I initially picked up this story because I had heard glowing recommendations on YouTube and on Goodreads. So many readers were enamoured with the world within that I had to have a peek at a synopsis, the words Bodleian and Oxford had me suckered in straight away, how can I turn away a book set in a library?!
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness follows Diana Bishop, an academic who is currently based at Oxford university, and who requests a manuscript from the Bodleian's stacks which turns out to be an important historical document that the supernatural community have been attempting to get their hands on for centuries. Diana is from magical witch stock and had been attempting to keep her ties to that world hidden, however she is unwittingly drawn into a battle for control over the manuscript and her own life. She is not alone in the adventure however, as she receives the assistance of Oxford's resident vampire Matthew Clairmont, a creature of great power but who keeps a lot of secrets from his new love.
While reading this book I noted that it felt different to read than other books of its genre, it is a debut novel and the author had withheld quite a bit of explanation throughout, presumably because the information is going to be imparted in later novels. While reading I found this frustrating, and not in a way that made me intrigued or sucked in enough to want to keep going, it was simply annoying. The plot often felt like it was moving around too much without enough actually going on, but at other times had me gripped with the action. The main love interest in the story was also strange, the relationship felt both stilted and exaggerated at times, and Diana often didn't read as if she was the age we are told she is.
The book is a bunch of contradictions, but it had potential which did lead me to read the next story, on finishing I wasn't sure I would though!