Book Review: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

I have been waiting for Deborah Harkness’s second novel, Shadow of Night: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy), since the second I put down the first book in this trilogy (A Discovery of Witches).  I read that book from cover to cover in one sitting, and then reread it again.  And then checked it back out of the library a couple weeks later!  It recently popped up a the Nook Daily Find, and I snapped it up for my Nook at a bargain price – talk about making my day!  I was on vacation in the Outer Banks when  my Advanced Reader’s Copy of the newest book arrived.  I could hear it calling to me, all the way from home.  I could not wait to dive into this engrossing story.  Shadow of Night hits shelves today, so you can go pick it up right now!

If you’ve not heard of these books, here is a brief synopsis of Shadow of Night:

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.

This book in no way disappoints!  Harkness has some serious skill as a historian; I am mildly obsessed with all things related to Elizabethan England (and Europe), so her attention to detail was something I found refreshing.  I am always a little nervous that subsequent books in a series will not live up to the debut – this book actually surpasses it!  Matthew and Diana’s love story goes to a whole new level, and is tested in ways neither could have imagined.  The historical characters peppered throughout the book are wonderful additions, and seeing how the Matthew of that era interacts with them is almost like seeing a whole new character.  Harkness expertly crafted a historical world that is honest and real, and won’t allow you to walk away from it.

This book ends with a cliffhanger, as its predecessor did.  I don’t ever like to share spoilers, so I am literally sitting on my hands to keep from sharing too much of the story.  Suffice it to say, if you at all like history, science, art, literature, vampires, and witches, this book should be at the TOP of your list!! (I do recommend that you read Discovery of Witches first – the second book will make more sense them) .

If you’ve read Discovery of Witches, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!  Are you looking forward to Shadow of Night?

Quick Facts:
Hardcover: 592 pages
Publisher: Viking Adult (July 10, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0670023485
ISBN-13: 978-0670023486

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