Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness – Part of the All Souls Trilogy
Things are never the same as the first attempt, but as I have lost my entire review for this book, I shall try again.
I was very eager to get my hands on these books. Of course it was not until I was finished the first book that I found out that it was a Trilogy. There were some mixed feelings when it came to the last book. I was under the impression that it was a full story in one book and was starting to panic when I was nearing the end with so much to happen and so little time. It has many great ideas, but tended to go into too much detail on certain things. My hopes were that this first book would be used as more of a stepping stone to the trilogy. I hoped that while reading books 2 and 3, your memory would serve to answer your questions, instead of an abundance of additional points. It’s nice to get refreshers in the matter of a sentence or two, but not pages. I am pleased to say that despite the fact that the book is of the same size, there was no time to dive deep into the intricacies of DNA, etc. Shadow of Night managed to keep me entertained throughout the entire book without things becoming too tedious. Now without further delay, let us get into the good stuff.
“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.” 1
Diana and Matthew begin where they left off from “A Discovery of Witches,” successfully timewalking back into the late 1500’s. As Matthew is a vampire and has been around for centuries, his future self coming back into the past causes his former self to disappear. Diana, however, is completely new to this time and place and it is obvious she is a stranger. The way she speaks, dresses and her mannerisms are out of line for a woman of this time period, and can be very dangerous. Diana must learn to blend seamlessly into Elizabethan England before they can set out to find a witch to teach Diana magic, and to hunt down the manuscript that started their journey. Diana and Matthew have arrived during the time of witch hunts and the infamous book, Malleus Maleficarum or “Hammer of the Witches.” Any reason for a woman to stand out as odd can be reason enough to try them for being a witch, which ultimately ends in death. As they set out to help their futures, they are directly effecting the past and ripples can be seen in the future. These ripples appear as single chapters peppered throughout the book. The chapters include characters from the present and discoveries that are a result of Diana and Matthews time altering actions. As we venture into the past, we dive deeper into Matthews secrets and dark past, and his many names used along the way. Diana and Matthews relationship grows as they face these secrets, as well as ghosts from both their pasts.
With surrounding ourselves with the past world, we are introduced to a vast amount of new characters. Although there are many, it is not difficult to keep track of them all. And for those who have trouble, there is a character list broken down by parts of the book and the relationship to the main characters. Some historical figures appear as well, such as the Queen of England and Shakespeare. We are able to piece together how some of these characters fit into the future, or which ancestors they are. I have a feeling that we have not seen the last of a couple of them and they will be making appearances in the third and final book. Sadly, I think the ones we will be seeing are the bad ones, and will not be seeing some of the characters we have grown to love.
“Black is the badge of true love lost.
The hue of daemons,
And the Shadow of Night.”
I was really pleased with this book. I found myself entertained throughout it’s entirety. There was so much to see and learn and there was very little that seemed overly tedious. As there has been no announcement of the title of the third book or when it will be coming out, I cannot share this with you. I can however let you you know that Warner Bros. has bought the rights to A Discovery of Witches, and will be making it into a film. There is so much information that it will be hard to fit it all in, and as such there will be many sacrifices. The amount of potential that these books have for movies is almost limitless and I am excited to see what they make of them.
As I did enjoy the first book, but was not 100% on it, I can safely say after reading Shadow of Night that you should read these books! They are imaginative and magical, full of knowledge and maturity.