The saving grace of this book is that Deborah Harkness is a legit historian which she researched a lot especially about science especially Darwinism and genetics that made the some of the info dumps within this book tolerable. I tolerate this book enough that I was interested enough to read the continuation (which is why I read this book in the first place) but as far as the book goes, this book superbly and example of how good someone’s writing was, even as a first novel, it failed in many ways of storytelling and characterizations that made the book painfully predictable and the series painfully overrated.
First of all, it was unnecessarily too long. I have the physical hardback copy of this book and it was thick, the size of my head and the font was the size of a regular paperback which means its a nearly 100k words book for a book mainly filled with fillers with a story I can safely concise everything in 100 words. It was a torture to go through the first 200 pages and I only like the scene where Diana and Mathew went to his lab where they talk about genetics and origins of species and the book did improve over 200 pages mark. Normally, that was half the length of an average book and also the DNF benchmark for most readers and also the sign that despite all credibility as a non-fiction writer, this book should have undergo extensive editing as any book normally do and seriously, for a fairly new novel written in 2011, does anyone never discuss with the author about this book being a Twilight fanfiction being superimpose over a fairly good worldbuilding about a mysterious book? I like a story about old books and history but I wish I could surgically cut out the trope characters for another readable and hopefully original characters.
A Discovery of Witches is about the story of a lot of people talking to each other because it is written in first POV of the character Diana who basically is a very very special snowflake who was lucky enough to be born into two very powerful wizarding families and possess unnatural superwitch powers which she unknowingly and subconsciously using it when she found a missing alchemical manuscript which was hidden for centuries in Oxford library. Since she was the only one who can access the hidden manuscript, she was being targeted by every kind of supernatural creature who thinks the manuscript was the solution to everything in the world about them. So, she went to the most approachable and still creepy supernatural character which turns out to be a millennial and half old vegetarian vampire as her overprotective super-stalker-bodyguard who have many more brooding issue condensed in his long centuries of living. Plus, he have an unhealthy obsession with Diana’s apparent overexpression of adrenaline which made her smell wonderful for vampires alike. Of course, both of them conveniently fall in love although relationships between different supernaturals are frowned upon by some pact between the supernaturals millennial ago by this covenant of supernatural. To avoid more supernaturals trying to harm her, Diana and Matthew had to travel all the way to his fortress in France where she met with Matthew’s family and learn more about the man himself and his vampiric nature.
The book was intriguing and sometimes well-written but it still have a problem of expressing itself intelligently through Diana who in a lot of way, partially Mary Sue and partially the ultimate character the author fantasized herself to be – a superpowered gorgeous blue eyed blonde goddess historian. When I say superpower, I really mean Mary Sue with omni-level god powers that its unbelievable. Also near the end of the book I was reminded of Kerstin Gier’s Ruby Red trilogy and it gets even more predictable in that way