Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"Shadow of Night" by Deborah Harkness

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

Short Version: Diana & Matthew travel back in time to learn more about her magic and search for the missing manuscript.

Why I Read It: I loved Discovery of Witches so I had to continue on with the series.

The Book: (From Goodreads)
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 Thoughts: I have to admit when I read Discovery of Witches (All Souls Triology #1) I did not know that it was part of a triology. I assumed it was a stand alone book, even when the ending was left pretty open. When I found out there was a book #2 I was so excited. Shadow of Night was very good, but I have to admit I liked Discovery of Witches just a little bit more.

I really enjoyed the historical aspect of this novel. Matthew and Diana travel back to 1590 in search of a witch to help Diana with her magic and to search for the manuscript that holds the secrets of the creation of all creatures - witches, vampires, and daemons. In 1590 Matthew de Clairmont was friends with people such as Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth and more. The way Harkness integrated their lives into the past as well as with the other creatures was very believable and creative. Matthew and Diana grow as characters as they find out more about each other. Matthew reverts back to his former self as he was the first time he lived in 1590, keeping his many secrets to himself. Diana has to learn to fit in to this time period instead of just studying it as a historian from the future. Eventually both characters grow to trust each other and share their secrets as well as blend to the lifestyle. Occasionally there is a chapter from the present about Matthew's family finding pieces that are clues to his and Diana's actions in the past. Paintings of them, letters, and slight changes in history are just a few disturbances to the past that the de Clairmont family find in the future.

One slight disappointment was the magic. In Discovery of Witches, Diana's power is exploding from her as she accepts who she is. With these outbursts she learned just how powerful she may be. In Shadow of Night she goes to the past to find a more powerful witch who can help her understand her magic. But going into the past has changed her powers; they are no longer exploding from her. I felt like it took awhile for her to find a teacher and start to learn about it. I missed the random outbursts of fire, water or glowing when Diana was upset. Eventually Diana and Matthew make progress with her magic as well as with locating the manuscript, Ashmole 782. They realize they are a huge part of life and death, and possibly the creation of creatures. 

I cannot wait for more info about Book 3 (Title and release date are TBD). I'm sure it will be an amazing ending to a wonderful story!

#15 in 2012 Ebook Challenge
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#6 in 2012 Wishlist Challenge
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