Book review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness 

On social media the trailer of an upcoming Sky 1 series is being shared based on the novel A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. It looks good with drama, fantasy, action and magic so it must be time to catch up with the book.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

 

Book review: A Discovery of Witches
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

 

Title: A Discovery of Witches

Author: Deborah Harkness

Genre: Fiction, fantasy, paranormal

Publisher: Headline

Release Date: 29th September 2011

Blurb

The phenomenal international bestseller and the first volume in the enthralling All SOULS trilogy, preceding SHADOW OF NIGHT and THE BOOK OF LIFE.

It begins with absence and desire. It begins with blood and fear. It begins with a discovery of witches.

When historian Diana Bishop opens an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it’s an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she’s kept at bay for years; one of powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires. Sensing the significance of Diana’s discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire geneticist. Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world of half-truths and old enmities, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they begin to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feelings for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels…

My Thoughts

This is the first book in the All Souls trilogy and my favourite of the series. From the moment Deborah Harkness transported me to the Bodleian library with Diana Bishop I was hooked.  I could not resist; this book has always the elements   I love – old dusty books, libraries and magic bundled together with descriptive pose and intriguing characters. Lots of characters to discover and love besides the main characters, Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont. There are the witches including Emily and Sarah, the extensive vampire family including Miriam, Marcus, Ysabeau and Marthe and deamons especially Hamish. They all have depth and stories beyond this series.

Diana is a character who grew as her back story was revealed throughout the book. As a witch who loves research into the history of alchemy I longed to see the imagery she was seeing in the old manuscripts. Matthew Clairmont has all the element you would expect of a fictional vampire – wealthy, unrealistically handsome, tall and strong with overprotective tendencies but he is grounded by his flaws. They make him more realistic. His back story and secrets add to the depth of character. I found it refreshing that the relationship between him and Diana was more balanced than many vampire stories. She is not your usual damsel in distress.

This a mature paranormal novel with a wonderful blend of unique characters, history, science, location and description to form an epic adventure involving romance, fear and drama. Deborah Harkness has not just created a story for Diana and Matthew she has created a world to explore so it feels as if any character could easily have their own novel. Long after I put the book down my mind would drift back to the plot and characters.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes! I love this book and is in my top 10 favourite books and is on my forever shelf. With the upcoming TV programme I predict it will go wild with discissions. As with all book versus film debates it is worth a read before the programme release. Have you read it and let me know what you think below.

Thank you NetGalley and Headline for the opportunity to read a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

Happy reading!

 

Ellfaenian Journals: Amber’s story catch up

I haven’t managed to do much writing, apart from some entries for Amber’s journal as blogged about in Peeking in secret diaries . School has started and so has Project Nightmare.

The Ellfaenian Journals are a side project of my current work in progress which gives an insight into Amber, the main character’s life while the magical realm of Ellfaen is making itself known. It is a YA paranormal, fantasy fiction. You can catch up on her story so far here:

Panic

Same Old Hell

Project Nightmare

Project Nightmare success – ish

Endless Loop

Does the Ellfaenian Journals work as a blog? Only time and followers will tell but I am enjoying writing Amber’s thoughts. It helps place scenes in order for The Hollow and banishes the dreaded writer’s block. If I find myself glaring at an empty screen, letting Amber talk gets the imagination flowing. Any words on a page are a bonus.

Happy reading and happy writing.

Peeking in secret diaries

My current WIP has been in the making since my teenage years when I was obsessed with astral projection, magic and Nightmare on Elm Street. It has evolved since the first draft written at that time. I hope so, since the ending to that one involved a visit to McDonalds. It is a YA fantasy/supernatural story with some reality thrown in following 15 year old Amber as she is trapped in the world of Ellfaen with only her alcoholic father to help.

It has always been my plan to release Amber’s diary online to accompany my novel The Hollow * as a sneak in to the world of Ellfaen. Her story begins at the beginning of the school year so it was only appropriate (or complete madness)to release  it now. If you want be nosy and sneak a look into her private diary you can find them here.

Her first entry is The Diary of Nobody followed by Sweat and Fear; they are back

Amber comes from a female line of journal writers so other journals maybe opened in the future.

The journals are a WIP which I hope will become something readable for my readers to enjoy so any suggestions or comments please let me know.

Have a good week!

*this is a working title and will probably change.

Unexpected characters 

I have been dreaming, plotting and writing my WIP for too long but recently, as I stop procrastinating, it has developed its own twists and unexpected characters have turned up. They were not planned but I am happily writing a scene when my MC, Amber looks up and sees a guy larking around and he smiles. That unintended smile has led to him becoming part of her story when he was never supposed to be but it works, I think.

A more insistent character, Roo, has squirmed (literally) into a bigger role than planned. He was meant to have a small but significant role in linking the real world of Amber to the fantasy world she finds herself in but he was not happy just being a cameo part; he has demanded more action and with the back up of Amber he is appearing in more scenes, creating trouble but also encouraging  the story along.


He is a hard character to contain because he is based on our ferret, Randall, who is as demanding and quirky in real life as in fiction. His antics and determination inspire every time he has cuddles, plays and gets into strife. His real life has not been easy after being rescued when we discovered him and his brother (sadly deceased but postmortly named Hopkirk) at the side of a road years ago. The trauma led to him to be agoraphobic for a while and he faces difficult health problems but his grit and zest for life gets him through.  He is loyal and extremely affectionate. I hope my depiction of him does him justice and people grow to love him as much as those who know him.