Paranormal, Young Adult

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, 1) by Deborah Harkness

Image source: Goodreads

A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together. 

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 daemons, 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.


Being a fan of tales regaled with magic, I thought this book would be great.  The cover is pretty, the premise is intriguing, and it had almost four stars on Goodreads. Sadly, it did not live up to my expectations.

~ What I Liked About the Book ~

Despite being disappointed with this book, I genuinely enjoyed the first half of it. I thought it had the potential to be a good book because it had all the right elements: the magic, the mystery, the romance.

The reason the first part was fantastic was because of all the suspense surrounding the mysterious alchemical text. It sounded so interesting, but it just failed to sustain my interest throughout the book.

~ What I Didn’t Like About the Book ~

As I said, this book could have been good, but it went downhill as soon as the first half was over. The story began to move at a painfully slow pace and became more and more absurd as I read. It felt ridiculous when the Congregation, kind of like a supernatural government, began to interfere. It actually started to remind me of Twilight, which I admit to enjoying more than I did this one. I’m still shocked that the author managed to stretch this out to nearly 600 pages.

The characters, especially the lead, weren’t likable. Diana was alright at times, but there were moments when she made me want to pull my hair out. Matthew, on the other hand, was a creep with control issues. He also had major anger management problems and seemed to suffer from mood swings worse than a woman on her period. He was creepy, and the romance was not romantic at all.

The writing was okay, but I didn’t like the author’s tendency to be too technical. A lot of conversations revolved around alchemy, and there were times when it began to feel like reading a textbook instead of a novel. There were also lines spoken in foreign language but were never translated. I would’ve appreciated having them explained in the book.

After all that, you’d think that the author could at least compensate by making the ending a little better, but of course not. Apparently, if I wanted to know what would happen to the story, I’d have to read the next book. There wasn’t even a major climax. This book doesn’t deserve to be a trilogy. Maybe if the three books were compressed into one, it would actually make a good story.



A Discovery of Witches is a waste of 500 precious pages’ worth of time. If you’re looking for a good book about magic, this isn’t it. I honestly don’t recommend this book to anyone.


Amazon | Goodreads

For a complete list of my book reviews, click here.


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