Diana Bishop is a scholar who specializes in the history of science, namely the period of time when science began to supplant magic. She knows a bit more than the average scholar about magic, too, since she’s a witch, descended from a respected line of witches. But since the murders of her magically talented parents when she was seven years old, Diana has decided to ignore her magical background and natural skills and focus solely on life as humans live it. So she spends her time immersed in old manuscripts in libraries, studying alchemy. But one day in Oxford’s Bodleian Library, she comes across an alchemical manuscript that is clearly bewitched, and even though she sends it right back to the stacks after analyzing it, her discovery draws all kinds of creatures to the library and forces her to begin facing her true self.
She soon meets a vampire named Matthew Clairmont, who is one of the creatures who desperately want to see the manuscript Diana found. He tells her she is in grave danger and that he can help her to stay safe. Of course, she has no desire to be “protected” by a vampire, and her aunt warns her to stay clear as well; Sarah reminds her that not only are vampires dangerous, but vampires, daemons and witches aren’t supposed to mix because they’re more likely to attract the attention of humans when they do.
But Matthew is persistent, and he wears down Diana’s resolve. The two fall in love, putting themselves in further danger from powerful and determined creatures. As they try to steer clear of other witches and vampires alike, they eventually find out that much more is going on than they had realized.
A Discovery of Witches weaves history, science, magic and folklore into one complex, very satisfying story. It’s hard to put down, but so much is going on that I didn’t want to rush through to the end; I wanted to savor each bit and make sure I didn’t miss anything. The only drawback to this engaging novel is that it’s the first in a trilogy, which means I must now wait another year to read more.
Rated: Moderate. There is some mild and occasionally moderate language. There are a few scenes of sexuality; one is just a little too detailed to be rated mild. The book also has some mild violence.