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A Discovery of Witches    by Deborah Harkness Amazon.com order for
Discovery of Witches
by Deborah Harkness
Order:  USA  Can
Viking, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Looking strictly at the definition, A Discovery of Witches would fall into the Urban Fantasy category, but it really is so much more. Deborah Harkness has penned an amazing piece of literature that should catapult her to the forefront of fantasy authors.

Diana Bishop has been trying to run from her witch heritage since her parents were killed when she was seven. Her aunts, however, did teach her rudimentary magic growing up. Since leaving home, Diana has made a name for herself in the field of alchemy its history, not its practice. Her life, though, is about to change when, while doing some research at Oxford, she calls up a book, Ashmole 782, whose magical binding is so strong that it calls to all three races of supernatural/paranormal beings.

Soon, Oxford is swarming with witches, vampires, and daemons. One vampire in particular, Professor Matthew Clairmont, manages to get past Diana's defenses and helps her realize that she can no longer deny her heritage. After she has touched Ashmole 782, her witchy abilities want out, and she is more powerful than anyone ever imagined. However, powerful or not, there are plenty of creatures out to destroy her, and she finds herself fighting so she does not end up like her parents did.

Harkness has written one powerhouse of a start to what promises to be an excellent trilogy. Her world-building, character development, and storytelling are all flawless. From the first page, she draws the reader in with a mysterious air laden with hidden truths. This mood is kept up throughout, making the hours spent reading (this is not a fast read) mentally stimulating as well as exhilarating.

I cannot recommend A Discovery of Witches highly enough. Deborah Harkness has a sure winner on her hands that makes the reader salivate for the rest of the All Souls trilogy.

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