A Discovery of Witches

She is a witch interested in ignoring her witchy powers and blending in with humans. He is a centuries-old vampire (ever met a decades old vampire hero in fiction?) who finds himself strangely attracted to her. Together they break all sorts of rules just by keeping company with each other, let alone all those lusty intentions that neither one can bring him/herself to articulate. The world of this novel is populated with four types of creatures: humans, vampires, witches, and demons (who happen to be mostly innocuous, mostly genius, creative types). The species all appear to be distinct and Harkness demonstrates admirable knowledge of evolution and genetics in giving the reader a scientific explanation for her creatures as well. The story is mainly romance and adventure with stolen caresses, family secrets, hidden powers, sudden danger, and all the requisite elements of a supernatural romantic thriller, with an overlarge dose of everyday family routine mixed in—it appears that even vampires and witches have annoying relatives and odd houseguests in Harkness’ world.  What makes the book work, though, is the layers of information and secrets that are slowly revealed as the characters, Diana the witch and Matthew the vampire, grow closer throughout this first installment of a planned trilogy.  What ultimately did not work for me was the slow courtship dance of the characters and the build toward a sexual encounter that does not exactly happen.  Sure the characters find ways to be intimate as their relationship grows, but vampires can apparently hold off on consummation for longer than readers can sustain their interest in discovering what witches and vampires can do.  Or perhaps the writer is hoping readers will tune in to the next volume just to find out if Diana and Matthew will finally do the deed (not to belittle what enjoyment they take in each other in the first volume!).  As I neared the end of the book, I was certain that I would not bother picking up the second book in the series, but Harkness surprised me with a very intriguing twist so I think I will tune in for the next installment!  I’m always a sucker (pun definitely intended) for good vampire fiction and Harkness has included all the appropriate elements: a dark and mysterious vampire, an easy to identify with strong female lead, plenty of intimate conversations over glasses of wine, and a forbidden love.  Think Rice-light or adult-Potteresque.

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