I bought A Discovery of Witches after perusing a Kindle sale a while ago and the description sounded like a more fantasy based Dan Brown novel; a mysterious manuscript plus witches, vampires and daemons. However, whilst the original premise was pretty interesting the execution was just not so good.
Diana Bishop is a celebrated historian doing summer research at Oxford University, who also happens to be a the daughter of two incredibly powerful witches. Her re-calling of a mysterious manuscript triggers a series of events, including meeting the thousand-year-old vampire Matthew Clairmont; and throws her into the wrath of the Congregation, the supernatural government.
On the positive side, Harkness's creation of the world where humans and supernatural creatures live alongside each other was really interesting-as was the glimpses into the history of supernatural creatures. For the most part I quite liked Diana, who wasn't the damp squib that I was worried she'd be. Plenty of the female side characters; such as Ysbeau-Matthew's mother, Marthe-Matthew's housekeeper and Sarah and Em, Diana's aunts; are all pretty well written.
However; perhaps my main source of irritation with this novel was that my edition was around 586 pages long and *nothing* happened. It simply appeared to be a very long introduction to the world and characters, setting up for the sequel where it would appear is where the action actually takes place. Further, I do have issues with the portrayal of the relationship between Diana and Matthew, which seemed incredibly reminiscent of Edward and Bella. Although Harkness does attempt to explain the protective/controlling aspects of their relationship as being inherent to the vampire psyche, I still found it pretty uncomfortable.
Whilst A Discovery of Witches isn't the worst thing I've ever read, and kept me pretty engaged for a pretty 'blah' plot. However, I don't really care to carry on with the trilogy any time soon.