Hardcover, 592 pages
Publication: July 10th 2012 by Viking Adult
ISBN: 0670023485 (ISBN13: 9780670023486)
Series: All Souls Trilogy #2
"Together we lifted our feet and stepped into the unknown"—the thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestseller A Discovery of Witches
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.
I admit to being very late to the awesomeness that is A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, but once I began reading the intriguingly romantic tale between Matthew Clairmont and Diana Bishop I was instantly besotted. So, you could imagine my absolute unadulterated joy upon receiving SHADOW of NIGHT for review and I was not disappointed.
SHADOW OF NIGHT begins moments after Diana and Matthew lift their feet and step into the unknown (at least to Diana) time of Elizabethan England. The goal in traveling back seemed simple: locate a proper teacher for Diana to better understand her powers and find Ashmole 782. A simple plan yes, but it's execution proved to be anything but. It does not take long before Matthew's extensive past comes to haunt him and seek demands of which he cannot deny. Soon, he and Diana are traveling across Europe and with each sojourn they seem to encounter one blockade after another in their quest. Yet, each sojourn proves to reveal another layer to Matthew's mystery and Diana's true nature is finally revealed and it left me in awe.
I was delighted in seeing Diana and Matthew's relationship grow and deepen, but it was not an easy road that they traveled. At some intervals I was left perplexed at Matthew's actions and sometimes angered by his attitude but the why's were all revealed and worth every expression of explanation and forgiveness....grrrrr!!! I am glad to say that there is indeed a consummation of the flesh between this vampire and witch and I could not be happier. It was the only thing that I longed for in A Discovery of Witches and now I am satisfied (does that make me seem naughty?)
Deborah Harkness' spin on a few well known characters using a clever mixture of history, humor and wit, along with an endearing new cast of supporting characters make this epic novel truly memorable. Once you read this book you will become an instant Gallowglass fan as I am and when you do, we can discuss.
As much as I adored this novel there were a few rough spots that I could not seem to wrap my head around. One instance in particular I really cannot go into much detail because it is spoilerific to the extreme, but let's just say that you will be left momentarily perplexed and wanting to hurl your novel elsewhere. Thankfully this feeling is only encountered towards the end. Personally, I felt as if the last few chapters takes on a different direction and tone that I could not seem to comprehend or completely stand behind and I wish it would have ended sooner, but I still found this book to be amazing.
A novel of epic proportions can seem a bit daunting but it is worth it because Deborah Harkness knows how to ensnare you and hold you hostage with her words. You will fall deeper in love with this story that is full of history, mystery and the forbidden love story between Diana and Matthew.