Thursday, 24 January 2013

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

"But this manuscript put my belief in the alchemists' logic to the test. Each illustration had a least one fundamental flaw, and there was no accompanying text to help make sense of it."

My father glanced at me as I sat engrossed and this book and queried my fascination with the topic of witches as suitable reading material. "Escapism" was my excuse, but truly I love it when a writer can take the ingrained subject matter of paranormal romance and transform it into something both delightful and captivating. This book fits within those parameters.

Reasons why it is so appealing? Firstly, it makes being scholarly sexy - which certainly can't be a bad thing. Secondly it is about the power of books and reading - more brownie points from this reader. The characters are well fleshed out, they aren't sparkly teenagers, they have jobs and their supernatural adventures require excuses to account for their absences. There is a recognition of the real world and its interplay with this fantasy world that makes it so much more engaging.

The author can write! This doesn't feel churned out or formulaic. It is enticing and leads you on a merry dance. There is no compulsion to dive into the romantic portion without establishing a broader story and context that makes you generally interested in what will happen between the characters. Give me Matthew Clairmont any day over that clap trap idiot in the 50 shades of rubbish book. Oh, was that too harsh (never!!).

A book about magic, should be magical and that is how this feels. I think I'm hooked as I now need the next in the series and a hankering for fine red wine. 5 out of 5.

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