Monday, August 6, 2012

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

 5 Star

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.

Kaley - 5 Star

I had been anxiously awaiting Shadow of Night’s release since I finished reading the first book in the All Souls Trilogy back in April 2011. I fell in love with the world author Deborah Harkness created in A Discovery of Witches. It was like the best of Harry Potter and Twilight all rolled into a magnificently huge (ie almost 600 pages) novel. I don’t think I ever questioned whether book two would be able to compare. I was right to trust Harkness as she delivered another spectacular novel.

Almost the entire novel takes place in the 1590s, which I found really interesting. I thought it was pretty neat to see what Harkness thought Christopher Marlowe and Sir Walter Raleigh, among others, were up to. I always like to see what authors think could have happened in historical situations – especially when they have obviously done their research. There are always gaps in history so it’s fun to see how writers fill in the blanks. Like adding in a few vampires and a couple of witches!

This novel is not for the faint of heart. I’m a fast reader but this one slowed even me down – not that this was necessarily a bad thing. I think it took me longer to read because there was so much detail to sort through, both in the historical and descriptive sense. I must admit that I did get a little confused at points because there were so many characters to keep track of. Not to mention trying to remember who was human and who was a creature. Harkness did have a list of all characters but it wasn’t very convenient for me in my ebook format.

All in all, I loved Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness. It continued the fantastical storyline I learned to love in the first book of the All Souls Trilogy and gave me so much more historical background on Diana and Matthew, as well as history in general. I’ll now be counting down the days until the third and final installment is released!

Thank you to Viking for our review copy

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