A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness (2011)
Fiction | Paranormal
“Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.”
pooled ink Review:
Quick shout out for the cover design team because I love the covers for this series!! They’re so beautiful and so perfect for the story too!
This will be a brief review as there isn’t much I can review. This is one of those baffling circumstances where I mark a book as DNF (Did Not Finish) and yet that doesn’t mean it was a terrible book at all. How can this be? Well…
I’ve heard about this book since before it was released and it seemed just like something I’d love, but as most avid readers understand we can’t read everything on our TBR list when we’d like to so it wasn’t until the trilogy was completed that I finally bought a copy and not until now that I found time to read it. Unfortunately I’m frustrated with myself because the book’s blurb drew me in, the trailer for the TV adaptation had me dancing to begin, but ultimately I simply cannot get into it.
I love the characters, the setting, the plot, everything. I think the problem for me lies in its pacing which is, in a word, s l o w. I’ve noticed this often in adult fiction (for whatever strange reason) and this book is no exception. But I’m frustrated because I really really want to know this story! I want to read it! I want to follow the characters, unravel the mystery, be a part of the story as it unfolds! And yet I can’t because I’ve spent a month trying to read this book and only made it to page 114 before deciding that for now I’d rather pursue some other books on my reading list.
Don’t worry, I’m not giving up on this book forever, just for now. Sometimes it’s like that, if I wait a while and return to it suddenly we click and I feel so crazy for not having understood it in the first place. I’m sincerely hoping that will happen for me with this book because as I’ve said, it sounds awesome. And I did enjoy those hundred pages that I managed to read, I honestly did, but it also lulls me into dropping my head on the table and waking up with heavy eyelids and a bit of drool in the corner of my mouth lol. But obviously there is a massive crowd of people who adore this series and I cannot fault them. I really hope if the blurb caught your attention that you will pick it up and give it a try. I hope when you do that you’ll call me crazy because you were hooked from the first page. And I hope that the next time I give it a try that I will feel the same way and re-write this entire post.
So…this isn’t exactly a review (sorry) but I still felt like sharing my thoughts (plus my blog somewhat doubles as my reading journal). Just know that the cover is gorgeous, the plot is brilliant, the TV adaptation (the trailer for which I’ve included at the end of this post) looks captivating, and I really really think you should at least consider it. True, it’s not my thing. For now. But there’s actual potential so I don’t want to scare you off.
Have there ever been any big sellers that you just couldn’t get into? Even ones that you really wish you could? Hopefully I’m not the only one to occasionally run into this frustrating obstacle. And if you have read this book, please let me know your thoughts! If you liked it then perhaps your encouragement will re-inspire me to continue!
Purchase Here: A Discovery of Witches
Meet Deborah Harness!
My life has been a series of left turns that nevertheless took me in the right direction (though it didn’t always seem so at the time). I went to college to be a theater major and ended up studying the Renaissance. I went to grad school to become a college administrator and loved to teach so much I became a college professor instead. I thought I wanted to be a Tudor-Stuart historian, and found myself a historian of science. I started blogging because a friend needed help on a project in 2006 and am still blogging about wine today. I started writing a novel in the fall of 2008, and it became a New York Times Bestseller in February 2011: A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES.