Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness, book two in her All Souls Trilogy, is now out in hardcover! I’ve included my synopsis of book one, A Discovery of Witches, in this review of book two. Please note that if you haven’t read book one then there is a mild spoiler about the ending of A Discovery of Witches in this review. It is one that is hard to avoid when talking about both books.
Dr. Diana Bishop, a Yale educated Historian, is at Oxford’s Bodleian Library when she accidentally sets off a flurry of other-worldly activity. Diana is a witch, orphaned at the age of seven when her two very powerful witch parents were murdered. She is much more interested in scholarly pursuits instead of her own witch power and while recalling a centuries old alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, she accidentally discovers it’s enchanted.
All of a sudden Diana has attracted all sorts of attention – from witches, daemons and vampires. In particular, the very handsome alpha vampire Matthew de Clairmont takes an interest in her. But Diana is nothing if not independent, and resists Matthew’s charms. But it turns out Matthew is pretty irresistible and before you know it they are interested in each other. But vampires and witches don’t usually mix romantically (to prevent the discovery of the species to unsuspecting humans) but their relationship, and the fact that Diana has unknowingly conjured the bewitched text, gets them in a whole lot of trouble. Before they know it they are in a wild goose chase that puts all of the Bishop and de Clairmont families at risk.
Book two titled Shadow of Night picks up where book one left off, with Diana and Matthew leaping through time and ending up in Elizabethan London. Their goal is to find a witch who will help Diana develop her witch powers and search for the lost Ashmole 782. Matthew is also reunited with old friends who encompass the mysterious group the School of Night, which includes Christopher Marlowe and Sir Walter Raleigh. But will their time travel bring them any closer to finding the magical manuscript or will living in the past change the future forever?
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness is an excellent sequel to A Discovery of Witches. This fantasy series is definitely written for adults who enjoy more mature characters then the ones found in most YA fantasy novels. I’ll be the first to admit that I enjoyed reading Twilight for what it was – a cheesy teen romance with some action thrown in. Shadow of Night is a much more complex novel, with less of the cheesy factor and a much deeper storyline.
Harkness is a professor of history at a University and recently wrote the scholarly book The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution, so you can easily tell that she knows her subject matter. I enjoyed reading about the characters in entire different setting (and time period) in the second book and appreciate the research the author must have had to do to make the story authentic.
In the end, I thought that Shadow of Night was a great read and now cannot wait until book three is released! Thanks Viking for sending this book my way!
Viking has sent me a hardcover copy of Shadow of Night (along with some Shadow of Night themed buttons and tattoos) to giveaway to one lucky winner (US or Canadian residents only – no P.O. Boxes please)! All you need to do is leave a comment on this post (with a valid e-mail address) by 12 noon on SUNDAY, July 22nd and I will randomly pick one winner and will e-mail them directly.
For an additional chance, tweet this giveaway: Stop by @SWrittenWord 4 a chance to win SHADOW OF NIGHT by @DebHarkness @VikingBooks http://tinyurl.com/7njhsu5 #giveaway