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[[ Read E-pub ]] ð A Discovery of Witches ⚞ Deep in the stacks of Oxford s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries and she is the only creature who can break its spell. Balancing the Load young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches Most Likely To... Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery so after a furtive glance and a few notes Blind (Lorelei Bluffs Book 3) she banishes the book to the stacks But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring The Counterfeiter-Catching Cat (Beatrice Young Cat Mystery and a horde of daemons Gordo & the Gringo witches Selendang Pelangi and vampires soon descends upon the library Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries and she is the only creature who can break its spell. HOLY FREAKING CRAP I just finished this book last night, and I was blown away by it This is easily going to be the best book that I will read this year, and is going in my top 10 list of best fiction books of all time Excellent fiction is not always easy to come by I don t mind mediocre reads from time to time, but it is SO GREAT to be totally stunned by an indescribably excellent book every once in awhile For one thing, this book is so well written The author has a beautiful way with words, and her descriptions are eloquent and lovely There was a seamless flow to this book that was exquisite Nothing was choppy or out of place the rhythm, pacing, and phrases used flowed so effortlessly that I was never distracted by the writing or the language as sometimes happens in fiction Because of this, I was able to get completely lost in this world and boy was I Spellbound is the only proper way to describe it Also, the characters were strong and interesting Knowing that this is the first in what is supposed to be a trilogy, you get a good base understanding of the main and supporting characters with the full knowledge that a deeper relationship with them will come as the story continues to unfold I have read a few reviews that say the beginning of this book is boring I did not find it so I was instantly mesmerized and drawn in I knew that the author was setting the stage for all that was to come, and while it may seem slow at first, you will be very grateful as you continue in the book Once I got into the thick of things, I was grateful to have waded through the beginning, as it gave me a strong foundation for all of the character developments and plot twists that arose throughout the story.MY ONLY COMPLAINT Now I have to wait for the next book However will I do that I tend to get very emotionally involved with books and characters that I love I already miss spending time with these characters and I am desperate to continue living in their magical world Dear Ms Harkness, I am under your spell, please put me out of my misery and publish the next installment soon June 30, 2018 UPDATE Since I first read this book and posted the above review, I have read the book 23 times I literally NEVER get tired of it September 24, 2018 UPDATE Finished my 24th re read. Upon sighting this book in a soon to be closed Borders store, I was intrigued The blurb sounded interesting and the first couple of pages seemed competently written Despite the huge discount, I hesitated, and instead checked the book out from the library.And am I ever glad that I didn t actually buy it.The book started out promising Protagonist Diana Bishop, distinguished history scholar and professor just like the author uh oh , repressed witch, tea aficionado, rower and yoga enthusiast, accidentally calls forth a magical text that every witch, vampire, and daemon in the world seems to want Unfortunately, Diana has a major chip on her shoulder about her own magic She sends the text back to the stacks where once again, no one can find it This doesn t sit well with with her fellow magical beings, and they begin a 24 7 stalkfest in hopes that she will retrieve the manuscript again Early adopter stalker, vampire Matthew Clairmont, proves particularly troublesome Diana is extremely wary of Matthew, and rightfully so he follows her everywhere and even breaks into her apartment and watches her sleep.Then they decide to team up and soon fall in love, at which point all semblance of plot disappears and the novel turns into an endless tangent about Diana s newly developed Stockholm Syndrome and how she must be protected from all the other dangerous stalkers At first, I thought that this book was going to be an intelligent Twilight for grown ups the main character wasn t helpless, thought for herself, didn t immediately adore her bloodsucking, murderous stalker or find his abusive behavior endearing, and didn t seem interested in losing her entire identity to the first good looking guy who wanted to eat her A rebuttal of Twilight, almost But no Despite Diana s increasing Mary Sue ishness as she develops every witch ability ever known, she must constantly be rescued and protected by Edward, er, Matthew Matthew, meanwhile, is a complete jackass Trotting out the obnoxious pack mentality trope so often used in paranormal romance a genre that really, really needs to be marked better so that those of us looking for urban fantasy won t be blindsided every damn time , Matthew is neatly absolved from all responsibility for his sexist insistence that Diana obey him as her husband and for his volatile, potentially murderous temper if and when she doesn t comply The past seemed gray and cold without Matthew And the future promised to be much interesting with him in it No matter how brief our courtship, I certainly felt bound to him And, given vampires pack behavior, it wasn t going to be possible to swap obedience for something progressive, whether he called me wife or not.Apparently, this is just fine and dandy with Diana despite her previous proclamations of female independence and autonomy And oh yeah, Matthew unilaterally married her without even notifying her, and that was fine too I have a theory that a lot of the current, noxious crop of vampire themed romance is a symptom of a cultural backlash against feminism Once you strip away the paranormal aspect of novels like A Discovery of Witches and its stunted and even vile cousin Twilight , you are left with stories about abusive, manipulative men who systematically isolate and dominate the female objects of their obsession The women s identities are subsumed into the men s as the women s lives come to revolve completely around the men, while the men suffer no such mutilation of self they simply gain an empty, mindlessly adoring, woman shaped appendage, which is all that is left of the women by the end of the stories Without the trappings of vampire and or werewolf hierarchy always patriarchal, of course , what you re left with is an authorial boys will be boys with an underlying message that submission to the patriarchal hierarchy is necessary both to achieve happiness and to avoid violence at the hands of the vampires werewolves abusive boyfriends husbands who just can t help it Even putting aside the issue of the horrible, horrible underlying message in this book, it still has nothing much to offer Pages and pages are devoted to describing stilted, romantic conversations that fall flat, how Diana exercises, what she eats, what wine they drink, how long she sleeps, what s in her tea, how great their yoga class was, bla bla bla ad infinitum A little detail here and there is flavor, too much is encyclopedic and boring Most of the action takes place off screen while Diana sleeps, or waits, or sleeps and waits Diana goes from being subject to object almost the very moment that she decides that Matthew, despite being a deadly creature who has been stalking her, might not be so bad after all, and takes little action for the rest of the book except to travel back and forth from Matthew s vampire mother s castle yes, really in France which she comes to think of as her home alarmingly quickly and her aunt s magical house in England America New England , which apparently isn t special enough for her any A whole lot of nothing happens, then Diana gets kidnapped and tortured but is of course rescued by Matthew A whole lot nothing happens Then almost at the end, some new characters show up who seem like they should have been important to the story but are introduced way too late Among them is Sophie, a pregnant daemon who was born from witches and is pregnant with a witch baby Sophie is pregnant, and she will be having a baby, which the author reminds the reader of in nearly every sentence involving Sophie, who is pregnant Watch her rub her belly with pregnant serenity or is it smugness I can t tell She is pregnant Then Diana uses her ungodly overpowered witchy time travel magic to whisk herself and Matthew into the past, because witches used to be powerful and she needs powerful witches than currently exist anywhere in the world to teach her reach the full potential of the Mary Sue In fairness, I must admit that I loved the aunts magical house, which was almost its own character Unfortunately, the house was the only part of the book that I didn t feel was 1 endless, unnecessary detail or 2 lifted almost wholesale out of other works.While the author is clearly a competent writer, her storytelling needs a lot of polishing Honest, heavy editing could possibly have worked wonders on this book instead, it got hype and marketing To me, it makes the book all the disappointing to see that there was potential, that it wasn t a disaster from the start It almost felt like the book was cut open and artificially inflated with the dull, problematic romance, which it may well have been I didn t know this book was supposed to be part of a trilogy, since it is only marked as such on the bottom of the front inside jacket cover underneath library tape I can t imagine wanting to read any further, though In short yawn and barf Now please excuse me while I go write a boring ode to stalkers and Stockholm Syndrome thinly disguised as a vampire novel thinly disguised as a book about witches If you need me, you can find me laughing all the way to the bank. This is an odd book Now that I have finished reading it, I m not sure why I was so enad of it With so much discussion of spells and enchantment, I wouldn t be surprised if the book put a spell on me Despite overall enjoying the book, there are still lots of things about it that irritated me First, the author needed a better editor I am finding often that books surrounded by a certain amount of hype are not well edited I don t know if the editors think that every word the author writes is gold or if editors are timid, but in either case they aren t doing their job Much of this book could have chopped out and the story tightened up There are too many extraneous details that weigh down the plot and what exactly the plot is is also a good question I think the author, in order to differentiate her witch vampire supernatural book from all the other supernatural books on the shelves, threw in everything, including the kitchen sink, into her novel It s exhausting stumbling around the pages trying to figure out what the plot is I m going to try not being too specific because even though nothing really happens in this novel really, nothing does , there is information that shouldn t be divulged until you read the novel Harkness has several plot lines going the mysterious Ashmole 782 manuscript, the forbidden love affair between Diana the relunctant witch and Matthew the 1,000 years old vamp, the mysterious death of her parents, the possible extinction of the supernatural beings, the Congregation wanting to know the extent of Diana s power, tracing Diana s DNA, and the threat of a witch vamp war It s all a little crazy This book is some kind of pseudo science, pseudo historical novel what with all the science and history The excessive alchemical details get annoying, as does the DNA discussions and you d better know what mtDNA is because I don t think the book does a good job explaining it Luckily, I knew However, unlike the alchemy stuff which I don t see the point of , at least the DNA information is related to the plot s of the book The romance is fairly interesting and intense at first, but it quickly peters out into some of kind of tame, boring, lovey dovey PG rated sappy mess It s not that I need pornographic details, but the author kept telling me how much they loved each other and how intense their passion was, but I never really felt it Matthew, as a scary vampire, is a huge disappointment to me I m sorry,but you cannot have this vampire doing yoga and talking DNA with new age geeky precision and then have me believe that he is all that scary Nope, just doesn t work Diana is also a disappointment She s extremely annoying She talks about how she wants to be a strong, independent woman, but in reality she is the wimpiest, most annoying witch ever She won t use her witchy powers which, to give the author some credit, I understand why she had this attitude , but when it comes time for her to protect herself, she wimps out, cowers, faints, and in rushes Matthew to save her AGAIN Give me a break The book is basically just a description of food, wine, her stretchy black pants and all the places Matthew took her to keep her hidden from the Congregation I don t like the term Congregation either Makes me think of church and not a scary group of supernatural beings Apparently this book was compared to the Twilight series, which I think odd because I never saw the connection I have read them all, to my shame What I will compare this book to is the Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse series Those books are far superior to this book Sookie is poor little human with just her one skill she can read minds and yet she protects herself quite well, rarely needs her supernatural friends to come to her rescue, and has several times saved her vampire boyfriends Plus, she does it all with a sense of humor Diana, who apparently has every witchy powerever known, plus some that aren t, can barely twinkle her nose to make magical tea Another point of irritation with me are all the characters who need their backstories told I don t really need to know or want to know everything about these characters If they are going to stick around for awhile, tell me their stories later or create a glossary and stick them at the back of the book The flow of the novel is stopped over and over again to tell me something not all that interesting about a minor character My last point is about this ridiculous Knights of Lazarus organization I find this organization absolutely unbelievable and incomprehensible I m not giving away any plot secrets by mentioning this because I still can t figure out what the author meant by creating this order of do gooder vamps who have helped people in need over the centuries It s so ridiculous Whenever it was brought up, I tried to skim over it, hoping it would disappear The haunted Bishop house, the house as a character, was entertaining I did enjoy that detail Overall though, now that I ve written this review, I m trying to figure out what exactly I DID like about the book This book basically sets up the next two books in the trilogy I will probably read the second book but I doubt I will buy it I think Harkness, just as with Justin Cronin of The Passage, saw an opportunity to make some money on the current and lasting way too long vampire, witch, supernatural creatures popular literature fad However,Harkness has taken vampires and turned them into wine loving, gentle, kind creatures who wear business suits or lab coats, have tons of money, and are really kind of boring. okay, so the good things I liked the world mythology etc, and was amused by the Anne Rice reference And I also liked the subtle pro gay marriage message It could have actually been a lot of fun except for the romance part, which went like this SPOILERS Diana I am exceptionally good at being a historian of science, and I even have a job at Yale I am also a witch, but I don t use my powers Much.Gosh this mysterious manuscript sure is mysterious Matthew I AM TALL I WENT THROUGH YOUR PAPERS AND THEN CAME TO YOUR HOUSE AND WATCHED YOU SLEEP.ALSO, I M AN ANCIENT VAMPIRE.Diana Um, okay Matthew SAY WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO SOME VAMPIRE YOGA WITH ME THAT IS NOT A EUPHEMISM, BY THE WAY.Diana I guess so I could do that after I go rowing and then run several miles.Matthew I HAVE A LOT OF USEFUL INFORMATION THAT I M NOT GOING TO TELL YOU ALSO, YOU SMELL AMAZING I CAN BARELY CONTROL MYSELF WHEN YOU RE AROUND.Diana Oh well, I m sure it s fine.Matthew I FORBID YOU TO DO VARIOUS THINGS.ALSO, YOUR LIFE IS IN DANGER SO WE RE GOING TO VISIT MY MOM IN FRANCE DID I MENTION I M FRENCH Diana Hey, for serious you can t just tell me what to do all the time.Matthew I AM COLDLY FURIOUS.ALSO, IT MAKES ME SAD WHEN YOU DISOBEY ME AND I HATE BEING SAD.YOU KNOW WHAT, I WAS SAD ONCE A THOUSAND YEARS AGO AND THEN I KILLED A BUNCH OF PEOPLE AND THEN IT HAPPENED THIS OTHER TIME AND I KILLED MY LOVER, JUST SO YOU KNOW.Diana Oh, right Silly me So wilful Anyway, should we have sex now Matthew WHAT WHY WOULD WE DO THAT Matthew OH BY THE WAY THIS IS MY HOUSEKEEPER SHE IS ALSO AN ANCIENT VAMPIRE, BUT FOR SOME REASON I GUESS SHE LIKES KEEPING HOUSE.Housekeeper Oh hi, here is some herbal tea Make sure to drink it every day, and DON T MAKE ANY MISTAKES WHEN YOU BREW IT Um, because it might taste bad, not that it s having any effect on you without your knowledge OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT.Diana Gosh, thanks Everyone is so nice here Matthew YOUR EYES ARE LIKE STARLIGHT NOWDiana I love you Matthew HANG ON, I NEED TO GO BACK TO ENGLAND FOR SOMETHING.Matthew I AM BACK FROM ENGLAND I LOVE YOU Diana I feel our souls are as one These few short weeks have shown me that you are my one true love Matthew OH HEY DID I MENTION, YOU KNOW THAT TIME I KISSED YOU IN FRONT OF MY MOM WELL THAT MEANS WE RE MARRIED.Diana Actually you did not mention that But does this mean we can have sex Matthew HAHAHAHA DON T BE SILLY Matthew OH AND ANOTHER THING, THERE IS THIS COMPACT OR SOMETHING THAT SAYS WITCHES AND VAMPIRES CANNOT MARRY SO THERE ARE A BUNCH MORE PEOPLE TRYING TO KILL US Diana WhatMatthew OH YEAH TOTALLY BUT DON T WORRY BECAUSE IT TURNS OUT YOU ARE THE MOST MAGICAL OF ALL THE WITCHES Diana Yeah except my powers are all repressed, anyway I m just going to go outside for a second and I m sure I won t get kidnapped and tortured or anything.Matthew I WILL KILL EVERYONE AND SUMMON THE SECRET BROTHERHOOD OF ANCIENT SECRET KNIGHTS Matthew s mom and housekeeper Wow, calm down.Matthew OKAY I WILL JUST KILL THIS ONE LADY THEN.Diana Yay, I learned to fly I 3 you Matthew I am so lucky to be your bride Let s go visit my aunt in America Did I tell you I m from America Anyway, let s have some sex Woo Matthew I DON T KNOW WHAT YOU RE TALKING ABOUT.Aunt Why are you drinking contraceptive tea Diana I have no idea Not because of all the sex I m having, that s for sure.Matthew WHAT I WILL KILL YOU, HOUSEKEEPER Diana Never mind, we have to go to the past and do something about that mysterious manuscript Did I mention I loooove you Matthew SPEAKING OF WHICH, CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE WAS TOTALLY IN LOVE WITH ME WE SHOULD GO SAY HI.Diana I see So is that why we can t have sex Matthew WHAT NO IT S BECAUSE OF THE PURITY AND SPECIALNESS Matthew ALSO, HAVE I MENTIONED HOW YOU HAVE ALLLLL OF THE WITCH POWERS YOU ARE THE BEST WITCH OF ALL TIME Diana I love you THE END