Tuesday, 8 February 2011

URBAN FANTASY REVIEW: A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness

Release Date: 03/02/11


An epic, richly inventive, historically sweeping, magical romance. When historian Diana Bishop opens an alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, it's an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordered life. Though Diana is a witch of impeccable lineage, the violent death of her parents while she was still a child convinced her that human fear is more potent than any witchcraft. Now Diana has unwittingly exposed herself to a world she's kept at bay for years; one of powerful witches, creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires. Sensing the significance of Diana's discovery, the creatures gather in Oxford, among them the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, a vampire genticist. Diana is inexplicably drawn to Matthew and, in a shadowy world of half-truths and old enmities, ties herself to him without fully understanding the ancient line they are crossing. As they begin to unlock the secrets of the manuscript and their feelings for each other deepen, so the fragile balance of peace unravels...


Debut novels always have their own magic as the reader has no expectations and thus can be either delighted, horrified or even shocked at either the skill of the author or the fact that they even managed to get the tale published alongside the deep routed fear as to whether it’s worth the punt on an unknown.

What unfurls within Deborah’s fictional debut is a tale of intrigue, of mystery and perhaps most of all, love. Add to this some magical creatures, a good helping of cracking dialogue finished with a whole heap of story arc that’s huge enough to leave many wondering which of the many thread’s that the author will pick up for the next title in the series.

It’s refreshing, it’s taking Urban Fantasy in a whole new direction with supernaturals becoming something new as a whole host of characters descends into the readers imagination. This is going to be a hard to beat debut this year, even though it’s only begun. But perhaps what will really get to the reader is the sheer talent within and with this being Deborah’s first release it’s easy to see what caused the bidding war as well as leaving the reader with sheer wonderment as to not only the authors scope but talent. If the second title continues on this track she will soon become a name to set standards by with the only advice we can give being: Get in early, beat any hype and be there from the first as Harness will be a name chanted up and down the UF isles.


Angela Addams said...

Sounds like one I'd like.

Danielle La Paglia said...

This sounds fantastic! Thanks!