all rolled up into a hugely entertaining story you can’t stop reading.
Who wrote it?
What did I like?
I am not a huge reader of historical fiction. I find myself too bogged down with details and setting descriptions. I get really bored with things like that. But there’s nothing boring about this book at all, even with all of its description and detail. It might seem daunting when you first pick it up, because it’s quite a hefty book (579 pages in paperback), but it doesn’t seem that long.
The chapters fly past as you explore the relationship between Yale historian Diana Bishop, a witch, and the mysterious Matthew Clairmont, a vampire. The true-to-life descriptions of Oxford, England make you feel like you’re really there, and it leaves you ready to start the next book as soon as possible. The story takes history, science, genealogy, the paranormal, and religion and jumbles them all up into one completely believable world.
I also can’t say enough good about the audio narration. I’m not a big fan of the audiobooks where the readers use character voices, but honestly? Jennifer Ikeda, the narrator for this trilogy, is ridiculous. She’s outrageously wonderful. With a cast of dozens and dozens, she created a unique character voice for each one, and I could identify them easily. So if 579 pages scares you, try the audiobook.
What didn’t I like?
I’m hard pressed to find something about this whole trilogy that I didn’t enjoy. The only thing I can say is the different worldview from my own. But personally I enjoy reading books by people with different faiths than my own, because it challenges what I believe and why.
Should you read it?If you are sensitive to topics like the occult, you might not enjoy this one. Deborah Harkness herself is an Oxford scholar who studied the history of the occult, so it makes sense she’d write about it. And if that’s something that concerns you, I can pretty much guarantee you won’t like the All Souls Trilogy.
However, if you can set that aside and focus on some truly engaging, remarkably crafted, beautifully structured fiction? Wow. Read this book today.