Title: Shadow of Night
*Series: All Souls Trilogy #2
Author: Deborah Harkness
Publisher: Penguin Books
Run Time: 24 hours and 30 minutes
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Genre: Paranormal / Historical Fiction
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy plenty of history in their historical fiction.
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Deborah Harkness exploded onto the literary scene with her debut novel, A Discovery of Witches, Book One of the magical All Souls Trilogy and an international publishing phenomenon. The novel introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont; together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782.
Now, picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies, subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night that includes Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens.
Deborah Harkness has crafted a gripping journey through a world of alchemy, time travel, and magical discoveries, delivering one of the most hotly anticipated novels of the season.
Oh look, a review! I finished a book! Granted it was an audio book, and it took me over a month to finish, but I finished a book. On to the review.
So despite a few rather dense portions of the first book, A Discovery of Witches ended up garnering 4 stars from me. I was drawn in by the wide cast of characters, and specifically by Diana's vibrant personality. Jennifer Ikeda's narration of that book stole my heart, and I couldn't wait to get to the second book. Which is why I was so surprised at how long it took me to make it through Shadow of Night. Same amazing narrator, yet it was much harder to sink into the story.
This book takes place in the the past, Elizabethan London to be exact. I think that this was the first big nail in the coffin for me. It's not that I don't love this setting. I absolutely do! However the need for Diana to blend in completely squashed everything about her that I loved. Her fire was tampered. Her wit was under wraps. She was an obedient and terrified woman, and nothing more. Worse yet, the relationship between Matthew and Diana that I fell in love with in the first book suffered massively here. The tension between them, Matthew's tendency to act the part of dominant male, and the fact that they wouldn't communicate, all drove me mad. For the entire first half of this story, I was annoyed.
Then, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Without warning, things suddenly became much more interesting. The Diana that I fell in love with started to come to the surface again. She confronted Matthew, and things stopped being so sad. Suddenly there was magic in the world again. Things were vivid, characters were fascinating, and I couldn't stop reading. If only I had known that this was coming, I would have read much quicker. It's sad that the beginning bogged me down so much.
Final verdict? This is definitely a book that suffers from middle book syndrome, in my eyes. It isn't bad, it's just extremely dense. Lots of events need to take place to make sure that things are set up for the future (or present from book one), and so there's not as much attention paid to many of the items I became attached to at the beginning of this series. Do I have high hopes for book three? Absolutely! The ending of this book was perfection, and I can't wait to see what happens next.