Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Book Review on "The Discovery of Witches"

Confession time!!! I have never written a formal book review before and I don't read very many of them either, so I have absolutely no idea how a typical book review should read in regards to format and what basics to cover. But, since reading is one of my favorite things, I am happy to share my opinion of the books I find "review worthy" with my captive audience!

I just finished reading The Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I read it on my 3M library app and today it told me that I had "less than a day left" on my check out. That was quite the motivation to finish the last few chapters, since I had no idea how much time "less than a day left" meant. Did I have 15 hours left? 2 hours left? Luckily, I finished and was able to check the book back in with time to spare.

 Please keep in mind that my purpose for writing thisreview is to simply share my opinion of what I liked and did not like about the book. My purpose is not to offend anyone.Thanks!

The Discovery of Witches is the first book in a trilogy. It is a mythical story filled with witches, vampires, and daemons. These creatures live among humans and usually only associate with their own kind: witches with other witches, vampires with other vampires, etc. It is set in modern day time and they live among humans and do their best to not draw attention to themselves, somewhat like the way muggles and witches/wizards live in Harry Potter.
The story focuses on an intelligent, athletic witch that tries to pretend magic is not a part of her life, and a wealthy, smart vampire that has lived longer than imaginable. There is a romantic story line between the two of them and they find themselves being attacked by the witches and vampires that consider themselves "in charge."

There are many other story lines within the book besides the romance. The plot line is well thought out. There is a lot of mystery from the very beginning and the end of the book has left me wanting to find out what happens next. This is a fun read. It isn't too dark or scary or gruesome, although there is some violence and death.

There were a few things in the book that bothered me a little. First of all, the witch did have a bit too much of the weak, damsel in distress thing going on, despite being a smart, powerful witch. She also, in my mind, came across as being very unkempt with wild hair and a poor wardrobe, yet she still gets this incredibly attractive vampire to fall for her. Not really sure I buy into that. I don't want the main character to come across as a super model, but why not have her care just a little bit about her appearance? Especially since she is a professional, succesful woman, there is no reason for her to be frumpy. Also, she ate a ton in the book. She was constantly eating and having seconds or thirds... It was just a bit much. I don't care what the characters in the book are eating for lunch.
The sexual content in the book was no more telling than a Nicholas Sparks novel. There was just one "love" scene, but it was really long and drawn out. It was so long that it became awkward. It wasn't super graphic, but it gave enough detail to let the imagination fill in the blanks.

A couple other points, just FYI's for those that may care:
There were several gay/lesbian characters. There are no sexual scenes between these characters.
The language in the book is very clean. It took me 3 weeks to read it, so I can't speak with absolute certainty, but there was maybe 1 or 2 "bad" words, if that. Nothing sticks in my memory as offending me in the language department.

Overall, I would recommend the book to someone who enjoyed Twilight or Harry Potter. It is fun to compare the characteristics of the "creatures" from one book to another, such as the difference between the vampires in Twilight versus the vampires in The Discovery of Witches. Deborah Harkness did a great job building a mythical world within the human world. She explains the attributes of her witches and vampires very well, while leaving some gray areas in the description of daemons (perhaps to be resolved in the next books).
If you decide to read The Discovery of Witches,  be sure to let me know what you thought of the book!

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