A Discover of Witches is the first book of the “All Souls Trilogy.” The second book should be out later this year. I noticed it displayed on the “Staff’s Picks” table at a local bookstore and then discovered that my wife had a copy on her e-reader, so I decided to give it a read.
Overall, I enjoyed the book, although there were a couple things I found annoying, so I should probably get those out of the way first. To me, the whole I’m-in-love-with-a-vampire genre is really getting played out. At times, it felt like I was reading from the Twilight saga. Also, there were some cliches in the writing that made me cringe. Those criticisms aside, there were some aspects of the book that worked really well for me.
Probably the strongest aspect of the book is the way Harkness describes locations. She did this exceptionally well and I had no problem envisioning the settings, especially Oxford. Since I am such a bibliophile, I savored every sentence describing the university library. The other locations in the story were described with equally vivid detail.
Another thing the writer did that I found interesting was switching narrative voice from first person to third person (although the majority of the book was written in first person). It provided a level of depth to the story that would have been difficult to achieve without changing narratives. Anyway, this is not an easy thing to do as a writer, but she did it and did it well.
Finally, I enjoyed all the references to other books, writers, historical figures and events, and so forth. It left me thinking about other books that I need to read and reminiscing about books Id’ read years ago that I hadn’t thought about for a long time.
Without giving away the ending, I will say that the book ends at the perfect spot to set up for the next book in the series. I’m thinking I will read the next book. A Discovery of Witches, despite its couple flaws, was certainly engaging enough to make me want to find out what happens to the characters, and really, that’s the test of whether a book is good or not. If you find yourself invested in the story and curious about what becomes of the characters, then it is a book worth reading.