A friend on Facebook recommended A Discovery of Witches. I can’t remember what the context was, but somehow she suggested that I might like it. Maybe because it was becoming a TV show and wanted us to read it before it changed? Anyway,she was right: I did like it.
This book reminded me of Twilight by Stephenie Meyer in that I devoured the book quickly; it was a page-turner. Witches, vampires, deamons, alchemy, ghosts, and more. It was entertaining and fun, which is why it reminded me of Twilight. But what I enjoyed most about this book is a book about books: Diana, a witch and historian, is researching alchemy in an Oxford library. Throughout the novel, books and libraries are key props and locations. Who doesn’t love reading a book about loving books?!
Throughout the novel, Diana is being hunts by all kinds of creatures because she had access to a long-lost manuscript that describes the history of creatures: witches, vampires, etc. So as a war starts to boil over who should have the book and how to get it back from the library stacks (it is charmed and only Diana can recall it), she meets a handsome vampire who helps her survive and plan for a better future. What if every human and creature just got along? What is vampires and witches could be friends, even become family? Although a bit of a cliche topic, it’s true: what would happen is we just all got along?
This week at work we were talking about starting a GSA which is exciting and asks that same question: what if we made space for everyone to get along and see each other as human. Labels can be helpful, but also dangerous. I think of those who identify as pansexual and they must just shake their heads at the effort and time people put into creating definitions and lines between genders. I wonder: will we ever get to a point where gender and labels don’t matter? What would that freedom look like?
Overall, I enjoyed Deborah Harkness’ book A Discovery of Witches because it was a fun story of a different world. The beginning had me hooked, I enjoyed the middle, but was left a bit disappointed because the last third of the book points toward a series and ended requiring readers to take on the next book. I thought that was too bad, but I completely understand that Harkness has built up her own world and it’s a great idea and a great world, and I’m sure that the next book will be exciting and interesting and full of exciting history, but I won’t be picking it up anytime soon. I’ll have to wait for the TV show to come out!