by Deborah Harkness
Genres: Paranormal Romance
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.
Shadow of Night is the second book from the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. I could not wait to get back to Diana and Matthew’s story and unlock the secrets of Asmole 782. I am delighted to inform you that Shadow of Night delivered all that I hoped for and more. Harkness brings the past to life as we travel back in time and adds new depth to the characters that I adore. I literally consumed this and cannot wait for the final novel. If I had to sum up my opinion in three words they would be; captivating, beautiful and breathtaking.
The tale literally picks up right where Discovery of Witches left off. Diana and Matthew find themselves landing back in Elizabethan London. Diana is thrilled to be able to visit a period she has studied but finds herself woefully unprepared. She quickly realizes that even with her education she is completely out of her element. From her speech to her mannerism it is obvious to all; she isn’t from around here. With the aid of Matthew’s eccentric friends, they will work to assist Diana with these skills, secure a witch to train her and find the lost copy of Asmole 782. The tale that unfolds is absolutely breathtaking, filled with suspense, romance, danger and iconic characters throughout Elizabethan history.
The characters in the All Souls Trilogy are flawed, fleshed out and I absolutely adore them. Diana finds herself out of her element. Her witchcraft is acting all sorts of bonkers. She is living in a time when witches are burned at the stake, the clothes are barbaric and women have no rights. In this novel we get to see tremendous growth in Diana. Her love and understanding of Matthew grows. She becomes more confident in her own skin and continues to be loyal, fearless and stubborn. I loved watching her discover her talents as a witch. This provides both funny and frightening scenes as her inability to control them creates mayhem. Then of course there is Matthew *swoons*. In this novel we learn so much about him and what has molded the modern day version. His history is both fascinating and sad. We get to see a darker side of Matthew as he confronts his past. He loves Diana but things are holding him back. I loved discovering his inner-workings. Diana peeled back his layers, bringing them closer together. The soft, tender side of Matthew was beautiful. There are a few flash forwards to present time and the characters we love. This provides insight into how Matthew and Diana are changing the future. We spend most of the novel in the years 1590 and 1591. This affords us the opportunity to witness history, attend the queen, and meet many historical characters. Harkness did a fantastic job of weaving them in the tale and giving them voice. I adored getting to know Gallowglass and Matthew’s father. The Queen and other characters gave me the chills and I feared for Diana.
Harkness has an incredible gift for world-building. She brought the Elizabethan era to life. Her interpretation of the queen, the atmosphere, and the smells of London lifted the tale right from the pages and I become completely immersed. It is immediately evident that a tremendous amount of research went into writing this novel. I was delighted by the historical accuracy and believability. From the buildings, merchants and furnishing, Harkness’s imagery was enthralling. The characters she introduced were fleshed-out, and my feelings toward them reflected that. Shadow of Night held my attention and kept me up late two evening in a row, but it was worth every sleep-deprived minute. Harkness spun twists and turns into the plot that completely captivating me. We travel all over Europe and I loved all the little details. The fear of discovery and the atmosphere of the times, especially towards witches made this tale very suspenseful. The romance between Diana and Matthew was genuine and beautifully portrayed. There was coupling and it was done beautifully. Even the most delicate reader won’t be offended. Watching their growth as a couple kept me spellbound. Together they share loss, love, fear, jealousy and a binding that will last forever. I found myself completely invested in their story. While I am once again drooling for the next book, it is also bittersweet for me. The knowledge that its publishing will bring this tale to an end is a sad one. I am not yet ready to let go of Matthew and Diana. While it did not end on a huge cliffhanger you are left knowing things are developing and this tale is far from over.
I recommend Shadow of Night and the entire All Souls Trilogy to everyone! It has elements that will appeal to a large audience; history, witchcraft, vampires, daemons, time-travel and romance. For my YA fans, if you loved Grave Mercy and Harry Potter you will enjoy this trilogy. Deborah Harkness is on my auto-buy list and I look forward to book three which is not yet titled. I will bring you news as I receive it.
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