Book Review

A Magical Book Review – The Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness


A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Part 1 of the All Souls Trilogy


688 pages

Book Published:


Diana Bishop is a descendant of the Bishop witches – a powerful witch lineage. After her parent’s murder when she was a child, she has gone out of her way to deny her supernatural heritage. She is now an academic visiting Oxford university. She is putting together a study about Alchemy – the point at which magic starts to become science.

This is a world where Witches, Vampires and Deamons exist in a universe with humans. They are part of the society around them, but also have their own separate existence.

Talking of vampires, Matthew is a 1500 year old vampire with a mixed and intriguing past. He is also an academic and studying genetics. He specialises in looking into the origins of witches, deamons and vampires and their interlinked genetics.

The problem starts when Diana summons an ancient manuscript from her study paper. This is an manuscript that has been lost for centuries. Suddenly, everyone wants to know what it says and denying her heritage starts to become more difficult.

This book can be read as a modern, supernatural, Romeo and Juliet story.  There are hints within the novel that this was a foretold match. However, their love is not as simple as it originally seems.

One of my favourite plot concepts in this novel is the use of genetics. I studied some genetics at university and I fully appreciated (and enjoyed) the integration between genetics, Darwin’s theory of evolution and supernatural ideas. If you like science and supernatural stories this book is worth taking a look at.

Around 2/3rds of the way through this tale I began to realise that the story would not be finished by the last page of this novel. Which was slightly disappointing. However, it is exciting to have the opportunity to spend more time with the characters. Deborah definitely leaves you wanting to know what happens next.

Overall, the book was something I was really looking forward to reading. It definitely lived up to my expectations.

Reading Challenge Points

–          A book with more than 500 pages

–          A book with non-human characters

–          A book by a female author

–          A trilogy (Part 1)

–          A book with magic

–          A book by an author you have never read before

–          A book you own but have never read