Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness – Book Review

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
Published by Viking Adult, an imprint of Penguin

This is the second  book in All Souls Trilogy, I previously reviewed the first book, A Discovery of Witches. This review may contain spoilers for previous books in the trilogy.

The present has become far too dangerous for Diana and Matthew. A vampire and a witch are not supposed to be in relationship with one another, and Diana and Matthew’s marriage puts their very lives at risk. With others out looking for them, it would be impossible to find a witch who can help Diana master her long-dormant powers, and her powers must be mastered if the couple and their friends and family are to be safe, and if they are to ever find Ashmole 732.

With so much at stake, staying in the present is not an option. Instead, Diana and Matthew timewalk about to Elizabethan England, stepping into the life that Matthew once lived. For a historian, this seems to be the opportunity of a lifetime – particularly once Diana discovers that Matthew’s circle of friends at the time included the infamous School of Night – but fitting in in the past is more difficult than Diana would have ever thought. Still, being able to see some of the people and events that shaped the Matthew she knows in the present, as well as the possibility of finding Ashmole 732 while still intact and that of learning more about her own abilities, is too great an opportunity for Diana to pass up.

It is no secret that I adored Deborah Harkness’s debut novel, A Discovery of Witches. Shadow of Night picks up exactly where A Discovery of Witches left off and, is perhaps even the better book. Many times, the second book in a series serves more as a connector between the first book and the second than a story worth telling in and of itself. Shadow of Night, however, is a strong story on its own, and does not require the extensive character and world building that A Discovery of Witches had, thus allowing Harkness to jump straight into the story – after all, we were left with a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of A Discovery of Witches. There is a bit less of her vampire/daemon/witch mythology here than there was in the first book, which is mildly disappointing, but only in retrospect. While reading, there is no time to wish for anything more, what with the witch hunts lurking ever present in the background, and meeting Matthew’s father.

The one problem with Shadow of Night? I don’t even know how long I’m going to have to wait for the end of the trilogy.

Highly recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher, via Netgalley.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness – Book Review

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Published by Penguin (Non-Classics) Paperback, an imprint of Penguin

Diana Bishop comes from a family of witches with illustrious lineages, but there are few things she detests more than using magic. Sure, when the washer is threatening to flood the house she might make an exception, but in general she wants to get by in the world on her own merits, not by magic. She is forced to change her attitude, though, when in the course of her research, she accidentally discovers an enchanted and long-lost alchemical manuscript that many in the magical world would kill for. Suddenly, Diana finds herself caught between the witches, daemons, and a handsome vampire named Matthew Clairmont. Now Diana must decide who she can trust and find out if she can control her power, before she is destroyed by forces she does not understand.

Deborah Harkness is a fabulous creator of worlds. Her witch/vampire/daemon mythology is almost instantly engaging, and is spread out enough throughout A Discovery of Witches to keep readers (or me, at least) anxiously reading to figure out the next piece of the puzzle. There is some serious initial shadiness in Diana and Matthew’s relationship that feels a bit Twilightish, but eventually they grow into a greater parity – although there is still some problematic hiding of facts on Matthew’s part that I hope will become less of an issue as the trilogy progresses. I must admit, though, that it adds to the dramatic flair of Harkness’s story to have these things revealed slowly, as Matthew is essentially forced into them.

A Discovery of Witches is an incredibly addictive novel in the vein of The Historian, but with a somewhat faster moving plot, there is even a similar theme of scholarship. I can’t wait for the next book in the series, Shadow of Night. Highly recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: publisher.
*These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2011