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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

What Members Say

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  •  
    Michele Mercer Oviedo, FL United States 09-10-12
    Michele Mercer Oviedo, FL United States 09-10-12 Member Since 2012
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    3
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    "Captivating!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. Beautifully written. Moves steadily.


    What about Jennifer Ikeda’s performance did you like?

    Her narrative as the lead character was comfortable. Ovall tone and cadence pleasing.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel YAKIMA, WA, United States 07-26-12
    Rachel YAKIMA, WA, United States 07-26-12 Member Since 2013

    I am a clay sculptor and an art instructor at a community college. I mostly listen to audiobooks while I work in my home studio.

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    "Twilight for 30 somethings"

    This book makes me want to stab something.

    If you liked Twilight--no, let me rephrase, if you liked the "romance" and the female frailty and insipidity of Bella in Twilight--then give this crap piece of writing a go. If, on the other hand, you like your female protagonists to have half a brain in their head and be fully thought-out characters and individuals, then avoid this excessively long, action less "story" filled with stock characters of no depth and unclear motivations.

    I actually kinda liked Twilight the first time around (though it doesn't have enough depth to re-read), maybe because of the pace. A Discovery of Witches does not have any action, at least we haven't seen any 400--I mean 13--looong hours into the audiobook.

    At 13 hours, I am about halfway through the book. Currently I detest the main character and simply dislike all the other characters. The vampire love interest is a jerk who treats the main character crappy and keeps secrets from her for not other reason than, I suppose to further the lack-of-plot and "suspense." Except we are told that Mr. Vampire is really nice. Diana is totally impressed with Mr. Vampire for, I guess, being slightly less jerky than everyone else. Diana appears to have no other life or to do anything interesting. Apparently she is a big-shot historian but this seems to be her stock backstory rather than actually interesting in the book.

    Mr. Vamp is a scientist. Diana is a witch. She suddenly discovers that she's a super-powerful witch, but doesn't know anything about it and everyone around her, including her erstwhile guardians appears intent on keeping everything secret until after she needs to know about it, like how witches are forbidden to "be" with vampires. Thus forbidden, rebel Diana instantly decides she has fallen in love. Good plan.

    For the last interminable space of time during my reading, the vampire has told Diana she has to do whatever he says, the author has tried to get us to believe that Vampires are scary and also amazingly attractive. I don't believe either of them, I'm giving up.

    Does something interesting happen eventually? Near the end does the protagonist actually do something or hold a thought in her head that doesn't directly relate to swooning over studly Mr. Vampire? I don't know and I probably never will.

    I don't like to give up on books partway through, but I don't think I can possibly finish this one.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberly Long Valley, NJ, United States 07-05-12
    Kimberly Long Valley, NJ, United States 07-05-12 Member Since 2008

    sosspan

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    "Favorite book of 2011"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Discovery of Witches to be better than the print version?

    Audio book junky... love the audio


    Any additional comments?

    Discovery of Witches is one of my all time favorite books. The story is amazing. I could not stop listening. I have listened to it at least 4 times. Well written. can't wait for the next one!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    christine santa rosa beach, FL, United States 07-04-12
    christine santa rosa beach, FL, United States 07-04-12 Member Since 2014

    I was always a slow reader! All of my friends would read fantastic books faster than I ever could dream of and then one day my roommate suggested audible! Now I listen every time I get a spare moment! I love fantasy and fiction, stories with layers of connections and a twist in history always catch my attention.

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    11
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    "Long But WONDERFUL!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes! I have already posted to Facebook and Pinterest about this book!


    What other book might you compare A Discovery of Witches to and why?

    Its a grown up book caught somewhere between Harry Potter, the Twilight series, and the I am Number 4 series.


    What about Jennifer Ikeda’s performance did you like?

    She is easy to listen to. The book was long and she kept you interested and attentive to what was coming next!


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A Discovery of Witches ~ More Than What You Can See


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patti-Jane Sunnyvale, CA, United States 05-15-12
    Patti-Jane Sunnyvale, CA, United States 05-15-12 Member Since 2011
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    "A better-written Twilight"
    Any additional comments?

    If Bella were a witch with a doctorate in history, and if Edward was a non-sparkly vampire scientist, then this would be Twilight, only written better.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    muhammedallia 04-23-12 Member Since 2011

    muhammedallia

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    "No more supernatural/useless woman love interests"
    What disappointed you about A Discovery of Witches?

    I am so tired of weak female characters being the love interest of dark brooding vampires. After what felt like 20 straight minutes of this girl deciding what to cook for her date with what should be a blood sucking fiend, I quit. Vampires should be either a: SCARY or b: campy. I love Buffy and I enjoyed Interview with the Vampire and this was neither. I really thought this story would be about witches, magic and something resembling a plot.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    For a supernatural storyline with much more intriguing characters, I always fall back on some Dresden Files, but I've also been giving time to the Kim Harrison book series with a witch lead.


    What three words best describe Jennifer Ikeda’s performance?

    Fine. Lulling. Acceptable.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment. I was intrigued by the main character's initial history and the plot instigator of discovering the unusual book but then it went no where with a romance that didn't make any sense. Just because two characters see each other, does not convince the audience that they are destined to be together, or even that they have any chemistry. That needs to be written in with some witty dialogue.


    Any additional comments?

    Maybe I'd like this book if someone edited out the romance.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Georgina Chino, CA, United States 04-20-12
    Georgina Chino, CA, United States 04-20-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Not good"

    I was unable to finish listening to the book. Very boring. The story seemed to go nowhere. I was very disappointed.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Port Lavaca, TX, United States 03-30-12
    David Port Lavaca, TX, United States 03-30-12 Member Since 2014

    i love storys about magic with adult humor in the storys like Piers Anthony and Orson Scott Card i also like some sci-fi storys. The storys i like best is : On a Pale Horse, The Lost Gate, Ender's Game, Split Infinity. i do not like short storys.

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    "more then just a romance."

    as you can see kids dont care to much for it.
    it is more then just a romance story.
    it starts out about a witch, that dont want to be one.
    a story of magic... and it starts out about a book she run across and see's it has magic but trys to pass it by... no chance!
    to say the least a long story...lol
    im waiting on book2. she ends up going back in time by way of magic after she finds she has a lot of power thats breaking out.
    ill not say more. to much will kill the story for you...lol
    if your not a kid you may like it.
    just read reviews and try the simple.
    you may get lucky.
    if your a kid your likey will not like it.
    it has a lot of romance in it too. kids dont care for that. bores them. :)

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcos Sao Paulo, Brazil 03-21-12
    Marcos Sao Paulo, Brazil 03-21-12 Listener Since 2002
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    "Awful, boring book. I am embarrassed I bought it."
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    The book is obviously targeted to Twilight fans, but it is much worse. People who enjoy romantic stories will not find one there, the characters simply meet and immediately fall in love, without any conflict. No one understands really why boy loves girl, because ether is absolutely no reason for him to do it.

    Neither it is a vampire or witch story, the characters remind me more of X-Men mutants (there is a lot of talk about DNA) who can fly, throw fire rays, etc. It is ridicuolous.


    What could Deborah Harkness have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    This book is beyond salvation. The author simply used every dirty trick in the book and was not able to have a story with any pace or thrill. It is just boring.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    The poor narrator is good, as usual with audible books, but what can she do to save such a pathetic book?


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from A Discovery of Witches?

    Apart from the boring pace, pretentious dialogues and flat personalities of the characters, the thing that strikes me most is that the book is racist...against humans. Humans are stupid, ignorant, weak. The vampires and witches are divine. Give me a break.


    Any additional comments?

    This was the worst book I have bought from Audible in 10 years. Beware.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia 03-14-12
    Cynthia 03-14-12
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    "An ok story, despite some flaws."
    What did you like best about A Discovery of Witches? What did you like least?

    The premise of the book, that demons, witches and vampires were somehow interrelated, was intriguing. I particularly like the use and integration of folklore, the magical book, and the sentient house. I think the relationship at the center of the novel between the witch and the vampire was ridiculously drawn out. The effect, rather than increasing the sexual tension in the book, banished it, and left me wishing to get on with the story. Some characters were developed in an interesting direction and then abandoned to mediocrity.


    What didn’t you like about Jennifer Ikeda’s performance?

    On the whole, I liked her performance. She made some really terrible pronunciation errors, however, which completely distracted me. An example I still grouse about was her pronunciation of


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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