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A Discovery of Witches | [Deborah Harkness]

A Discovery of Witches

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series - with an extra serving of historical realism.

©2011 Deborah Harkness (P)2011 Penguin

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  •  
    KrsTea Pasadena, MD, United States 03-24-11
    KrsTea Pasadena, MD, United States 03-24-11

    Literary Sojourner

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    35
    10
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    3
    Overall
    "Would be perfect without the Twilightness"

    This novel is very well written in parts and in some parts, not so much. The story is rich, brilliant and well thought out. The parts that bothered me were the parts that look like they were straight from twilight (glowing skin, weak heroine). Then there was the part that tried to hard (dinner, wine) that nearly caused me to throw my iphone out my window. I'm glad I didn't because once I got beyond that pretentiousness, the rest of the story was brilliant and left me wanting more. I agree with others that the ending could have been better. The great thing about brilliant series authors is they leave you wondering if there will be another book in a series. This one leaves you knowing that there will be. I'm sure she will work it out because I REALLY like this author!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen M. Arlington, VA 03-22-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    30
    ratings
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    229
    21
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    1
    Overall
    ""Twilight" for adults"

    Discovery of Witches is similar to the Twilight saga but is geared more to adults. Even though it was so similar to Twilight, I totally enjoyed it for it's own story.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Columbus, OH, United States 03-21-11
    Paul Columbus, OH, United States 03-21-11 Member Since 2014

    TimeLord

    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    61
    7
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    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    "if you are nto twilight i guess it might pass."

    i thought since it has such great reviews it might be worth a listen. its not my style. maybe i need to be a teen age girl to enjoy, but this has no new story. every thing is divided into class. demon, witch, vampire. every group is Flat and boring. another vampire that can walk around in the day... wish i could get my credit back from this one. 1/3 of the way through and i am going to have to put this one back up on the shelf. Maybe my daughter will enjoy it in another 12 years...

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andre Ithaca, NY, United States 03-16-11
    Andre Ithaca, NY, United States 03-16-11 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    312
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    778
    85
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    3
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    Overall
    "Incomplete story"

    This novel has many interesting aspects. However the author did not seem to be able to get beyond the initial description of her main character. Nor was she able to plan a coherent story with a defined ending. By the end of the reading, it left her main characters - and this reader - totally in limbo, with no prospect of finding a coherent development.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KMG 03-14-11
    KMG 03-14-11 Member Since 2010

    KMG

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    133
    2
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    1
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    Overall
    "Tolerable. Barely."

    This book could have been really good, but instead it was just tolerable. The narrator was breathy and seemed dead set on sapping any and all strength to the writing. The story line started strong, but fizzled into a "Twilight" style insipid love story.
    This book will likely please readers who enjoy that type of story formula, but do not expect anything more.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eileen CHAGRIN FALLS, OH, United States 03-14-11
    Eileen CHAGRIN FALLS, OH, United States 03-14-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
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    43
    8
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    1
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    Overall
    "Entertaining Enough"

    Well written and read, but completely disappointed with the ending!!!!! Obviously there is going to be another book, but the author leaves the reader completely suspended in "mid-read". The non ending is really frustrating. Don't download this book until the sequel is available!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 03-13-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    2
    2
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    0
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    Overall
    "Standard paranormal romance with uneven plotting"

    Recent reviews are touting this book as a Gothic Fantasy romance that's richly inventive. I found it to be a standard paranormal romance, that remixes a lot of the plot elements you are already very familiar with from Harry Potter, Twilight, and the Davinci Code. If you've read these 3 books, then nothing in the plot will surprise you. This is not to say that it isn't an enjoyable weekend read, the book starts out well, but toward the middle it drags into a monotone of "and then we ate this, and then I wore this, and then he cradled me in his arms while I slept..."
    It picks up again when the supernatural couple retreat to the witch's childhood home (I thought the most developed character was the home itself) and then ends anti-climatically just as the set up to the next leg of the adventure is unfolded (slowly, after describing in excessive detail everything that is being packed, worn, or left behind.)
    I'm rather confused because the reviews don't seem to match up with what I actually experienced while listening to this book, which was pleasant enough but hardly warranting such effusive praise.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jack 03-13-11
    Jack 03-13-11 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
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    56
    9
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    Overall
    "Good premise but didn't like the perspective"

    As I started listening I thought this might be a fanatasy genre. It morphed into a romance novel. OK maybe its akin to Diana Gabaldon. That is, enough story to counterweight the romance. Not this book, I stopped reading with (paraphrased here )

    The Vampire said, "Close your eyes and smell this wine", in his best Oxford Don voice
    the Witch obediently complied

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Delmar, NY USA 03-13-11
    Steve Delmar, NY USA 03-13-11 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    86
    ratings
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    383
    23
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    1
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    Overall
    "Paranormal romance"

    The publisher's summary says this book has "equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense". I guess I must not be a fan of the paranormal romance thing, because I found this book to concentrate far too much on that aspect of the story. The narrator was pleasant to listen to, although there was the occasional mispronunciation, which is always a little jarring. If paranormal romance novels appeal to you, you'll probably like this novel.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Newburyport, MA, United States 03-12-11
    Kathleen Newburyport, MA, United States 03-12-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
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    77
    29
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    2
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    Overall
    "Anne Rice meets the Harlequin Romances"

    Incredibly syrupy with inane dialog. If you like Harlequin Romances you'll like this. Otherwise, it's not worth the time, especially given the ending that begs for a sequel.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful

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