When historian Diana Bishop opens a bewitched alchemical manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library it represents an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordinary life. Though descended from a long line of witches, she is determined to remain untouched by her family’s legacy. She banishes the manuscript to the stacks, but Diana finds it impossible to hold the world of magic at bay any longer.
For witches are not the only otherworldly creatures living alongside humans. There are also creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires who become interested in the witch’s discovery. They believe that the manuscript contains important clues about the past and the future, and want to know how Diana Bishop has been able to get her hands on the elusive volume.
Chief among the creatures who gather around Diana is vampire Matthew Clairmont, a geneticist with a passion for Darwin. Together, Diana and Matthew embark on a journey to understand the manuscript’s secrets. But the relationship that develops between the ages-old vampire and the spellbound witch threatens to unravel the fragile peace that has long existed between creatures and humans—and will certainly transform Diana’s world as well.
Thank to you the wonderful people at Headline Publishing who provided me with a copy of this book and its sequel via Bookbridgr.
The novel has by many been called the ‘new-generation Twilight’. I personally don’t think it’s fair to compare either of these books together because where Twilight was YA; this is definitely targeted towards adults. The book itself is long and honestly speaking I was intimidated by the size. However once you get into the story, the length of the book is suddenly no longer an issue.
The novel focuses on Diana Bishop, whom we know from the blurb comes from a long line of witches but has kept her magic a secret since the death of her parents. She is part of a race that makes up ¼ of the world’s population. The other races being humans, vampires and daemons. Up until now all four races have seemingly been living peacefully amongst each other however Diana’s decisions soon change that. Her meeting and eventually falling for the hero, Matthew Clairmont (a vampire) sets of a chain of events that has them turning their back on everything and everyone they believed in and embarking on a journey where they fight to retain the peace that once existed.
Initially, it took me a while to get into the story. The pace of the story is quite slow and therefore I found myself skipping pages quite early on in the book. Diana’s meeting with Matthew was the turning point for me and from then on I felt the book picked up its pace and the story began to grow. Deborah does a good job of interweaving different twists and turns that keep you engaged throughout the book. As well as that, I felt that the writing flowed smoothly from page to page, making the overall reading experience more enjoyable.
My favourite character in the book was the protagonist, Diana. Diana is just so endearing that it becomes quite easy to like her. Her intelligence, her simplicity and subtle beauty is what draws the reader (and Matthew) in and I can gladly say that she is a much better protagonist than Bella Swan. Matthew is a gentleman through and through. Again as he’s as intelligent as Diana and both make a perfect match.
As I’ve said, I wouldn’t label this a book for Twilight fans because it’s so much more. There aren’t any angry werewolves who have six packs, no damsels in distress or sparkling vampires. This is a much more sophisticated romance with magic, manuscripts and mayhem. Honestly, for me it was a step further than the Twilight series and I enjoyed it so much that I’m halfway through the second book and eagerly awaiting the release of the third book (which just so happens to be today)!
Fans of supernatural romance books will love this book as much as I did. If you’re put off by the length then don’t fret, the story will immerse you in such a way that you’ll have reached the ending feeling disappointed that it’s over so soon. Deborah Harkness has done an exceptional job with this novel and from what I’ve read so far, with the second too! Don’t forget to pick a copy, it’s well worth it!
Overall Rating: 8/10
If you’ve read Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night, the third and final book in the trilogy – The Book of Life, releases today!! Don’t forget to pick up your copy.