Thursday 27 February 2014

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


It began with A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES. Historian Diana Bishop, descended from a line of powerful witches, and long-lived vampire Matthew Clairmont have broken the laws dividing creatures. When Diana discovered a significant alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, she sparked a struggle in which she became bound to Matthew. Now the fragile coexistence of witches, daemons, vampires and humans is dangerously threatened.
Seeking safety, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to London, 1590. But they soon realise that the past may not provide a haven. Reclaiming his former identity as poet and spy for Queen Elizabeth, the vampire falls back in with a group of radicals known as the School of Night. Many are unruly daemons, the creative minds of the age, including playwright Christopher Marlowe and mathematician Thomas Harriot. Together Matthew and Diana scour Tudor London for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782, and search for the witch who will teach Diana how to control her remarkable powers... Fall under the spell of Diana and Matthew once more in this stunning, richly imagined, epic tale.


Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2)Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second book in the All Souls Trilogy. I loved it!

Diana Bishop is a fantastic character. She is a very powerful witch, but having been magic bound as a child, she is unable to control her magic. However, after finding a missing alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, all manner of creatures start to come out of the woodwork, and danger is not far behind. I loved this character from the beginning. She is quite headstrong and determined to unravel the mystery of the manuscript, but she is also unskilled as a witch and requires help.

Matthew Clairmont is another fantastic character. He is a geneticist, who also happens to be a vampire. He is an enigmatic person, but as the story progressed, I got to see more of this character's temperament and some of his layers were stripped away. He is an extremely complex man, and has many layers yet undiscovered. I have loved getting to know him better.

I got this book in audio format, because I had previously listened to A Discovery of Witches whilst doing household chores and fell in love with it. This book is narrated by the same person, and this helped me get back into the story pretty quickly. Jennifer Ikeda does a fantastic job bringing the book and characters to life. Her narration was clear, precise and exciting! I loved the way she gave each character their own accent and personality.

This story see's Diana and Matthew travelling back in time to the year 1590. I am not exactly a huge history buff, but I am interested in some history. Therefore, having a chance to peek into the lives of those living in Elizabethan England, even if fictionalized and not completely true, was very exciting. I could tell that the author had done a lot of research, but may have embellished a few facts and fictionalized a few for dramatic effect. Nevertheless, her descriptions brought the past to life wonderfully.
Matthew is known in this time as Matthew Roydon. His life during this time was full of intrigue and danger. Why he thought Diana would be safe in this time frame is a slight mystery to me, but I can understand some of his reasoning. There were a fair few witches during this time, so it should be easy to find one to help Diana. However, this is a dangerous time for witches, and finding one powerful enough, and brave enough, to help proves harder than first thought.
There are a lot of characters that pepper this book. I loved meeting all them; from Queen Elizabeth to the famous men of the "School of Night", Goody Allsop and even Jack and Annie. Father Hubbard is a rather creepy and dangerous vampire. I certainly wouldn't want to meet him! The one character that I liked meeting above all was Matthew's father, Phillipe. He is an imposing figure with a forceful personality. However, under that gruff exterior is a sensitive man who loves his son very much. I loved his slightly puritanical outlook, but his generosity in accepting Diana into his family floored me.
Though this book is told mostly through Diana's point of view, there are a few flashes back (or is that forward?) into the present, which shows what is happening whilst Diana and Matthew are away.
There are a lot of twists and turns in this story, along with a few surprises, that kept me hooked! I cannot wait to get the final book in the trilogy as soon as possible! However, I will be sad too, because I have grown to love these characters, and will miss them once the story is finished.

Deborah Harkness has written a fantastic sequel. She has created a world where humans, witches, daemons and vampires all live in an uneasy alliance. I love her writing style, which is fast paced and exciting, and the story flowed beautifully! She has found another fan of her work in me.

I highly recommend this book if you love your stories to be full of witches, daemons and vampires, or if you love paranormal romance or urban fantasy genres. - Lynn Worton


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