Blurgh. I really wanted to enjoy A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness but I did not. It has some very good moments but overall it felt like a slog to the end. Here is a story wherein witches and vampires and daemons (pronounced like demon, that has always bothered me that there are two spellings that sound the same and Latin is probably to blame but there you go) are real and they all hate each other and it still manages to drag in places.
There is a sense that every once in awhile the author pauses and catches us all up with the story. She is an academic so it would make sense that she would do that since academic writing is like that on purpose. Also, the story is complicated. It begins with a book called Ashmole 782 and a witch who calls it up from a library at Oxford. All hell breaks loose after that. Sort of. There is time spent stopping to go to yoga. And drink wine and eat a couple meals in professor’s rooms at Oxford. Highly detailed meals. And witches are chasing her, threatening to disembowel her. The tone doesn’t always fit. There are lots of pauses like this. They go to a castle in France then all the action sort of pauses. They go to a farmhouse in rural New York state. More pausing. There is a witch that is burned to a crisp at one point but then there’s a weird pause after that.
Maybe I am too impatient. It is truly a hybrid of a novel. Action, adventure, history, yoga, lots of talking and info dumps. I am going to read the second book. There are three books, it’s a trilogy. People love it. There is even a wiki for it, All Souls Trilogy Wiki.
So maybe it starts slow. Like first book slow. Full confession here, I have never made it more than halfway through the first book of that Scottish time travel highlander series…what the hell is it called? Hang on, let me go check. Outlander! So maybe this isn’t my genre. But I am going to keep trying because there is some very good writing and characters. I’ll check back in later and let you know how it goes.
Want something steamy and historically interesting? Look no farther than Jeannie Lin.