Book: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Genre: Historical Fantasy

Reviewed by: Cela Sosa

The first installment in the All Souls trilogy follows a young witch, Diana Bishop, who teaches at Oxford University on a crazy journey after she discovers a magic text in the Bodleian Library. As the story unfolds the reader evolves along with the main character and dynamic personalities are seamlessly introduced to the plot. Past, present, and fantastical worlds are traveled yet described so beautifully and distinctly it never becomes confusing. This is one of those books that has a little bit of everything for everyone. Whether you’re a fan of the fantastical or want to get into the Halloween mood without being scared there are plenty of witches, vampires, demons, ghosts, and alchemists. Written by a history professor at the University of South California, the novel is also full of historical and non-fiction references for any readers accustomed to more educational texts and weary of jumping right into the fantasy genre.  A true catch-all book like this one even has a forbidden romance between the main character Diana Bishop, and an all-around charming vampire named Matthew Clairmont. Although romances, especially those involving vampires, have been overdone and cheapened this one is quirky and just enough parts realistic and fairytale-esque to trick even the most cynical of readers into appreciating the relationships arc. No seriously, down to a boyfriends mother who is disapproving and being badgered for not calling her aunts more often there is an admirably human aspect to this fantastical tale. The storyline lends itself to exhilarating plot twists and turns, keeping one on their toes as themes of family, loyalty, right and wrong are explored. Although it is a very heavy narrative with a plethora of different components the uniqueness of the characters and situations allows for well-executed humor and will leave you itching to read the second installment of the trilogy, Shadow of Night.