Sunday, August 5, 2012

REVIEW: A Discovery of Witches and The Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Star Rating: 4.5/5
Genre: Supernatural Fantasy/Time Travel
Audience: Adult, Young Adult

Summary: In two sweeping novels that range in setting from modern-day Oxford to Elizabethan England, Deborah Harkness tells the story of the lovers Matthew and Diana, a vampire and witch who are breaking every taboo to be together.  It all begins when Diana calls up the alchemical treatise "Ashmole 782".  Unbeknownst to Diana, this manuscript has not been seen in hundreds of years and is said to hold the key to the origins of the three races; witches, vampires and daemons.  Subsequently, Diana simply sends it back to the Bodlien Library's stacks.  With this one act, Diana suddenly finds herself the object of a race against time, at the center of a powerful magic, and in a struggle for her very life and that of the vampire she loves. 

Lucinda's Views:   I have a confession to make, I have a guilty pleasure.  I love a good supernatural love story/fantasy, so I eagerly grabbed A Discovery of Witches when it first came out.  Then I heard that the sequel was arriving, so I got out my handy Nook and reread A Discovery of Witches.  It was as absorbing a book as it had been during the first read.  Diana's tenaciousness and true strength of character draws the reader in and holds them in thrall until the last page.  Matthew is the quintessential vampire hero, strong, protective, and a little bit of an enigma.  As seen in Shadow of Night, Matthew has been a hidden player throughout much of our modern era, including being a member of the School of Night.  (An organization founded by Sir Walter Raleigh during Elizabeth I's reign.  It consisted of some of the most gifted minds of the day.)  Anyone who loves the combination of history and fantasy will enjoy this aspect of the novels.  These book are well-written, interesting, and will hold a fascination for any reader who picks them up.  I can't wait for the third novel in the trilogy to be published!

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