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A Discovery of Witches Audiobook

A Discovery of Witches

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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

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (16712 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Lolo 06-17-13
    Lolo 06-17-13 Member Since 2013

    I like realistic books that stretch the truth and the laws of physics...and also emotionally resonant narration that doesn't suck.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not as good as the hype suggests"
    Have you listened to any of Jennifer Ikeda’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    The narrator did well here. I would listen to her pleasant voice again.


    Could you see A Discovery of Witches being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    I couldn't see this series being a very good movie or series really. It would probably end up being a replica of true blood or twilight, with more childish ideas of romance.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is mostly centered on the romance between the main characters, more so than the potentially very interesting story line. The romance goes inexplicably from acquaintance to undying love right off the bat, without any exchanges between the characters that would indicate their feelings for each other without the author just spelling it out for you. The heroin is not especially mature (for a doctor at Oxford!), Or likeable. Her loving, elder matriarch witch aunt comes off as a complete jerk. The story leans on narratives and elements already well traveled by the sookie Stackhouse novels and the true blood series, which should work out quite lucratively for this author. The set up for sequels in this book seems obvious and opportunistic, as it sacrifices the integrity of the story. The author jumped into all the magical elements of the world of her story so immediately that it kind of made it hard for me to suspend my disbelief, though she did recover some of that magical realism for me later on in the first few hours of the book. SOME. The only things I really admired about this book are 1.) The research the author must have done on DNA sequencing and other biology related narratives, and how well she used it, and 2.) The creativity of the elements of the story that seemed more original, like the explanations of the "reality" of witches as "creatures" living in hiding among humans, and the witches academic interest in alchemy. All in all, though I love fantasy/reality and science fiction, I would have preferred to read something else. Something more well written, and less cliche and romance focused.

    29 of 37 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elle OREGON 05-31-12
    Elle OREGON 05-31-12

    Audible Fan, Amazon Customer, Gardener, Quilter, Liberal and Activist. I'll read about anything!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A poorly plotted book with common themes"

    I feel the author read all the YA vampire, paranormal,witches etc etc books, put 'em in a blender with a soupçon of Nora Roberts, whipped em up and went for the money. After all, this stuff sells right now.

    People give this book 5 freaking stars..To me, a 5 star book is "The Prince of Tides" I gave 5 stars to "American Gods" and "The Stand" This book isn't anywhere near that category and, really..there aren't that many actual 5 star books out there, but reviewers, lost in the blush of a fun read, will say "Its the best book I ever read", give it 5 stars and negate the review system. Nor is this book a total stinker-with editing and rewriting, it could come out to a reasonable book-so I gave it 2 stars overall.

    OK I'm off my soap box.

    Vamps, werewolves, witches and so on are hot sellers these days. Combined with uber strong and smart women along the lines of Skalander and Everdean. If you include some romance you have a 'guaranteed sell' to a certain audience that simply loves the genre and does not demand plotting or character development....and good for them. They have a lot to read these days.

    Personally I also enjoy WELL WRITTEN books in this genre.

    This book isn't well written, needs an editor to work it over and chop about 1/3 of the content....it just made me bored with the trite writing.

    Lots of readers seem to love it though and I think about the same number of readers dislike it.

    Guess that makes it average. I wish I hadn't spent a credit on it-I failed to read all the reviews-just hit the positive ones.

    It might not make a bad read from the used book store for a couple of bucks, but it wasn't worth a whole credit to me.

    Those who love this book will hate my review-but it's honestly my opinion...maybe I can save some other critically minded reader from making the same mistake I did.

    25 of 32 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine Noble, OK, United States 02-11-11
    Christine Noble, OK, United States 02-11-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Book"

    I have purchased many audible books and this is the first time I have been compelled to write a review. I loved this book! I was totally hooked in the first 5 min.,very well writen. The plot is a refreshing change from alot of other books like this. The narrator was great and really kept the story interesting. I will definately read more books by this author and narrator!!!

    51 of 66 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michele Pisano-Marsh Emmaus, PA USA 02-20-11
    Michele Pisano-Marsh Emmaus, PA USA 02-20-11 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Romance Not Mystery"

    I was hoping for a supernatural mystery but what I got was a very by the numbers Harlequin romance. Theres nothing wrong with that its just not what I enjoy & I think the description should be more forthcoming. After many shuddering sighs and descriptrions of lingering touches and smoldering glances I was literally laughing out loud while listening. Hate the weak woman, strong man dynamic. I thought the narrator was good. If you like the Twilight series, you'll probably enjoy this.

    31 of 40 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Sacramento, CA 01-25-12
    Jennifer Sacramento, CA 01-25-12 Listener Since 2010

    Persnipity

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I Almost Stopped Listening..."

    This book was interesting at first. The novel's plot is decent; I just wish the characters could live up to it. After the heroine meets the hero, it's all downhill from there. The dialogue is trite, "his mouth said no but his eyes said yes." Seriously?! Much of the dialogue reminds me of what must be written in those terrible grocery store romance novels. Overall, I was disappointed.

    59 of 77 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine 03-31-11
    Catherine 03-31-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Wasted Day"

    I agree with some of the earlier reviews:
    Twilight for adults. Sappy. Romantic fiction.
    But what teed me off is that this is 24 hours of set up for a series.
    Asa King and Rice fan I was disappointed. As a Christie fan I was livid.
    In all that time the mystery doesn't get solved. Poirot we need you.
    I resented being sucked into a series without warning.
    Series are great as long as each book will stand on its own. This one does not.

    95 of 125 people found this review helpful
  •  
    pakkmom 03-10-11
    pakkmom 03-10-11

    Lvstoread

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hmmm, needs...work..."

    Witches, vampires, demons, did we forget anything? Oh yes, a few ghosts and let's not forget the humans. Shouldn't there be some werewolves but oddly enough, there aren't any. There is an interesting plot, a mysterious alchemical manuscript, an old unsolved murder and finally the "hero" and "heroine". However, this is the first time that I've listened to a book and found the plot to be more interesting than the main characters. And the plot is what kept me going through the entire 24 hours and 2 minutes.
    We first meet Diana Bishop, scholar, historian, emotionally stunted witch in the Bodleian Library and are quickly introduced to Matthew Clairmont, tall, dark, handsome stranger, no wait...vampire. Without much ado, Diana and Matthew become attracted to each other though why isn't at all clear. Neither character displays much by way of personality other than a propensity on Diana's part to be insipid, insecure and irrational. Matthew on the other hand, is autocratic, demanding and superior. And hearing him call Diana "mon coeur" over and over becomes positively nauseating. Both characters seem to have no conversation other than to make silly demands of each other, or issuing ultimatums. Buy the end of the book I was heartily sick of Diana and Matthew. They had become caricatures, one dimensional, boring and unsympathetic. And I really don't much care what happens to them.
    Reader Jennifer Ikeda does an adequate job, though some of her voices for the different characters start to grate after awhile. It is perhaps more an indication of the character development (or lack thereof) that affects the reading.
    There is promise to author Deborah Harkness' writing, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to finish A Discovery of Witches. Hopefully she'll continue to grow as an author and write a really terrific next book.

    64 of 84 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Candace Russell 12-23-12 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too much of nothing"

    About the best thing I can say about this book is that if you're fighting insomnia, you can plug in your earbuds and let it talk you to sleep (and it will) for at least 6 hours without missing anything important. It's not that the author is a poor writer; she does a very nice job of describing all the furniture of every place the heroine visits, every ingredient of everything she eats, every sensation she experiences. Further, she seems terribly naive and inexperienced for someone who is supposed to be a powerful, adult witch. I thought this story might at least be a fun read, but it's not, so no reason to suffer though the rest of it.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    peekay427 california, USA 03-16-11
    peekay427 california, USA 03-16-11 Member Since 2004

    peekay427

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Twilight for adults"

    I found the description of this book very misleading. The storyline of witches, vampires and demons and the mystery of a magical book is what drew me to this novel. Instead, I found it to be a very overdone story about how much the main character wants to have sex with vampires. I'm not sure what the draw is, but I found the "love story" part of this novel worse and worse as the book went on.

    It also seemed like the author lost track of the story, as by the end, it was very confusing as to what everyone was doing, what their motivations were, etc. Basically, this book read to me mostly as a "Twilight for adults". The main character, on one side is the "most powerful witch ever" and on the other side she needs to be completely taken care of and babied the entire time.

    To make it worse, the part of the story that I was actually interested in (the mystery about the "magic book") as well as most of the rest of the conflicts is never resolved at the end. Even with some random deus ex machina (an enchanted house and time traveling) the author doesn't even bother tying the story together. I certainly will not be bothering with any sequel if it's written.

    77 of 103 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Megan 05-11-11
    Megan 05-11-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This is a romance!"

    This book felt like a failed attempt at creating a grown-up Twilight. Whether you like them or not, the similarities between S.M.'s books and this one are obvious. In addition, I didn't realize this was a romance when I bought the book- IT IS! The romance takes up at least 3/4 of the book and moves at a confusing, awkward pace. I only kept listening to it so that I could write a review based on the entire book- otherwise I would have stopped listening around 2/3 of the way through.

    On the bright side- the narrator does a fantastic job. The stars are for her.

    79 of 106 people found this review helpful

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