I read. I read. I read.
A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness I finished A Discovery of Witches and was immediately ready to reread. What started out as a bit of wordy jibber-jabber quickly turned into an engrossing, (mostly) fast-paced, smart tale of a historian whose biggest problem is the history of her own life.Summing up nearly 600 pages of prose is a tough one. Told largely from Diana Bishop’s point of view, this story unfolds a century’s long tale of the history of witches, vampires, and daemons. She’s spent her life avoiding her witch powers by entrenching herself deeply into scholarly endeavors. When she uncovers a sacred – and long-time missing – alchemy text in an Oxford library, she opens her life up to the world she’s been avoiding.It’s in the library that we first meet Matthew Clairmont. Matthew’s one of them there vampires we’ve all been reading so much about. At first, I feared that we’d be given another Edward Cullen. My love for Edward is far-reaching but he belongs in the Twilight Saga. Although a few Cullenisms appear in this book – unearthly beauty, snazzy dresser, bossy-pants – thankfully we get a fully-characterized, adult vampire with a sharp wit and well-deserved global stature.The story takes off once we get Matthew and Diana occupying the same space. All sorts of trouble ensues and Diana’s life is on the line because of secrets she isn’t even aware she’s keeping. One of the strengths of the plot is that it barrels along largely unencumbered by the author’s tendency to over describe things. At times enjoyable and at times annoying, the author’s non-fiction background shows through with in-depth descriptions of reference texts, wines, food, clothing, and geographical locations. I alternated between being hungry (this vampire doesn’t eat cheap) and being bored although the boredom was short-lived.Another enjoyable aspect of this novel was the use of secondary and even tertiary characters. Diana’s aunts play an integral part throughout the book even though we don’t meet them face-to-face until the middle-half of the story. Matthew’s vampire kinfolk, most notably his mother, are entertaining and necessary. I grew to be very fond of the staunch Ysabeau and understood her attitudes and motivations. Although some may find it annoying, I got a kick out of the history, chemistry, and mythology lessons scattered across these pages. I found myself googling cities, wines, and historical figures more than once. There’s a bit of a campy feel to a few parts of this book. Vampire-witch-daemon yoga classes?! Thankfully, the author’s skill at storytelling and use of humor smoothes those moments out. I was surprised at how many times I chuckled while reading this largely serious story. I appreciated the levity when it was presented.Although we’re given witches, vampires, and daemons mixed with humans, some of the major plots in the book apply to the real-world of the reader. Without hitting us over the head, the author delivers a thought-provoking analogy on who can love whom in our world. The end of the book comes too soon. I’d love to be able to move right into the second novel in this trilogy but must wait until next summer. I’m eager to read it but not ready to smack anyone over a huge cliffhanger. Give this one a go and I don’t think you’ll regret it.