Flora Reviews… Today I’m sharing my thoughts about Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2) by Deborah Harkness.
Read: 9th – 15th August 2015
My Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
…So what’s this book about?
This is the middle book in the All Souls Trilogy. The blurb on Ms Harkness’ own website says:
A Discovery of Witches 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. Drawn to one another despite longstanding taboos, and in pursuit of Diana’s spellbound powers, the two embark upon a time-walking journey.
Book Two of the All Souls Trilogy plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies and subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night. The mission is to locate a witch to tutor Diana and to find traces of Ashmole 782, but as the net of Matthew’s past tightens around them they embark on a very different journey, one that takes them into heart of the 1,500 year old vampire’s shadowed history and secrets. For Matthew Clairmont, time travel is no simple matter; nor is Diana’s search for the key to understanding her legacy.
Shadow of Night brings us a rich and splendid tapestry of alchemy, magic, and history, taking us through the loop of time to deliver a deepening love story, a tale of blood, passion, and the knotted strands of the past.
Funnily enough, although this book is the middle part of a trilogy, I don’t think that you have to read “A Discovery of Witches” to enjoy this one. I read them over 14 months apart and could remember very little detail from before. ;-) Relevant information is always recapped when necessary throughout the book. However, as with any series that involves the same characters, existing readers may feel a more in depth connection and experience a deeper understanding.
…So, what did I like about it?
When reading Ms Harkness’ novels, you can tell that she is a highly intelligent academic with a great passion for history and science. However, the way that she transforms those hard facts into an engaging tale just confirms what a wordsmith and literary alchemist she is in her own right.
All of the characters in this book, both fictional and historical, came alive for me. The depth of realism she wrote into them and although you know the outcome of some of the events in this Elizabethan epic, I still found myself turning the pages, needing to know what happens next. But it’s not all doom and gloom, I did chuckle too. 😉
…So, ummm, was there anything I disliked about it?
Unlike “A Discovery of Witches” (the first book in this trilogy), I don’t feel that “Shadow of Night” can be placed in the contemporary paranormal romance genre. For me, it reads more like an epic historical novel. Once my mindset realised this, I really enjoyed reading it.
Going into this book, you know that as it’s the middle of a trilogy, you’ll be left with more questions than answers and possibly a cliffhanger. Well, without revealing any spoilers (you know I don’t do that in my reviews) I’ll say that you won’t be disappointed. However, you can breathe easy – it’s not a frustrating cliff-hanger. I can safely wait another 14 months before reading the final book “The Book of Life”. 😉
…So, basically what I’m saying is…
I really enjoyed this book. Yes “Book of Shadows” features vampires, witches and daemons. However, it has the same depth of detail, pace of story and tapestry of history woven throughout as Edward Rutherfurd’s epic historical novel “Sarum“. I couldn’t help but get drawn in.
If you are a fan of historical novels, and don’t mind the paranormal twist, then give this book a try.