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Throughout the history of literature, readers have been fascinated by the supernatural beings known as vampires, demons, and witches. A Discovery of Witches is no exception to this trend, as magic and the supernatural continue to enthrall readers.
Deborah Harkness’s debut novel is a cross between Interview with a Vampire and the Twilight saga. It is filled with history, romance and magic.
This book has been a runaway success because of the captivating protagonist, Diana, and the myriad of supernatural beings vying for control of an ancient artifact.
After reading A Discovery of Witches, you might be looking for more books in the same vein. Here are some suggestions.
Books like A Discovery of Witches
Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse 1), by Charlaine Harris
A discussion of A Discovery of Witches wouldn’t be complete without a nod to the classic horror novel Dead Until Dark. While many people are familiar with Sookie Stackhouse from the True Blood television series based on the novels, the books are where it all began.
Sookie lives in Bon Temps, Louisiana, a small town. Vampires have been out in the open for some time now, along with a few other supernatural beings (such as werewolves). Racism and other forms of bigotry are issues, but Sookie doesn’t seem to give a damn about any of it.
As a result, Sookie finds herself drawn to a dark brooding vampire named Bill Compton. Is it a good idea to date a vampire?
Fans of A Discovery of Witches will delight in Dead Until Dark, which wears its heart on its sleeve.
The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde
The Eyre Affair appears to be very different from A Discovery of Witches on the surface, but that doesn’t mean you should disregard it. Many books like A Discovery of Witches play with the supernatural and science fiction, combining them in novel ways.
The year is 1985 in The Eyre Affair. It’s not uncommon to see time travel and cloning, and literature is taken very seriously. Acheron Hades is the third most wanted man in the world, and Thursday Next, a literary detective with SpecOps, is on the case.
It’s Thursday’s job to save Jane Eyre from Hades, who has stolen the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit, killing a minor character in the process. Although Thursday’s world is full of comic absurdity, the story and characters are top-notch. This is a fantastic read.
The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker
A Discovery of Witches fans will delight in this magical tale, which I first encountered in 2013, not long after it was published.
Chava is a clay golem that a disgraced rabbi, using dark Kabbalistic magic, has brought to life. On their journey from Poland to New York in 1899, a man named Chava dies of a heart attack. Since his birth in the Syrian desert, Ahmad has spent his entire life imprisoned in an old flask, until he was finally released in New York City.
With no one to guide them, Chava and Ahmad are left to fend for themselves in a strange land. Readers should read The Golem and the Jinni as soon as possible. Anyone who enjoys the supernatural should read this story, which is both melodic and wistful, sad, and magical.
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, by Gregory Maguire
Gregory Maguire’s 1995 novel Wicked is better known as the stage musical, which is itself a brilliant creation, but few theatergoers are aware that it is based on the musical.
It is through Wicked that we meet Elphaba, a descendant of the Eminent Thropps of Munchkinland.
She may look like an ordinary young lady, but Elphaba, with her green skin, sharp teeth, and feral demeanor, is anything but. As a result of her fear of water and the severe pain it causes her, Elphaba is shunned by most people. However, there is more to this young woman than meets the eye.
The use of fantasy in books like A Discovery of Witches often serves as a lens through which to consider and analyze current events and social issues. Wicked is a work of satire and a meditation on racial bias. All of these topics and more are sensitively addressed in Oz.
Elphaba is one of my all-time favorite fictional characters. She embodies traits that anyone can identify with: she’s bright and caring, she’s tough and magical, she’s vulnerable and relatable. You want Elphaba to win the competition. When you’re rooting for her, you realize that true villains don’t wear pointy hats or ride on broomsticks.
Practical Magic, by Alice Hoffman
Like A Discovery of Witches, there are books like this one that focus on the things that matter most to us. Practical Magic, Alice Hoffman’s best-selling novel, explores the complexities of love, life, and death.
For being witches, Sally and Gillian Owens are shunned by their classmates and many residents of their small Massachusetts town. They’re both trying to escape the perception that their families are to blame for the town’s ills.
Sally abandons everything after her husband’s death in order to raise her daughters in a place free of gossip. As soon as Gillian shows up at Sally’s door, it appears as if the magic that she believed she could escape is working overtime to bring her back.
If you’re a fan of magic and witches, you’ll enjoy this book, which is very different from the 1998 film adaptation.
The Magicians, by Lev Grossman
The Magicians is a fast-paced and engrossing tale of real-world magicians practicing their craft in the real world.
Quentin Coldwater, a high school senior with an impressive surname, is an intelligent but depressed student. Despite his age, he still reads fantasy novels and fantasizes about the possibility of magic. When Quentin is admitted to a secret and highly exclusive magic college in swanky upstate New York, it is revealed that magic is real.
College and university activities (drinking, partying, sexual activity, and making new friends) don’t help Quentin feel better about himself. He had no idea that the fantasy world he read about as a child was real and darker than it appeared in the books.
At first glance, books like A Discovery of Witches may appear to be one thing, but as you read further into the story, you may discover something entirely different. A generic magical boarding school fantasy, The Magicians first appears to be before it transforms into something truly remarkable.
Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
For example, in A Discovery of Witches, the main character is trying to hide an increasing power that they are unaware of. Lena Duchannes, the protagonist of Beautiful Creatures, is a young girl trying to come to terms with and keep a curse on her family that dates back several generations.
Ethan Wate, a young man eager to leave the small town of Gatlin, finds himself drawn to Lena as she continues to hide.
Readers’ reactions to Beautiful Creatures have been mixed, as with many books. Some have praised the book for its romance and magic while others have panned it.
As with most books, I believe the best way for a reader to decide is for them to decide for themselves. Like A Discovery of Witches, Beautiful Creatures is a good fit for those who enjoy fantasy.