Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
2012, Viking Adult
Series: Book 2 of All Souls

Synopsis: 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.

Why read: Requested from NetGalley

What impressed me: While I wasn't a huge fan of Diana and Matthew experiencing the past, I so totally loved the time they spent with his family as well as Diana's time learning alchemy. Her attempts to find a witchcraft tutor in a time when witchcraft was punishable by death was also interesting. Matthew and Diana continue to be fascinating together, making me extremely excited to read the final book in this series.

What disappointed me: So much time spent in the past almost ruined the book for me. This is a long book, something I didn't mind at all with A Discovery of Witches. The difference is that that book was sent present day, with the history coming from Diana's research. Now Diana and Matthew and living (or reliving) the history themselves which means many more details that weren't absolutely necessary to the story. This could be a bonus to some readers, but I truly enjoyed their lives in the present. And having no knowledge of or interest in Marlow, Raleigh, Chapman, Harriot or any others associated with the School of Night made those interacts dull for me.

Recommended: Absolutely. Nothing could live up to the epicness of A Discovery of Witches but Shadow of Night does a damn good job trying.

Continue series: Most definitely. Now that Matthew and Diana are back in present day, I can barely contain my excitement for the series finale.

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