A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness {Book Review}

It feels good to be back!

I took another impromptu break from blogging because time wasn’t on my side, and tiredness was.

I’m a little behind on doing book reviews, a few books ahead with my reading challenge and I really need to get a move on if I’m going to complete my challenge for 2021.

A Discovery of Witches is a really long book. I mean, really long. I opted to switch between the paperback and an audio book because the pressure was too real to finish it in time, and there were moments in the book that stirred curiosity to know what was going to happen next. Delaying the outcome wasn’t an option. Although now that I’ve read it, I’m not sure where the drive was coming from.

I’ve read some reviews on the book after finishing it, and a lot of people have suggested watching the TV series as well, but I haven’t gotten around to that just yet. As full as my reading pile is, I’m behind on my series list as well.

I had mixed feelings towards this book; juggling a couple of thoughts against it and seeing where I stood with it when I sat down to write the review.

DISCLAIMER: This review could contain possible spoilers based on my opinions. All opinions and views are my own.

Book review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness #bookreview


Diana Bishop is a historian and a witch who has rejected her powers by the fear of them.

She soon comes across an ancient and powerful manuscript. It’s guarded by a powerful spell, and she manages to break it without realising it.

Not long after every witch, vampire and daemon is after the manuscript, and after Diana. Matthew Clairmont, a very old and wise vampire keeps popping up wherever she goes. While she is wary of him, along with the warnings about him from others, he’s there to protect her and stop the manuscript from falling into the wrong hands.

Diana realises that if she wants to save herself, the ones she holds dear and the manuscript, she needs to accept what have been in her all along: her powers.

Together she and Matthew face the dangers that others inflict on them, and a forbidden romance blooms.

They realise that if they want to win this war, they’ll need to take some drastic measures.

My Opinion: Positive Thoughts

The book had an interesting storyline, all the mysteries about the alchemy manuscript were fun to find out, even though not much information about it was even given. The suspense around the manuscript was intriguing as you just have to know why EVERYONE is after it, I mean, what’s the big mystery?

It was interesting to hear some of the character’s backstories, some very well written while others I was left wondering if it wasn’t just wasted space. They appeared in the story often, but they weren’t that crucial to the story so what was even the point?

There were a couple of plots, mostly sub-plots, going on. They were fairly easy to keep track of, which is always a pleasure when reading.

My Opinion: Negative Thoughts

The length of the book isn’t justified at all to the unfolding story. There were so many backstories, as I’ve mentioned above, so much information that didn’t add any value to the plot.

You’d think that there would be some answers, given the length, but hardly any were revealed, with the plot just stretching into the next super thick instalment of the series.

Then there were the tea and wine debates to sit through. The first two times created the idea that some romance was present, even though it was being repressed, but as these debates continued, I started skipping over them as it basically the same thing over and over again, with no value to the story whatsoever. Does it really matter what has what scent, 20 times over again? Some explanations were lost on me.

Now Diana… I didn’t feel much towards her, even as the story unfolded. She’s stubborn in many ways, doesn’t listen to people with actual advice and experience, gets herself into danger and then retorts when she’s taken on about her behaviour. She came across childish in serious situations, and if her power is as strong as its claimed to be: I think she should continue suppressing it due to her poor decision making skills. As educated as she is, rational thinking isn’t her strongest quality. She keeps claiming independence but has a bad way of show it.

Matthew being described as this super scary vampire with dangerous ways and much experience (from being around for many years) didn’t come across to me as a vampire that should be feared as much as it was explained in the book. I’ve read worse vampire books with scarier vampires (and no, they didn’t sparkle in the sun). Maybe I misunderstood his character but the book focused more on his intellectual side than his scary side, and I wasn’t all that convinced that he’s the meanest guy out there.


I was disappointed in the book. I was actually pretty excited to start it, but as I worked through the pages, that excitement slowly disappeared. The ending was a bit meh, no answers and a new plot starting up. I can’t even call the ending a cliff hanger one as nothing that interesting happened leading up to it to give it that ‘wow‘ moment.

For a forbidden romance as explained in the book, it lacked passion, aggressive passion to show that whatever came their way, wasn’t going to stop them from being together. It felt a little flat reading those pages and wondering when the adrenaline was going to kick in.

I enjoyed the backstories but not all of them were necessary or informative to the story and plot, and removing them could’ve saved a lot of pages. That goes to the tea and wines sessions as well. Yawn, guys.

So in overview, an interesting plot that was diminished by a lot of useless information, lack of strong characters and an ending that would worked better as a beginning (I guess that’s what the next book is for).

My Rating:

The book has a rating of 4 on GoodReads. I gave it a 3. Originally, when I finished the book, I marked it as a 4 on GoodReads but then changed it once the review was done.

I don’t know if I want to reread it. If I do, I’ll only do the audio book next time around. Too much useless information to work through and I’m not going to waste time on that again. I’m not all that keen on looking for the next novel, thanks to way the book was written and especially the ending which didn’t spark the curiosity. If I do come across it at a secondhand bookstore, I’ll give it a try but I don’t have any desire to actually go out and look for the book.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness {Book Review} #bookreview

Have you read A Discovery of Witches?

You can purchase it here.

Do you have a book you want reviewed?
Send me an email: sincerelyyoursannie@gmail.com

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