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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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  •  
    Dresden Parsons Folsom, CA, United States 03-17-11
    Dresden Parsons Folsom, CA, United States 03-17-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
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    "Very Good Book, EXCELLENT NARRATOR!!"

    I rarely write reviews, but I feel I compelled to comment on how thoroughly I enjoyed this book... I couldn't stop listening! I usually avoid fantasy books involving witchcraft and the fae simply because I find I grow bored with all the terminology and spell-weaving... so often it overshadows the actual storyline. While there were spells and the nature of the fae involved defined, everything was explained just enough to be clear but not enough to become tedious.

    There was humor without excessive stupidity (always such a relief!), action, attention to detail (but not obsessive), a bit of sorrow and much anticipation. The author took me from interest to laughter to interest to edge of my seat "no, no, oh... please NO!!" and back again. I am hooked and will DEFINITELY pounce upon the sequels (I liked the book enough to do some research of my own and have found that Ms. Harkness is planning a trilogy) as soon as they are published.

    I prefer to listen to books so that I can accomplish mindless tasks around the home while doing something useful ("reading" being the useful task!) and I would like to say that Jennifer Ikeda is one of, if not the best, narrators I've yet to enjoy (and I listen to many, many audiobooks). I had no trouble separating the characters just by the "voices" ... I had absolutely no difficulty keeping up with what voice was supposed to be whom.

    I look forward to the sequels.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stacey Jenners, PA, United States 03-15-11
    Stacey Jenners, PA, United States 03-15-11
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    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    "Loved this book!!!"

    Once I started this book I was hooked and couldn't tear myself away. I thought it was a very well written book and loved the characters. This book was so much better than the twilight series and even though it is fiction I felt it was more believable. The narrator was exceptional with all the different accents, which made the book even better.

    The only thing I'm unhappy about is how long I'm going to have to wait for the 2nd book to come out.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allyson Kingston, Ontario, Canada 03-13-11
    Allyson Kingston, Ontario, Canada 03-13-11 Member Since 2010
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    REVIEWS
    14
    2
    Overall
    "Discover a winner of a book"

    Having read the posted reviews about this book I took a chance and from the first chapter was never disappointed. Although long, the writer wove such an entrancing tale that it never felt long or overly wordy. The plot is reminiscent in some ways of Diana Gabaldon’s Outler (without the steamy sex), but don’t for a minute think there is no sexual tension in this novel! Like Gabaldon’s novels, there were certainly some aspects of the story that strained the bonds of credulity, but by the time these emerged in the tale I was willing to shrug them off. There are some Twilight elements, to be sure, but only as far as suggesting the possibility of cross-species romance. The reader was excellent and did a fine job of character portrayal. All in all, I was thrilled with my choice and await the next book in this series.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah ALLARDT, TN, United States 03-11-11
    Sarah ALLARDT, TN, United States 03-11-11 Member Since 2010
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    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    "Great Read!"

    Loved it, loved it, loved it. Can't wait for the next book in the series.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sylvia Marion, KS, United States 03-11-11
    Sylvia Marion, KS, United States 03-11-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
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    213
    20
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    "wonderful story; great narrator"

    I hated that the novel ended! Definitely worth the time. I look forward to the next book.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David United States 03-09-11
    David United States 03-09-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
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    163
    3
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    "Not a bad listen, well worth the time."

    Not a bad audiobook, I would never have been able to read through it however. The first half was a bit verbose on the narative. There was a lot of "chatty" narative and not much content on the mysteries of the story. However, the second half came together nicely and started to keep my attention much better. By the end I found myself very curious as to how the full story will pan out. Clearly this is setup for a series of stories, I hope it wont be too long before the next chapter.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer United States 03-03-11
    Kindle Customer United States 03-03-11 Member Since 2010

    Hello, I'm Adrian. I'm engaged to Nichole Braddock and love books! Though I don't have much time to sit and read so I listen... But audio books whole new universe! They make old books new and new books classics! I myself get into some moods and don't write the greatest reviews. Forgive me. I like to review books but it just feels too much like work to me :p

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    "Very good! Hope to see the story complete one day!"

    This audio book was surprisingly good. The first 8 hours of listening was very satisfying. I think it was about there I though I could just stop reading a let my imagination complete it and make it perfect. I hate endings. This feeling went away for a bit but came back once more later on. Toward the end I didn't want it to stop. Though I hate endings, I hate when a book stops before the story has ended... And ends as it may never be complete... Wish I had ended the book myself and chose to one day finish it. I sometimes do that to let my imagination and hope live on. Though the ending doesn't kill the story. But it defiantly doesn't complete the story! So lets hope there will be a sequel!

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Welch Greenwood, IN, United States 03-02-11
    Welch Greenwood, IN, United States 03-02-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Left hanging--shades of Twilight"

    I was disappointed with the ending of this book. It just seemed to be cut off. I was left thinking what--is this it--did I not download the whole book. I thought the story line is mediocre but I must admit if there is a sequel I will read it--mostly because I hate things being left hanging. Shades of "Twilight" with a few new twists I found sections of this just too sappy--especially given that the lead female is suppose to be a PhD. I don't care how old the "mathew" is--I just can't see a female with a PhD letting him get away with being that domineering. I personally loved this narrator. I found it easy to follow the transition from one character to the next in her naration.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alisa Alexandria, LA, United States 03-21-11
    Alisa Alexandria, LA, United States 03-21-11 Member Since 2011
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    23
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    "Fantastic story! Did not want to stop listening!!"

    I loved this book! It was a story that I wanted to listen to all the time until I knew how it would turn it. But I will give one small spoiler... this will be continued. It does not have a final ending. But now I can't wait for the next story to be released. The characters are wonderful and the love story is very sweet. I highly recommend!!!

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheila Olympia Fields, IL, United States 04-26-11
    Sheila Olympia Fields, IL, United States 04-26-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "Superb and Wonderful"

    Well, where do I begin. After reading the Steig Larson Trilogy, I thought - what book will be able to compare to these. Sadly, the one before this was the House at Riverton; and although a lovely book, rather slow and boring. Nevertheless, my next book was a Discovery of Witches. From the first ten minutes of the book; I knew I was going to be hooked. This is a love story, but SO much more. The characters developed quickly, but not too much information was given away; instead the character building unfolded in layers of the story. I was amazed at how much I genuinely cared for the characters, which is an excellent sign of superb writing. From the moment Diana laid her eyes on Matthew, I think we were both in love. You felt as if you were right there with her. The strength and complexity of both characters makes it so much more than a love story, but yet - a very beautiful love story. There are heart-stopping events you never see coming, and it's almost impossible to stop listening. After you finish the book, you will immediately want to listen again, which is what I am doing. Normally, after listening to a book, I delete from my MP3; well not this one. Just being able to listen anytime I want will be comfort - until the next book. Although I must move on to the next epic read; A Discovery of Witches, will be my comfort book - such as comfort food. Our hero and heroine are compelling characters, and that's what makes the story so rich. I was spell-bound (no pun intended). I was on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next, and when it did - what would happen after that. The story moves along at just the right pace. It grabs you by the neck (again, no pun intended), when you least expect for something to happen. My breath was taken away each tine. It is an amazing story. I CANNOT WAIT UNTIL THE NEXT INSTALLMENT. For anyone who is thinking about the book - Stop thinking and DOWNLOAD it immediately. You will be left wanting more!!!!

    0 of 4 people found this review helpful
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