I discovered the TV show, A Discovery of Witches, through a Facebook ad. From the preview it looked like it might be a ‘Twilight’ for adults and I’m a huge sucker for Matthew Goode so I thought it was totally worth the free week subscription to the channel to watch it.
I was hooked one episode in. So hooked, in fact, that I went and bought all three books. The series has already been green lit for seasons two and three. After reading the first book, it’s obvious they are doing a book per season. That was enough to make me happy because it meant they weren’t going to try to shove three books into one season. It also made me happy to see the author is listed as one of the producers.
That being said...it’s time for a review of the book yes? *spoiler alert! If you haven’t finished either the show or the book and don’t want spoilers HALT.*
There are pros and cons to both book and series. I like how the TV series manages to interweave the subplots of the Congregation and other characters. In the book Knox, Juliette, etc. Just show up out of nowhere. It’s a little jarring and hard to take seriously. Knox is supposed to be this big baddie that scared Diana’s parents enough they spellbound her but there’s no build up to him. He just shows up then disappears. Same thing with Juliette and Satu. The show did a better job of making those characters relevant. In general, the book isn’t very good at getting the reader invested in the secondary characters. They appear when it’s necessary to the plot but isn’t very good at giving me a reason to care about them otherwise. The book is written in first person POV so I'm willing to overlook some of this as part of the knowledge scope of Diana but still...there are ways to introduce characters more.
The book, however, did a better job with Diana. The show paints her as (slightly) more useless than she really is. She has some spunk to her in the book that she needs in the show. That being said, she is still pretty useless and I’m hoping in the second book she finds some “grrrr” at least. (I’m about half way into the second book and I’m still waiting for some “grrr”. She’s got potential though).
Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I mean I binged it in like two days. There are aspects of Deborah Harkness’ writing style that bug me, but that may be a personal thing. Her writing feels very clinical at times and spars on details. It’s very “telling” and less with the “showing”. It’s not awful. But there are moments when I wish I could SEE more.
The show does a pretty good job following the books and for the most part I approve of the changes they did make. I’m half way through the second one with the third sitting patiently on my nightstand. I can’t wait for the second season to come out.
This book/tv series managed to fill a book/show hole I didn’t even know I had. It was worth the binge!
What were you thoughts? TV better than the book? Did the show slaughter the book and all it stood for?