6 April 2013

A Discovery of Witches

Title: A Discovery of Witches
Author: Deborah Harkness
Series: All Souls Trilogy Book 1
Year published: 2011
Pages: 589
Time It Took To Read: Two days, in which I did little else

Ah, Vampire mythology. I've read a lot, seen a lot; and everyone's got their own interpretation. My first vampire book was Interview With A Vampire, which intrigued me, but also slightly revolted me. Then came the GODAWFUL Twilight series. Now, I like the Southern Vampire Mysteries (True Blood) as a bit of light reading. 
I got this book for my birthday LAST year (my birthday was on Wednesday) and asked for it because of the witch element rather than the vampirism. I really enjoy supernatural fiction in general, possibly because my mother wouldn't let me read any when I was young, making it rather irresistible.
I took an hour or so to get into it. The plot is that a witch - Diana - finds something that everyone wants, and falls for a vampire - Matthew - along the way. So far, so Twilight. And in many ways it DOES take a lot from the Twilight series - the vampires can daywalk, they generally avoid eating from humans, the old fashioned manners of the vamp contrast with the modern independence of the woman, and OBVIOUSLY their love is FORBIDDEN by all and sundry.
But there are many ways in which it is definitely NOT Twilighty. Diana, for a start, is a witch, not a puny human. She has no desire to be changed into a vampire, at least not to begin with. She's a historian in her early 30s, researching the genesis of modern science via alchemy. The author is a science historian, and the whole book is full of fascinating historical and scientific facts. This makes it a meaty read. There's also not too much blood. I am a bit squeamish; fine in the flesh, rubbish reading about it. It will make my history of medicine module next year FUN.
I read the book AVIDLY - literally, I did nothing else yesterday, much to the chagrin of my bored children - but found the pace frustrating. As I reached the end of the book and realised there was no tidy conclusion, I started to get a bit angry. How could the author NOT conclude an almost-600-page book? BEAST! Then I looked on Amazon and found out it's part of a trilogy (not advertised on the book), ordered the next one and relaxed.
Awesome book, in short. If you like the mythology, but hate the flimsy, formulaic trashiness of most supernatural books, give this a try.

Book Count: 21/50

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