By: Deborah Harkness
Publisher: Viking Adult
Copyright Date: July 10, 2012
Reason for Reading: to continue the series
Source: my Nook
The Gist: from Deborah Harkness’ website–
Book Two of the All Souls Trilogy plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies and subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night. The mission is to locate a witch to tutor Diana and to find traces of Ashmole 782, but as the net of Matthew’s past tightens around them they embark on a very different journey, one that takes them into heart of the 1,500 year old vampire’s shadowed history and secrets. For Matthew Clairmont, time travel is no simple matter; nor is Diana’s search for the key to understanding her legacy.
Shadow of Night brings us a rich and splendid tapestry of alchemy, magic, and history, taking us through the loop of time to deliver a deepening love story, a tale of blood, passion, and the knotted strands of the past.
My Thoughts: I liked the first book in this trilogy, A Discovery of Witches, but I didn’t love it. Though smartly written, it smacked of Twilight for grown-ups at the time (though I admit with the onset of the 50 Shades trilogy, that might not be a fair comparison) with its over-controlling vampire and epic (TM) love story. In the bonus column, it introduced some great supporting characters and the scientific twist on the genre was most welcome. It still earned a solid ‘B’ from me and I was definitely interested in reading book two.
And I’m so glad I did because Shadow of Night surpassed my expectations. Deborah Harkness does such a great job of evoking Queen Elizabeth’s London. You can tell she’s a historian who really, really, really loves history. She spends a lot of time describing the sights and sounds Diana is experiencing but just enough that you feel like you’re actually there, too. I was so intrigued by Diana’s adventures-journeying with her as her romanticized view of the past received one reality check after another, while marveling at the magic still inherent in each single moment of every day.
The new characters are marvelous, richly drawn, and welcome additions to the already sprawling cast. Best of all, visiting in the past gave greater depth and understanding to my assessment of Matthew’s character. I got why he was the way he was and though I still think he’s a huge control-freak, to quote a popular ad, he’s come a long way, baby. There are still endless possibilities for continual growth, especially when your life-span numbers in the 1000s.
There were a few, minor things that bugged-most notably, the death of a supporting character mentioned almost casually in passing, with no explanation as to when, where, why or how. And though some of our favorites from book one very briefly appeared, I found myself missing them. Not so bad, in the scheme of things, as Diana missed them, too. It was a literary device that worked. And if we didn’t get to visit with old favorites, trust me that there are plenty of new favorites to add to the list. I fell in love with at least three new characters and in deep like with a few others. And once again, a lot of the science zoomed right the hell over my head.
At 592 pages, this is a long book but compulsively readable and worth the time.
The Bottom Line: Eagerly anticipating the final book in the trilogy. I love being excited about new books!!