Reviewed by Jessa L.

On a seemingly ordinary day, Diana Bishop, a scholar at Oxford, requests a manuscript titled Ashmole 782. Coming from a long and distinguished line of witches, she immediately senses that the book is sealed by some type of magic. Diana wants nothing to do with magic, but when she touches the manuscript, she triggers things that cannot be undone.

She skims through the manuscript without too much thought, takes her notes, and sends the book back to the library’s storage section. Yet, the simple fact that the manuscript has suddenly appeared after years of hiding triggers a complex series of events. All of a sudden, a mundane town of few magical creatures is crowded with witches, vampires, and daemons. They all want the manuscript and will do anything to get their hands on it.

Matthew Clairmont, an intriguing and handsome vampire, is the first person to arrive on the scene. He is one of many that wants the manuscript, yet there is more to it than that. He finds himself constantly running into Diana and having an urge to keep her close and protected. Diana is wary of Matthew as witches, vampires, and daemons are not supposed to be interacting, let alone developing complex relationships, yet she is not the only one finding it hard to keep her distance.

An intriguing combination of history, magic, romance, and adventure, A Discovery of Witches is quite the novel. The characters are amazingly interesting and complex, and their travels take them from England to Scotland, to France, and even New York. The novel takes us thru time from as far back as the Crusades, Knights of Templar, and the American Revolution. The characters have their own intricate backgrounds and yet are woven together in perfect harmony.

Deborah Harkness is not only obviously quite intelligent, she has great skills as a storyteller of passion, obsession, magic, alchemy, and science. A Discovery of Witches is deliciously enchanting.

A Discovery of Witches is the first book in the All Souls Trilogy and I, for one, can’t wait for the next installment. Unfortunately we will all be waiting until sometime in 2012. This is one of those books that kept me spellbound and waiting in anticipation for what would be on the next page – I couldn’t possibly put it down! Turns out I was left with a cliffhanger that makes me rather impatient for the second book to arrive.

Rating: 5/5

Jessa lives in Utah with her husband, 2 sons, 2 cats, and 2 dogs. She goes to school full time as an english major with a focus in creative writing. She likes anime and reads books and plays video games in her moments of spare time.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Viking/Penguin. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.