A Discovery of Witches

I had a past life reading this week.

Oddly enough, I've known and interacted with several psychics (some may say witches!) in my life but I've never had a past life reading. Through chance, or fate, I stumbled upon someone I really connected to and had my first past life regression reading. Honestly, my expectations were low. I imagined being told I was a lowly fisherman in a past life and I'd go, "Huh, I guess that's why I love the ocean." And then I'd move on with my day. My imagination is apparently very specific.

Also, I'll note that I'm basically an agnostic person who connects with different points of spirituality. Past lives are one notion that really resonate so I've always wondered and wanted one of these readings.

All I can say is my reading has stuck with me for days now. When I heard her voice speaking about my past life the only word I can use to describe it would be familiar. Like, oh yeah, that feels like a place I've been. I'm still unpacking it because it's a trip. Maybe I'll share more details later on.

OK OK reading that back it sounds rude. I'm going to build it up and then not share anything about my past life in the 1700's?... I'll share a juicy tidbit. The morning of my reading I was brushing my long [annoying, tangly, fine] hair and thinking about what a pain-in-the-ass it is to maintain. No sooner did I have that thought I countered that I could never cut it. I feel a physical pain in my chest when I think of cutting my hair. I have literal nightmares about it. Such a minor, passing thought.

One detail about my past life was that I had to cut my long hair. I imagine this was emotional for my past-life-self if it was enough to make it into the reading. It gives me chills thinking about it.


For now... and in the spirit of witches...

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

One Word Review: Clever

Mood: Dark academia... Like you've just finished reading Prisoner of Azkaban for the 100th time and it's raining.

A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism.

There's so much to love about this book. It's smart, it's stylish, the love blooms, the heroine is one of my favorites in recent memory. The backdrop of Oxford's Library, the rainy cobblestone, the sleek but very intelligent vampire lead... God damn this book is good. I feel like usually for vampire/witch reads I have to dumb myself down a bit? Don't get me wrong, I fucking love dumbing myself down, I love easy reads. But this one takes a vampire and witch trope and elevates it in a clever and mature way.

Usually with these sorts of books I fall hard for the male lead, however, I may love the female lead even more than I love Matthew. Diana is bookish, loves her research, is always working and reading. She's got poofy hair and is outspoken and curious. I just love her character so much and I want to read more about her. Her love story is secondary to how perceptive she is.

Matthew is a controlling love interest which you either love or hate. Diana has some witchy, lesbian aunts who live in an enchanted house (LOVE)... And there's the mystery aspect of finding manuscripts and deciphering them. It's a long book... Like 800 pages? And a satisfying read. But wait... After you read it there's a show. I will warn you... The lead actress leaves a lot to be desired... BUT she's the weakest actor of the bunch with MATTHEW GOODE as our sexy vampire lead. He's worth it, trust me.

There are 4 books so far in the All Souls series... I haven't read them all yet but will someday. If you're feeling witchy and you're into the dark academia aesthetic, go check them out.