I will start by saying, I have NEVER read Twilight and NEVER will so I can't compare the two like many other reviewers. Vampires should be scary and dangerous creatures and while they are not exactly that in this book they are certainly not as romanticised as in most and how dangerous they are comes up in the story a few times.
Anyone who knows me will know that I hate romance novels, I just don't enjoy reading them at all. A Discovery of Witches has a little mild romance in it but not too much and it works very well within the story. I'm also pleased to say there wasn't any cliche vampire sex scenes in this one at all! This is 600 pages thick so it's a big read which I didn't realise when I started it, usually the only 600 pagers I find myself reading are fantasy books.
Now onto the story and trying not to give spoilers of course. I actually enjoyed this one, it's not my usual reading material but I found myself invested in the story. It seemed a little slow to start with but this is a big book and the first in a trilogy so there was a lot of stage setting and getting to know the main character.
The more I read the better the book became, the history, witchcraft, myths, science and alchemy seems to have been very well researched and I enjoyed reading about it a great deal. The ancient texts and books, descriptions of Illustrations and talk of grimoires, spells and magic are every book lovers dream. The story is actually kind of a mix of witchcraft, vampire, daemon, history, science, alchemy and a bit of dan brownish mystery that involves an ancient book, which I won't say too much about in the review for the sake of spoilers.
Yes it does have the odd corny romantic comment and the main character doesn't always make the smartest decisions considering she's so well educated, but mix it all in with the story itself and it works.
I must say though my favourite part of the book was the Bishop house and it's inhabitants, it has such character and who wouldn't love to live in such a mysterious place with all the history and ghosts and of course attitude.
I picked this one up originally because there aren't many books with witchcraft out there that don't immediately scream chick lit or vampire/shifter romance. I wasn't disappointed it turned out to be a great read.
Thanks to the publishers I also have book 2 put aside to start in the near future to read and review, with how this one ends there is no way I would be able to resist the next in the series. I just have to know what happens.