Shadow Of Night by Deborah Harkness (All Souls Trilogy #2)


Available: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Fantasy Novel – some romance

Publisher: Viking

My Copy: Sent

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.


After I enjoyed A Discovery Of Witches so much, I was overjoyed to get a copy of Shadow Of Night to read. I jumped right into this one hoping to feel the same energy as book one. I didn’t find it. At the conclusion of A Discovery Of Witches Matthew and Diana had transported themselves back in time hoping to learn more of Ashmole 782s secrets and for Diana to learn how to harness her power. Instead they discover resistance from the very people that are supposed to be helping them and wedges are slowly ripping them apart.

My problem with Shadow Of Night is that it was way to long. I don’t know why authors feel the need to make something a longer length when it includes enough filler to make all their readers slip into boredom comas. Maybe books have to be a certain length to be a hardback. I don’t know. Whatever it is, Shadow Of Night includes so much history and unnecessary info, that after 100 pages I was looking for a way to escape. I kept reading because A Discovery Of Witches slipped into these states as well, but redeemed itself with its action and evolution of Matthew and Diana’s relationship. It often felt like the relationship took a back seat because Harkness didn’t want it to be labeled as “romance”. Since that was the best part for me, I was saddened by the story arc that was so overdone with history that nothing else could make it through.

I did enjoy the back story of Matthews friends, some of which are still around in the future. His interaction with them leads to a tense situation with his dearest friend and is the major conflict in this book. His relationship with his own father is complex and the unraveling of old secrets was interesting when paired with Diana being a witch and something no one seems eager to trust. The dialogue between characters was a definite highlight for me.

Unfortunately, Shadow Of Night didn’t keep me interested. It was overdone in a attempt to call itself something other then a romance so that it would appeal to a broader range of readers. We wouldn’t want fiction lovers to *gasp* read a romance now would we? What it did instead, was turn this reader off. There is one more book coming and I will read that one simply because I hope Harkness can entice me again with the great writing I found  in book one.

I give Shadow Of Night by Deborah Harkness 2 stars

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