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

55%

14 Critic Reviews

Can I just say how difficult it is for a guy to read this stuff...Is there no such thing as a homely vampire?
-LA Times

Synopsis

Book one of the New York Times–bestselling All Souls trilogy—"a wonderfully imaginative grown-up fantasy with all the magic of Harry Potter and Twilight” (People)

Deborah Harkness’s sparkling debut, A Discovery of Witches, has brought her into the spotlight and galvanized fans around the world. In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont.

Harkness has created a universe to rival those of Anne Rice, Diana Gabaldon, and Elizabeth Kostova, and she adds a scholar's depth to this riveting tale of magic and suspense. The story continues in book two, Shadow of Night, and concludes with The Book of Life.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Deborah Harkness

See more books from this Author
DEBORAH HARKNESS is a professor of history at the University of Southern California. She has received Fulbright, Guggenheim, and National Humanities Center fellowships, and her most recent scholarly work is The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution. She also writes an award-winning wine blog, goodwineunder20.blogspot.com.
 
Published February 8, 2011 by Penguin Books. 594 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Horror, Literature & Fiction, Religion & Spirituality, History. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Feb 27 2011
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for A Discovery of Witches
All: 14 | Positive: 7 | Negative: 7

Kirkus

Below average
Dec 15 2010

...not in the league of J.K. Rowling—or even Anne Rice. But please, people: no more vamps and wizards, OK?

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Jenny Turner on Feb 11 2011

Characters and relationships are stereotyped. The historical background is a total pudding. The prose is terrible.

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Blog Critics

Excellent
Reviewed by Bruce Smith on Dec 28 2011

Harkness incorporates her knowledge and experience into writing A Discovery of Witches. As a result, the story flows smoothly and provides great entertainment.

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Globe and Mail

Below average
Reviewed by Sandra Kasturi on Mar 11 2011

...when it comes down to character relationships, the novel is filled with the most irritating tropes of romance fiction, and none of the beautiful language you might expect from a professor

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AV Club

Below average
Reviewed by Todd VanDerWerff on Mar 24 2011

By the time it’s all over, readers will have been drawn in. It’s just a question of whether they’ll make it that far.

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Entertainment Weekly

Excellent
Reviewed by Karen Valby on Jan 26 2011

Harkness writes with thrilling gusto about the magical world. Whether she's describing a yoga class for witches, daemons, and vampires or Diana's benignly haunted house, it's a treat to suspend disbelief.

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LA Times

Below average
Reviewed by Nick Owchar on Feb 19 2011

Can I just say how difficult it is for a guy to read this stuff...Is there no such thing as a homely vampire?

Read Full Review of A Discovery of Witches: A Nov... | See more reviews from LA Times

All About Romance

Above average
Reviewed by Sandy Coleman on Oct 03 2014

Quite honestly, I didn’t feel the momentum everyone else seems to be talking about – maybe because I’m accustomed to romance and urban fantasy in which no punches are pulled...Things do pick up in the book’s final quarter, but by that time I was done with the tofu and ready for a good, meaty steak instead.

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The Washington Post

Below average
Reviewed by Elizabeth Hand on Mar 03 2011

If Harkness doesn't ring many changes upon the overworked tropes of paranormal romance, at least she leaves readers with hope of a more engaging sequel.

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Paste

Excellent
Reviewed by Christine Ziemba on Feb 21 2011

Harkness’s attention to historical detail, the rich fantasy world she creates, and the imperfections and faults of both protagonists hold us thoroughly.

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USA Today

Excellent
Reviewed by Carol Memmott on Feb 27 2011

Romantic relationships are mature, vibrant, sexy and fun. When the vampires hunt, there's no glossing it over.

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Strange Horizons

Below average
Reviewed by Phoebe North on May 11 2012

Readers who crack open the pages of A Discovery of Witches hoping to find magic, to be captivated by compelling plotting, or to discover the secret of Ashmole 782 will likely be disappointed

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Book Addiction

Good
Reviewed by Heather on Aug 06 2012

I truly enjoyed every minute I spent with A Discovery of Witches. It has everything – fantasy, history, romance, action – and it is a book that is not to be missed.

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Cecil Daily

Good
Reviewed by Shannon Jackson on Nov 14 2012

This is a beautiful love story as well as an excellently researched piece of historical fiction

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Reader Rating for A Discovery of Witches
82%

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Joanna Fourtounas 17 Jun 2013

Rated the book as 4 out of 5

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Breeann Tatham 23 Sep 2014

The trilogy is amazing! If you love the supernatural, romance, history, and mystery, then this is a story you'll enjoy! One of my favorites!

Breeann Tatham

Breeann Tatham 23 Sep 2014

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