REVIEW: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

First book in the All Souls Trilogy, A Discovery of Witches is a paranormal romance settled in a modern world that little differs from our own except for the Demons, Witches and Vampires (the supernaturals, if you want) that live in it alongside humans.

WARNING, this book has been rated T for Twilight

Goodreads Synopsis: Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell. 

I don’t know where to start writing this review because there are so many bad things about this book. And believe me, I’m not one who loves saying it.
First of all, this book is underdeveloped and I would also say it wasn’t thought out that much. It seems that someone took one of the drafts and published it instead of going on with the editing (which is a problem of its own).

The idea of this story isn’t bad. Maybe it’s not unheard of, humans living unknowinlgy alongside supernatural creatures who have their own things going on. But one can do a lot with a simple idea, right? Harry Potter is kind of based on the same principle, in the end.
However it seems that the author never went anywhere with that concept and so does the narration. There are huge chunk of text that could’ve easily been left out because they are useless to the the plot, its development and the characters. Plus, they heaviliy slow down the reading process and that’s not something you want in a big book.
This gives a huge kick to cohesion in the whole text, add that for some reason we have 2/3 of the book dedicated to the romance of the two main characters instead than letting the story proceed and here you have it. A feeling of dismay. The sensation that you read nothing for the past hour. Five chapters of nothing.

The romance is another problem of mine. What I hated is that, in some way, the romance stopped the main plot completely. Don’t get me wrong: romance is fine, romantic scenes are fine, but you can’t treat the two things like they’re not happening at the same time. Which is another point agains the development of the story and its cohesion.
The romance is the second most horrifiying thing in here. I’m not a fan of instalove romances. Most of all I’m not a fan of pretended edgy romances where the man is so sad and broody, poor thing, and so do whatever I say because I could get really angry. But that’s only because I’m protective, because I love you.
I wouldn’t define it as abusive, in my opinion it’s just a bad use of a bad trope that glorifies unhealthy dynamics in a relationship. It’s degrading for both the female and the male in it, because makes the former look like a scared doe who can’t do anything alone and the other like some kind of psycho parent who wants you to behave if you don’t want to trigger *bad reaction here* (and this really is abusive, come to think of it).

Last, but not least, the characters are bad and have less depth than a carton-shaped human figure. Diana, the scholar, is supposedly brilliant and intelligent but she comes out as plain stupid and without an inch of mental strength or personal boundaries. Rad Vamp Dude (i can’t recall his name, sorry) comes into her life and she immediately obeys to what he says and is happy to annihilate herself. She doesn’t get mad even when her mother-in-law admits she drugged her without her consent. Rad Vamp Dude tries to be the coolest vampire in town, but he’s too tropey so the mask fell at page two. Sorry.
The only two cool things were Diana’s lesbian aunts (the only two in the book to show a scrap of intelligence and to tell her that RVD treated her more as a thing than a living being) and the cat. Because he a cat.

This book got one star on Goodreads just because no star is not considered a rating. It’s not something I do often, because I try to look at what’s good in a book. Unfortunately, this time there was nothing to be spared. On the brighter side, that doesn’t add to the pile of series I yet have to finish.

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