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A Discovery of Witches Paperback – 29 Sep 2011
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Intelligent and off-the-wall, it will be irresistible to Twilight fans (The Sunday Times)
A bubbling cauldron of illicit desire...all the ingredients for an assured saga that blends romance with fantasy (Daily Mail)
An inventive addition to the supernatural craze... Historian Harkness's racy paranormal romance has exciting amounts of spells, kisses and battles, and is recounted with enchanting, page-turning panache (Marie Claire)
A romp through magical academia (Guardian)
...a grand romance smartly dressed up in the fashion for the occult...Sauced up with magic as well as being intelligent, the novel will be irresistible to Twilight fans (The Sunday Times)
The phenomenal international bestseller and the first volume in the enthralling All SOULS trilogy, preceding SHADOW OF NIGHT and THE BOOK OF LIFE. SOON TO BE A MAJOR TV SERIES.See all Product description
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Some great imaginative touches in the book, particularly the magical house, but much of it was rather too 'Twilight' for me, and the obsessive love and devotion thing overdone.
If I got the following books for free I might read them to see if Diana develops into a more likeable character, but otherwise I wouldn't read them. Sorry.
Diana Bishop, an American academic studying in Oxford, is well aware that she is a witch but has always refused to accept her powers. The reasons for this are gradually revealed throughout the story and, as a result, the reader is more sympathetic to the character. The world Diana inhabits includes witches as well as vampires and daemons (creative types who are mercurial and unpredictable but not inherently evil) and all three groups are after a manuscript which it appears can only be accessed by Diana.
She is befriended and later falls in love with a vampire - this is a serious no no in Diana's world and their love affair is the catalyst for troubles far beyond the characters of the story. The novel moves from Oxford to France and then on to upstate New York before ending on a significant cliffhanger that leads into Book 2.
On the whole I found the story engaging, accessible and well written. It made a pleasant change from my more usual choice of story. Mostly it is told in the first person by Diana with occasional chapters being told in the third person. This does break the flow of the story somewhat and it is a shame that the author could not have found a way of conveying the information we needed whilst still in Diana's voice. Jim Butcher (author of the Dresden Files) is a master of this and perhaps could have proved a source of reference for the writer.
My only real criticisms of the story is that the love story between Diana and Matthew is overdone in places to the point of being almost nauseatingly saccharine. I can only assume that this was to attract the Twilight and Fifty Shades fans to the book but I hope that it is toned down in the other books of the trilogy.
Secondly an essential power that forms the major plot element at the end of the story (and, given how the book ends, presumably for the whole of book 2) is only introduced very late on. It would have been nice to have it foreshadowed at least earlier in the book. I wonder if the author had decided how to the end the story late on and was not willing to go back and stitch in some references or hints early on (or maybe I just missed them!)
Overall though it was an enjoyable read. I look forward to the Sky adaptation and will turn my attention to book 2 in the fullness of time.
Many reviews stated that Diana became wet. I do not necessarily agree. She was a strong and confident character at the onset because she had worked hard and achieved success as an academic. This was her life's work and she was good at it. Her supernatural powers, on the other hand, were ill developed and repressed and bounded so she did not have confidence in them. So to be thrust in a maelstrom of events where everyone wanted a piece your power which you are ignorant of or can't access, was frightening.; and rightly so as she could have died on a number of occasions.
Enter the protector. I loved him as he was described as a perfect alfa. But it all ended in the description. We did not see him do much outside of his commanding presence. He also failed the most basic of basic test of any hero and that is to protect the heroine or die trying. Actually he nearly killed her trying to survive. Therefore l will wait for the movies as they promise to be great.
There are parts that verge on the ridiculous and don't seem to be logical, but this is a fantasy book, so normalcy goes out the window. It does start off quite slowly, but I enjoyed that part and felt it really built the scene for me and drew me in further with vivid descriptions. For anyone who can't suspend disbelief or isn't a fan of genre fiction, stay away. Far, far away. For those of us who enjoy stepping into different worlds and reading about creatures such as witches, vampires and daemons, this should tick all the right boxes. Some of the romance was a bit too much and sickly sweet and I felt it would have been better to focus on other things.