Sunday, August 12, 2012

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2) by Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2) ~ Deborah Harkness

This is an adult paranormal romance novel (Rated NC-17)

4 out of 5 stars

Book Summary

"Together we lifted our feet and stepped into the unknown"—the thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestseller A Discovery of Witches

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.

My Review

I really liked history in school and find myself surprised I don’t read as many historical novels because I do enjoy them.

This novel was a bit different than other historical novels. The author took liberties in taking real life characters from the past and fictionalizing them. I’m not sure how much I liked that especially the ending but I’ll get there.

We travel a lot in the book and meet a host of characters. Some of my favorites are Phillip and then when they visited Prague. I won’t give anything away, but there was one character a bit larger than life that was really interesting.

Let’s get down to business. Plot holes galore for a traditionally published book. Maybe it was a bit too long and the editor just was overwhelmed. Anyway, if you haven’t read please skip to end of spoilers for an overall view of the book.

SPOILERS (sorry, it can’t be helped)

I had a few problems with the story. Still I gave it 4 stars so they aren’t that bad. Okay, you’ll have to forgive my spelling of character’s names as I did listen and not read. I did try to research the author’s website for character’s names and didn’t get what I was looking for. I also looked at other lengthy reviews and got nowhere there either. So here I go.
  •  Matthew has a sister Vern or something like that. Anyway, I found it curious that she called “Isabo”(spelling) her step mother. Phillip sired her. And I guess I’m okay with that. But Matthew was sired by Isabo but he doesn’t call Phillip, stepfather? And it is never really explained why the difference.
  • Here is my biggest problem. Kit. He loves Matthew. Okay fine. When he divulges information about Diana that can get her killed, Matthew kicks him out. I’m okay with that. It was his best friend, it may be hard to kill the guy. Matthew had something really bad happen to him and he find solace with Kit. Okay maybe. He’s doing opium with Kit, hmmm. Kit could take advantage of him. Diana seems okay with it. Whatever, I wouldn’t have been. But when Diana comes home extremely tired with her medical condition, Kit is there. He asked her to leave with him. She left Matthew feigning she was too tired. But she leaves with Kit, the guy who’s tried to being harm to her before. It’s beyond unbelievable even for fiction. I thought Diana going outside from the Isabo’s home in France in the first book after Matthew repeated told her not to was bad. This was far worse. Still Matthew doesn’t kill Kit. Even Diana is risking her life to save Kit who’s tried to kill her twice. Come on.
  • Another big problem. When they return to the present, she can only get to her home in Cambridge. Why not try to travel walk to Isabo once they are in the present? Why are they worried about a car, plane and passport? And why would it conveniently not work for them to get to Isabo from the past. The world building just doesn’t add up. There just wasn’t a credible reason why they didn’t at least try.
  • The whole thing about past Matthew disappearing was fine. But how he was intent on everyone knowing that he had a wife when the past Matthew would come back without a wife bothered me. I thought he’d leave himself a note or something to explain. But no, they stepped all over the past changing things without a care. Again, it didn’t add up.
  • I didn’t like the ending. I have an idea of what the author was trying to do, but honestly, I would have preferred to read more about what happened in the present. I read about theories about Shakespeare taking Marlow’s work. This because when Marlow was introduced, I wanted to read up on the historical figures she was using in her work. I didn’t need that last bit. It was meaningless.

Overall, I thought it was better than the first book mainly because we were doing things instead of sitting in the library learning nothing of consequence. Not sure that we learned a great deal about what’s to come to pass in the next book, but it was entertaining.

Audio Review
Jenniger Ikeda again did a stellar job.  I’ll repeat myself form the last time.  She was amazing at throwing her voice, capturing accents, speaking in other languages.  She made the book bearable when it was slow and swept me away into this world the whole time.

My Book Boyfriend, Matthew. (I’m using a different picture because he was in the past. I’m not a historian so not sure if the costume is quite right, but you get the point.)

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*Disclaimer - I am not the owner of this picture. I found it on the web for causal fun use on my blog for which I receive no compensation. If this picture belongs to you (you are the copyright owner) please let me know and I will remove it.


  1. Sounds like it's much better than the first one which dragged a bit, did you find the Twilight similarities carried on in this one? I'm excited about the travelling thing, with Deborah's descriptions I'm in for a treat :)

  2. Er, Deborah Harkness didn't narrate the audio book. That is the actress Jennifer ikeda, who does do an amazing job.

    1. You are absolutely right. I forgot to change that, but I did now.