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!

 

The All Souls Trilogy book review

All Souls trilogy overveiw

The trailer is out for the highly anticipated Sky 1 drama A Discovery of Witches so it must be time to delve into a series of books I love and are on my forever shelf with endless revisits – the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness.

 

The All Souls Trilogy

The trilogy consists of

I will review them in separate posts to avoid any unintended spoilers for the previous books.

The series follows Diana Bishop, a witch and scholar of Alchemy as she inadvertently finds a lost manuscript hunted for centuries by the three paranormal species – witches, vampires and daemons. One of those searching is a vampire, Matthew Clairmont and as their relationship grows so does the danger and the plot thickens.

The detailed descriptions of the Bodleian library, many fully developed characters to fall in love with entwined with the paranormal and history drew me in. Her love for history shines through. Like Harry Potter and Pottermore, The All Souls trilogy is no longer just three books; Deborah Harkness has created a world for fans to explore. A community of like-minded people has grown from it with discussion groups, websites for fans and podcasts. A complete guide of the books, The World of All Souls, was released this year – it is on my Christmas list. There is even a yearly convention to attend in person or online. I have been an online attendee and they are worth a look. With insights to the characters, book readings, competitions and music it adds a new dimension to the reading experience. If you love the books, you can immerse yourself in their magic. The growth and popularity of the All Souls world is helped by Deborah being active and involved on social media sharing insights and updates into the characters and world they live.

When the programme is released I predict a sharp increase in the interest in these books and I can’t wait for the discussions that will follow. With the release of her new book Times Convert in September 2018 it is a busy year Deborah Harkness.

Want to find out more:

Deborah Harkness website

Follow her on Twitter and Facebook

Website for fans:

Daemons Domain 

 

Have you read the books or been to the convention? Let me know below. This is a series I could talk about for hours.

 

Book review: Sunflowers in February by Phyllida Shrimpton

I was attracted to this book for its cover and title – I love sunflowers! I was excited when I received an advanced copy by NetGalley for an honest review.

Book review for Sunflowers in February

Title: Sunflowers in February

Author:  Phyllida Shrimpton

Genre: Young Adult, paranormal, fiction

Blurb

Lily wakes up one crisp Sunday morning on the side of the road. She has no idea how she got there. It is all very peaceful. and very beautiful. It is only when the police car, and then the ambulance arrive, and she sees her own body, that she realises that she is in fact . . . dead.

But what is she supposed do now? Lily has no option but to follow her body and see her family  – her parents and her twin brother start falling apart.

And then her twin brother Ben gives her a once in a deathtime opportunity – to use his own body for a while. But will Lily give Ben his body back? She is beginning to have a rather good time . . .

My Thoughts

What a wonderful, quirky debut. It brought tears to my eyes, made me gasp, chuckle and smile but most of all, it gave me a sense of positivity. Lily has an upbeat personality and experiencing her viewpoint made me look at the world with fresh eyes as well as reach out for the Jelly Tots. My diet has been paused again because of a book.
It is hard to review without giving anything away but it covers the consequences of a death, grief, family bonds and how precious life is. There were times it made me stop, look around me and appreciate the moment. A little bit of mindfulness in a novel.

Who can resist Jelly Tots?

Would I recommend?

Yes! This is the best book I have read this year.

Have you read this yet? Let me know your thoughts below.

 Happy reading!