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

Posted July 2, 2012 by Melissa in Book Review | 13 Comments


Title: Shadow of Night

Author:  Deborah Harkness
Reading level: Adult
Genre:  Paranormal
Size: 592 pages
Release Date: July 10th 2012
Publisher: Viking Adult/Penguin
Stand Alone/Series:  All Souls Trilogy #2
Source: NetGalley & Publisher at BEA

First Line: “We arrived in an undignified heap of witch and vampire.”

Summary (from GoodReads):


“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.

Favorite Quotes:

   He stood, his eyes black and the vein in his temple throbbing.
   “Master Roydon?” Jack sidles closer to Matthew. His chin was trembling. Matthew’s hand shot out and grabbed him by the collar, stoppinghim before he could get too close to me. Jack didn’t flinch. “Are you having a nightmare?”
   Matthew’s hand dropped, releasing the boy. “Yes, Jack. A terrible nightmare.”
   Jack slid his hand into Matthew’s. “I will wait by your side until it passes.” My eyes pricked with tears. It was what Matthew said to him deep in the night, when Jack’s terrors threatened to engulf him.
   Matthew’s hand tightened on Jack’s in silent acknowledgement. The two of them stood–one tall and broad and filled with preternatural health, the other slight and awkward and only now shedding the shadows of neglect. Matthew’s rage began to ebb. ~~pgs 503-504

   “The goddess does not want us to imitate some ideal of perfection, but to be our true selves.”~~pg 540

My Thoughts:

**Spoiler Warning: This review may contain spoilers for both this and the 1st in the series***

Shadow of Night begins right where we left off in A Discovery of Witches.  Diana and Matthew timewalk to Elizabethan England and the story takes off from there. With the help of quite a few new friends including practically every famous person of note from that period Diana works hard to blend into society while at the same time trying to find a witch or witches to help teach her to master her skills so that they can safely return to the present day.

We get to see England, France and even parts of the Holy Roman Empire as well as meet all sorts of historical figures whose various personalities as imbued by Harkness are a delight.  The world building is fantastic. There are tons of secondary and tertiary characters in this series and that is one of the reasons that I adore it.  They are all unique and well fleshed out and lend an epic yet realistic feel to the story.

The hunt for Ashmole 782 continues along with plenty of court intrigue, supernatural disasters, and relationship issues. As Harkness weaves all of these elements together, she excels not only at keeping the reader spellbound with her wonderful prose and historical snippets, but also with the tremendous amount of character development that occurs in this book.  Diana gets to know a whole different side of Matthew as they deal with royal personages, multiple family issues, and most surprisingly and heart warmingly..the young girl and orphan that they take into their home.

As Diana finally learns to better control her talents and even more importantly lets go of some of her fears and inhibitions and starts to accept them as being part of herself she also grows tremendously, opens up  and develops the strength to defend herself when needed. I don’t want to say too much for I feel that I’ve already given too much away…

**End Spoiler Alert**

I doubt that I can express exactly how much I love this series.  This book has something for everyone-Witches, Daemons, Vampires, Romance, Mystery, Intrigue, History, and more-you won’t be disappointed.  Shadow of Night was as good if not better than A Discovery of Witches and I recommend it to…well…everyone!

Was it worth my Time?


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13 responses to “Book Review: Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2) by Deborah Harkness

  1. The reviews that I had read of The Discovery of Witches were so mixed that I decided not to read it, but seeing how much you are enjoying the series I think I might decide to give it a try after all.

  2. Sigh – Matthew Clairmont, one of the fictional characters I’m married to in my imagination. I’m eagerly looking forward to the middle book of the trilogy.

    (Spoiler – look away if you haven’t read the first book!) I wonder if Diana and Matthew’s marriage will be consummated?

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