Sunday, 3 March 2013

What I've Been Reading:
'A Discovery of Witches' by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery Of Witches (All Souls, #1) 

I was given this book as a Christmas present in 2011 and despite really wanting to read it, I kept putting it off because with everything that was going on last year I simply wasn't able to focus on 'big' books. But now that I'm storming through books again, I decided to give it a go. And I'm so, so glad I did.

Several reviews of this book compare it to the Twilight series but I found it more reminiscent of Anne Rice's 'Vampire Chronicles' with a touch of 'The Historian' thrown in for good measure. The novel focuses on Diana Bishop, a witch who refuses to use her magic, convinced that said magic was the reason her parents were killed when she was just seven years old. She is a Historian of Alchemy and Science (amazing, I know!) and while researching a paper in Oxford's Bodleian library, inadvertently discovers a centuries hidden Alchemical manuscript that happens to be imbued with magic. This (not so) happy accident throws Diana into a collision course with Oxfords renowned Neuro and Chemical Scientist, Matthew Clairmont, who also happens to be a Vampire.

Soon, Diana and Matthew find themselves tangled up in a centuries long battle for Diana's lost manuscript, fighting off Vampires, Demons and Witches and bringing natural enemies together in a fight for their lives.

This novel was full of action, romance, science and history and kept me reading for hours at a time. A couple of times I nearly missed my bus stop because I was so lost in the world of the book and at least once I went back to work late from a tea break because I simply had to finish the chapter I was reading. Yeah, it really was that good.

One of the main plus points of this novel for me was a bit of a geeky one. The science held up. Working in a lab means that when I read anything that involves science I tend to spot mistakes or inaccuracies. I can say that I didn't spot any errors in Matthew's lab or his work. And that really helped maintain the suspension of belief for me. Likewise with the historical aspect. At no point did I stop and wonder whether the things I was reading were accurate, which is a major deal for me. I like novels to be thoroughly researched and fact-checked. 

This is one of my favourite novels so far this year and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes their Vampire novels with a bite.

Rating: 5/5

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