A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A Discovery of Witches starts off promisingly - the academic Dr. Bishop is the last descendent from a famous line of Bishop witches (One of her Bishop ancestors was the first witch executed in the Salem witch trials).
However, after her parents died when she was a child, Dr. Bishop refused to use or study magic anymore, and instead chose History as her field of specialization. She stumbles across an ancient tome during some research - one that was lost for over a hundred years. Soon, the other creatures - Daemons, Witches and Vampires, start stalking her, hoping to discover how Dr. Bishop found this magickal manuscript.
The story is really fresh and interesting, but had several unnecessary digressions. I enjoyed all the scenes where we meet Dr. Diana Bishop's family, her kooky house in the States, the ghosts. Good world building, and a pretty awesome ending!
What's not to Like, You ask?:
*sigh* A fantastic opportunity to talk about an academic approach to magic analysis, rules was laid aside in favor of some soppy romance with a brooding vampire (Matthew). Harkness goes into a very tired vampire storyline, and I had a tough time swallowing how this strong woman was saying lines like: "When I pulled the door open, Matthew stood outside looking like the prince in a fairy tale, tall and straight."
Good stuff: Plenty of info on famous historical books, and 15th-18th century goings on. I'm a nerd, so I found this cool, but ended up a little irked that Matthew seemed to have met everyone while accumulating a dozen degrees.
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