A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I first heard about this book on one of my favorite podcasts, Guys Can Read. Their description and review of the book intrigued me but I wasn't sure that I would actually take the plunge and read it due to massively disparate reviews by friends on Goodreads. People seemed to love it or hate it. In the end, I decided to give it a shot, in hopes that I would love it. And, boy, did I ever love it!
I have heard a few people compare this book to Twilight and I just don't see it. So, please don't let those comparisons stop you from giving this one a try. This is NOT Twilight. It had more of the feel of the Outlanders series by Diana Gabaldon to me, although even that isn't a great comparison. The storytelling and world building were definitely in the same ball park as Gabaldon so perhaps that is why that comparison keeps coming to mind for me.
Although other reviewers keep talking about Deborah Harkness's writing not being particularly good, I cannot say that I felt that way. I felt her writing was quite good. She kept me engaged throughout the novel and kept things moving along fine for me. Her characters are outstanding and just jumped off the pages for me. I wanted to sink into a comfy chair and read it in one sitting!
This is a novel that has a bit of it all - history, the supernatural, romance, adventure, and even mystery. And it is all done well, in my opinion. The research that Harkness had to do to weave this wonderful tale must have been immense! She wove the tale so successfully - each and every piece of the puzzle came together as the story moved along. I truly did not want to put it down.
And now, I cannot wait for the next 2 books in the series. She left this first installment in a wonderful place and I cannot wait to pick back up with these characters in 2012 when the second installment is scheduled to be released. I don't think that any review that I can write will do this book justice but I'll just say that its one of my favorite books of 2011!
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