Matthew and Diana just want to cuddle but their haters won’t let them: A review for A Discovery of Witches

By now, you must have noticed an influx of vampire novels I’ve been reading and reviewing, and that is because I had the genius idea to read as many as I can. My study is both fun but also informative. I want to trace some common themes in vampire literature.

It can get a little exhausting, so I  slipped in Deborah’s Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches onto my tbr for extra credit points. 

If you haven’t read or watched the hit series based on a Discovery of Witches, I will quickly summarize the first novel.

Summary: 

Diana Bishop’s a professor at Oxford researching Alchemy when she accidentally summons a spelled book, Ashmole 782, from the stacks, believing that Ashmole contains the secrets to their species every vampire, witch, and daemon stalks Diana awaiting her to summon it again.

But colleague, Matthew Clermont takes it upon himself to shield Diana from all the supernatural creatures lurking around Oxford. This causes unease among both the vampire and witches, believing the two have forsaken their own kind.

As things heat up between Matthew and Diana, the supernatural congregation decides to intervene in their relationship as dictated by an ancient convent that states supernatural creatures can not date or reproduce with each other.

But there’s something deeper between Matthew and Diana that will test the rules of their very existence. 

“I’ve fallen in love with you.”

“You can’t have,” he said numbly. The room was utterly silent, except for the crackling of the fire. “It’s too soon.”

Deborah Harkness 283

Thoughts:

This novel is a supernatural fantasy aimed towards adults. The mood and tone of this story is very similar to Twilight so I had some high hopes that this novel would be more enjoyable for me. And for the most part it was but the book was way too long. Which was fine if you’re a fan of small side plots (yoga classes, wine tasting, and cute dates between Matthew and Diana), but I was not.

Additionally, the novel focuses on Matthew and Diane all the time. Which got boring for me. I think they’re a great couple, but there are more fascinating creatures in this world that I wanted to explore. For example, Satu gets a fantastic introduction in the show! But the book spends little time with her.

Additionally, in the tv adaption of this novel, they take time to flesh out the other characters who become essential to Diana and Matthew’s journey.

The most important characters that the book fails to build upon are Sophie and Nataniel, who when juxtaposed with Matthew and Diana, turn out to be very important. And their child even more so! 

Sophie and Nataniel briefly appear in the last 100 pages of the novel, and all the characters just accept them into their family even though they never met. Which is weird. At least give them a coffee date with Diana or Matthew in Oxford or something.

“I’ve loved you longer than that-since the moment you used magic to take a book from its shelf at the Bodleian. You looked so relieved, and then so terribly guilty.”

Deborah Harkness 334

Lastly, the romance happens very fast. Matthew and Diana are swept up in their feelings for each other very quickly. This is great for readers who enjoy the instant romance, but I felt the characters lacked some chemistry by getting together so quickly. 

Did I mention I loved the show’s adaptation? 

I think the television adaption is amazing, and I recommend checking it out if you lack the patience to read this thick book. Season 2 is out now, and you can binge both seasons on Shudder. I took advantage of my free time and the Shudder trial and would absolutely recommend it.

Content warning: character death, murder, mentions of past violent parental death, also Matthew’s sister was a plantation/slave owner and horrible person, torture, some sexual content.

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Until next time I’ll be reading five novels at once,

Gaby

One thought on “Matthew and Diana just want to cuddle but their haters won’t let them: A review for A Discovery of Witches

  1. Hmm, yeah, it seems a shame to create such a fascinating-sounding world and then just focus on two characters. Good to know the show is better in that respect. I’ve been curious about it, and now I’m thinking I should start with the show.

    Like

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