Sanette's Reviews > Shadow of Night

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
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Jan 23, 13

bookshelves: favorite-reads, vampires, witches, strong-females, time-travel, favorite-authors, female-pov, favorite-series, demons, adult-romance
Read from July 10 to 17, 2012 — I own a copy

"You gave your life to me Diana Bishop. It's time to make use of it."

This is a hard review to write. How do I sum up all the intense emotions and thoughts that this book conjured in me? So please forgive me if this review is not worthy of the book for this was truly an incredible story and like the first book, one I will have to read again and again.

The book starts off exactly where A Discovery of Witches ended, Matthew and Diana have traveled back to Oxford 1591 in search of a witch powerful enough to teach Diana how to use her magic and a sacred book, Ashmole 782, the book of origins. But all does not go according to plan and once back in Oxford, Diana and Matthew are caught up in his life at the time and the Shadow of Night, the group of academics who all make a huge mark on history. In 1591 England, Matthew is a spy for Queen Elizabeth and a member of the Congregation and one of the instrumental people in the slaughter of many witches in Scotland and other parts of Europe. But The Matthew Clairmont that has returned to this time with Diana is a very different Vampire, and naturally his view of Witches has changed greatly. So right off the bat we watch as Matthew struggles with having to carry out the actions of his past self, wanting to right the wrongs he committed, but fearing he will alter the future in some terrible way. The aspect of time and how every little action affects the future left me feeling unsettled because I was looking back on my past actions and questioning what would my life have been like had I changed even one thing.

Diana on the other hand gets caught up in trying to fit in in 1591 England. She talks funny, is taller and skinnier than the women of this time and if that's not all, she has to contend with a bitter and jealous Christopher Marlowe and his love for Matthew and hatred for her. Then to top it all off, her magic is acting all sorts of weird. So for the first part of the book, Diana's magic and Ashmole 782 are kind of put on hold while my favorite couple deals with adjusting to the past. While this might have annoyed some readers, I found Harkness ability to bring the characters of the past to life so exciting that I too forgot the real reason they had traveled back in time. But once we leave part 1 and head into the depths of Harkness's second book, we are taken on an incredible, emotional and thought provoking journey.

After thinking about this book for a few days I realized what really moved me about it. She broke the book up into parts and each section had it's own message that really stuck with me. In part 1 I felt frustrated because of the tension between Diana and Matthew but upon reflection I felt it was because they were trying to reconcile who they were individually with who they needed to become as a unit. Their inability to properly communicate and their lingering insecurities are something a lot of new couples go through and part 1 ends with a lot of unsettling emotions, leaving you and the characters questioning everything.

However, part 2 calms some of those fears as it focuses on love, forgiveness and healing. The growth of Matthew and Diana's relationship was incredible as they finally consummate their relationship and you begin to believe that everything is perfect with them, they have overcome their demons but just like in real life, consummating your relationship does not wipe out any lingering insecurities and while we end with a positive feeling about the direction of Matthew and Diana, like all couples they still have hurdles to cross individually and as a couple. Part 2 was special for me in other ways, for it was not only love that was central in this section but forgiveness and healing. It was the growth of Matthew and Ysabeau that really made this part special for me, well that and Philippe who was an incredible character and one I will miss in the coming book. Both are broken characters and through the events of this section begin to forgive themselves which leads to the beginning of healing whats long been broken inside. I left this part in tears as it really moved me and made me think about the act of forgiveness and the toll that self hatred can take on ones life.

Part 3 was equal parts exciting as it was sad as Diana finally gets to use her magic and confront her fears but her and Matthew must battle a shared loss and learn how to cope with it together. While in part 2 Matthew confront his demons, part 3 is about Diana facing her own, for she is still afraid of her power and herself and with the help of some fantastic characters she is finally able to confront those fears. This is where part of the verse that begins Discovery of Witches comes into play as Diana must battle with herself and her fears that what she is might be evil or wrong. It is here that she must break down the walls she has spent her life constructing and come face to face with the real Diana living inside her. What comes of this revelation is absolutely spectacular and left me thinking a lot about the universe. Harkness' ideas about the threads of life that connect everything around us really had me thinking a lot about my own beliefs. In college I wanted to expand my mind and hallucinogenics was the route I took so when Harkness begins to describe the universe as different colored threads I could see what Diana was weaving as though it was I handling the threads of life. Since I first stepped into that other world back in college I have always believed that we are all connected and that our every action is connected in some way to everything around us. Part 3 really left me thinking about the universe and our connection to everything within it.

Part 4 had me wringing my hands with frustration as I hated the Emperor but it also brought a lot of questions to mind about evolution and power and the destruction of too much knowledge. I am always seeking out answers about the universe, but what if you know to much? how does that affect you as a human, can you move on or will it consume you? These were the questions I have always had and this is what I felt in part 4 when they learn more about Ashmole 782. Watching how the book affected those it came in contact with, including Diana and Matthew brought all those old ideas and questions of mine to the surface and left me feeling a little uncomfortable, but this was also the section that Diana and Matthew truly become one and after everything that has come before it, I felt that they had finally evolved as a solid and unbreakable couple.

The final two parts where the perfect winde down with Diana fully embracing her firedrake (and being the ass kicking witch we know her to be), getting to spend time with her father, going on an actual date with Matthew, and saying goodbye to all of her friends before heading back to her own time. We get a glimpse of how her and Matthew have changed things in their present day and the sense that while Harkness has taken me on a graceful and gentle decline after the emotional and thought provoking roller coaster that I had been on, the sense of bigger things yet to come still lingers in the air and has stayed with me these past few days.

"It begins with absence and desire
It begins with blood and fear
It begins with a discovery of witches."


The All Souls Trilogy filled an absence in my reading life, a desire for more knowledge, a need to understand the secrets in the blood that travels through my body, and a fear that I might be permanently changed by what I learn. It began with a Discovery of Witches and continued with a lot of questions, some answers and characters that I love and miss like dear friends. When it comes to Deborah Harkness's amazing ability to weave an incredible supernatural love story with history and science, who knows what it will end with…..



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Quotes Sanette Liked

Deborah Harkness
“With knot of one, the spell's begun.
With knot of two, the spell be true.
With knot of three, the spell is free.
With knot of four, the power is stored.
With knot of five, the spell with thrive.
With knot of six, this spell I fix.”
Deborah Harkness, Shadow of Night


Reading Progress

07/10/2012 page 58
10.0% "I love you Matthew but your starting to piss me off."
07/11/2012 page 148
25.0% "I'm still pissed at matthew for the beginning of the book, but I'm really enjoying the Philip section of the book." 7 comments
07/12/2012 page 162
28.0% "Oh how I love Matthew and Diana!!!"
07/13/2012 page 207
35.0% "Okay I actually shed a few tears at the end of this section. I love how she ends each part by jumping back to present day and showing how Matthew and Diana's actions in the past have affected the future. Philip is my favorite character so far and I really did get misty eyed when it was time to say goodbye, especially since we all know what happens to him in the future."
07/18/2012 page 584
100.0% "Okay I actually shed a few tears at the end of this section. I love how she ends each part by jumping back to present day and showing how Matthew and Diana's actions in the past have affected the future. Philip is my favorite character so far and I really did get misty eyed when it was time to say goodbye, especially since we all know what happens to him in the future."

Comments (showing 1-48 of 48) (48 new)

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Sanette YAY!!!


Sanette I'm looking forward to your thoughts :-)


Katherine I too teared up when Ysabeau reads the note left by Phillippe.


Sanette Katherine wrote: "I too teared up when Ysabeau reads the note left by Phillippe."

yeah that was an awesome scene. I love how she finishes each section with present day events. This book is turning out to be better than the first in my opinion and i LOVED the first book. I just got new deck furniture and plan on spending the rest of today outside finishing this book. :-)


 Linda (Miss Greedybooks) Indeed - I agree, Philippe & Ysabeau are certainly favorites, I loved this also.


message 7: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Woo hoo! You loved it. I'm still at the beginning. Will get into it soon, I hope!


Sanette Oh it was an incredible book but a lot happens so I still need to digest and re-read certain scenes but Harkness has created an amazing story.


 Linda (Miss Greedybooks) I am midway through - loving it - so glad you gave it 5! Look forward to your review.


Sanette Linda wrote: "I am midway through - loving it - so glad you gave it 5! Look forward to your review."

I'm so glad your loving it! I think I have finally absorbed everything so today is my day to write it all down. There is a lot that happens and Harkness gives you a lot to think about. I actually took notes while reading this book there was so much going on :-)


message 11: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Awesome review Sanette! :)


Sanette Lisa wrote: "Awesome review Sanette! :)"

Thanks Lisa, it was an awesome book and I look forward to your thoughts!


message 13: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Sanette wrote: "Lisa wrote: "Awesome review Sanette! :)"

Thanks Lisa, it was an awesome book and I look forward to your thoughts!"


I'm still in the first section. I have been wrapped up in the JR Ward series. Then I took a break with some fluff YA. I will pick it back up tonight or tomorrow if I can stay away from the JR Ward series. You need to read it. Book 3 in the series was freakin amazing. So far, I've loved every book.


Sanette Lisa wrote: "Sanette wrote: "Lisa wrote: "Awesome review Sanette! :)"

Thanks Lisa, it was an awesome book and I look forward to your thoughts!"

I'm still in the first section. I have been wrapped up in the ..."


After reading your review to the first book I downloaded it to my kindle and funny enough was just starting the first chapter when I saw your post. LOL. I was hesitant at first to start this series but if you like it I'm pretty sure I will too. I absolutely HATE Sweet Evil so I'm putting that on hold for something that I hope is far better. :-)


message 15: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Sanette wrote: "Lisa wrote: "Sanette wrote: "Lisa wrote: "Awesome review Sanette! :)"

Thanks Lisa, it was an awesome book and I look forward to your thoughts!"

I'm still in the first section. I have been wrapp..."


I think you'll like this series. Ward has created a pretty amazing world. Book 3 is by far one of the best books I've read... ever. I loved it. Can't wait to see what you think about the books. I was a little hesitant to start a series that has 10 books already, but I am so glad I did.


message 16: by Sanette (last edited Jul 19, 2012 07:50PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sanette Lisa wrote: "Sanette wrote: "Lisa wrote: "Sanette wrote: "Lisa wrote: "Awesome review Sanette! :)"

Thanks Lisa, it was an awesome book and I look forward to your thoughts!"

I'm still in the first section. I..."


Yeah any series that has that many books is always kind of a turn off for me. I'm really invested in the Halfway to the Grave series because of the first two books but normally I don't like anything longer than three because I feel the author is just dragging out the story, but I like how each of Ward's books is told by a different person but you still have the characters from the previous and future books playing a part. Thats what I loved about the Sweet series by Maya Banks, she ties all the characters together although each book is it's own story. I'm on the first chapter now of Ward's series and I'm already kind of hooked. :-)


Katherine Sanette wrote: "Katherine wrote: "I too teared up when Ysabeau reads the note left by Phillippe."

yeah that was an awesome scene. I love how she finishes each section with present day events. This book is turning..."


Your review was amazing!! I loved the book for some of the same reasons. :)
It will be interesting to see what happens in the next book.


Sanette Katherine wrote: "Sanette wrote: "Katherine wrote: "I too teared up when Ysabeau reads the note left by Phillippe."

yeah that was an awesome scene. I love how she finishes each section with present day events. This..."


Thanks Katherine :-) Yeah I am really excited about the third installment. This is such an amazing series I bet she's going to end it with a bang.


 Linda (Miss Greedybooks) Sanette,
Thank you for the wonderful review! I agree with so much of what you wrote. I too will miss Philippe in the next book and loved the moment with Ysabeau. I loved that Matthew & Diana shared time with their fathers. I hope to see Gallowglass more. The historical figures were well written & I enjoyed the placement of them. I will be waiting with baited breath for book #3!


Sanette Linda wrote: "Sanette,
Thank you for the wonderful review! I agree with so much of what you wrote. I too will miss Philippe in the next book and loved the moment with Ysabeau. I loved that Matthew & Diana share..."


Thank you Linda. This was an incredible book and I don't think my review does it justice but I tried. I can't believe I have to wait so long for the third installment. I'm most likely going to re-read book and two over again till it comes out.


message 21: by Kate (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kate Love the book and am starting again with A Discovery of Witches... As with you, these two books have touched something in my life that needed to be re-kindled. I am looking forward to seeing what unfolds in my life and, the next book.


Sanette Kate wrote: "Love the book and am starting again with A Discovery of Witches... As with you, these two books have touched something in my life that needed to be re-kindled. I am looking forward to seeing what..."

Yeah these books are really something special, I get all tingly just thinking about the story that Harkness is weaving together.


Lenita I'm just waiting to find out when the next book comes out. I love this series; hopefully it won't be long!


Sanette Lenita wrote: "I'm just waiting to find out when the next book comes out. I love this series; hopefully it won't be long!"

I know me too! Hopefully we don't have to wait longer than a year. Oh how I miss these characters :-)


message 25: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Thank you for writing this insightful review. Finally someone that sees beyond the vampire/witch romance plot and sees the reason for harkness' attention to detail in the historical accounts of the people, time and place.


Sanette Jessica wrote: "Thank you for writing this insightful review. Finally someone that sees beyond the vampire/witch romance plot and sees the reason for harkness' attention to detail in the historical accounts of th..."

Thank you Jessica. I've read some of the less than flattering reviews out there on this book and I just don't understand how this story could be lost on people. It's kind of annoying actually. But I'm glad there are people out there who truly get what Harkness is creating. It's really one of the most amazing stories I have ever read.


 Linda (Miss Greedybooks) I really liked your review and agree with Jessica that the story is so much more than a vampire/witch romance. I liked the history & characters. I am waiting for the 3rd book!


message 28: by Sanette (last edited Aug 27, 2012 08:04PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sanette Linda wrote: "I really liked your review and agree with Jessica that the story is so much more than a vampire/witch romance. I liked the history & characters. I am waiting for the 3rd book!"

Thanks Linda, I really cannot wait for the third book. I'm so excited that I already know I going to be rereading book 1 & 2 probably multiple times before book 3 comes out. If only I did not have so many books by my bed and on my kindle. :-)


Lenita Sanette wrote: "Lenita wrote: "I'm just waiting to find out when the next book comes out. I love this series; hopefully it won't be long!"

I know me too! Hopefully we don't have to wait longer than a year. Oh how..."


At least she is faster than "The Outlander" series; I think Gabaldon takes ten years between the books in the series. (And I've hung in there for every one)


Sanette Lenita wrote: "Sanette wrote: "Lenita wrote: "I'm just waiting to find out when the next book comes out. I love this series; hopefully it won't be long!"

I know me too! Hopefully we don't have to wait longer tha..."


I have never read this book! I just looked it up and it is not on my TBR list. Thanks for the heads up. :-)


Lenita The first in the series is the Voyager by Diana Gabaldon (sp) and it is incredible; I have actually waited almost 10 years for the next in the series. Good news for you, the first five, I believe are already out and the last on "In My Loves on Blood" is due out sometime next year.


 Linda (Miss Greedybooks) It is really great to find a series already going, so you can read the past ones while the next are being written, but geeezzzz 10 years! I have trouble waiting one, and sometimes have to buy a hardcover because I cannot wait any longer!!!


Lenita I'm the same wait; but, these have been worth the wait. She wrote other books about the original characters in different series expounding on their stories; but, I didn't really care for those, I'm glad she has finally gotten back on track. You might also like Witches on Parole, it is a short series of three right now; not historical but a good short read. Warmed my heart...didn't think I'd like it but did enjoy it.


Sanette Lenita wrote: "I'm the same wait; but, these have been worth the wait. She wrote other books about the original characters in different series expounding on their stories; but, I didn't really care for those, I'm..."

I already have so much on my reading list but this series sounds really awesome so I guess I'm going to have to add a few more. Checking out the Witches series now. I love this site but it's added to much to my reading list :-)


Lenita Sanette wrote: "Lenita wrote: "I'm the same wait; but, these have been worth the wait. She wrote other books about the original characters in different series expounding on their stories; but, I didn't really care..."

I check out a lot of books from the library for my kindle and most are on wait lists; so for me it works to have a list going. This series really is worth the time; but, the books are long, great for vacation or cold winter nights..


Victoria Incredible and beautifully written review...I loved the book, but I feel it brought a lot of emotion and questions and thoughts that when I wrote mine it was hard to make it coherent. Thank you for your eloquence.


Sanette Victoria wrote: "Incredible and beautifully written review...I loved the book, but I feel it brought a lot of emotion and questions and thoughts that when I wrote mine it was hard to make it coherent. Thank you for..."

Thank you Victoria. It took me a while to write this review and there were several versions before I thought it could do the book justice. I'm so excited for the third book :-)


message 38: by Dr.Mandi (new) - added it

Dr.Mandi Wow! What an amazing review! Your review was quite thought provoking and fresh. I, like all of you, absolutely LOVED the first book..especially when Diana was taken by Satu. That part for me was so intense. But I am having a hard time getting into the second book. I don't know much about 1590 Elizabethan England. I don't typically enjoy books that take place that far back in history, mainly because I have trouble staying interested. I hope that's not the case with this one. Because I was super excited when I finished the first. I have a question about something in the last book.that.img need clarification on, and perhaps you can help mr. I don't want to go into specifics on this thread in case others haven't read the first. But it has to do with Nathaniel and Sophia. My email is mandifessler@gmail.com. Would you mind shooting me a quick email so I have yours and then we can correspond.that way about specifics? I would appreciate it. Anyone else in this thread who wishes to discuss the first book can feel free to email me as well! Thanks for the beautiful review. I am a clinical psychologist, and I always love when books can touch on a readers own life to give them a differing pov and can promote growth. :) ~ Mandi


Victoria Dr.Mandi wrote: "Wow! What an amazing review! Your review was quite thought provoking and fresh. I, like all of you, absolutely LOVED the first book..especially when Diana was taken by Satu. That part for me was so..."

Mandi, if you are on FB and want to discuss the book there is a whole All Souls Trilogy Discussion group that I would recommend to you. :)

Other than that, just stick with it - the book gets better as it progresses. I am not a fan of historical fiction either, but it really worked here, Deb's knowledge and writing also helps!


Samantha Wilson we will, i think, be seeing phillie again in book 3. She promised to be with him when she said her own goodbye to him. i cant remember the line but it was beautiful and wrought with emotion.


Smith Discovery of Witches first and second: So happy to read such great reviews. I read the first book 4 times, waiting for the second; read the second book twice just waiting for the third. There is nothing like this story. Captivating, could not put it down, enveloped me. I feel so empty just waiting for the next book. by Sondra


Sanette Samantha wrote: "we will, i think, be seeing phillie again in book 3. She promised to be with him when she said her own goodbye to him. i cant remember the line but it was beautiful and wrought with emotion."

Your right, I forgot about that. Oh that is going to be a sad scene.


Alyssa Boyt am I pronouncing ysabeau correctly in my head? (ees a bo)?


Sanette Alyssa wrote: "am I pronouncing ysabeau correctly in my head? (ees a bo)?"

I think so, it's definitely a name I've never heard before. Ill have to ask one of my French friends next time I'm in the city.


message 45: by Dedra (new)

Dedra Kugler Sanette,

I laughed, cried, screamed, ached, and fought with Diana and Matthew in both books. Your words brought tears to my eyes and clenched my heart. I love these books, feel kin to the characters. The way they are written is so amazingly intelligent, there is so much more in the books than just the story being told. Your words tell it much better than mine. Thank you for sharing. I cannot wait for the 3rd book in this trilogy.


Sanette Dedra wrote: "Sanette,

I laughed, cried, screamed, ached, and fought with Diana and Matthew in both books. Your words brought tears to my eyes and clenched my heart. I love these books, feel kin to the charact..."


Thank you Dedra. Actually your words pretty much summed up how I feel about these books. They are such an emotional roller coaster that I feel exhausted by the end of it all. But I wouldn't trade those feelings for the world. I too am extremely excited for the third book!


Nanci A very well done review; although I have read the book, you gracefully avoided revealing the most dramatic moments of the storyline. Very nice indeed! Now I need to write my own review! You have set the bar very high indeed!


Sanette Thank you Nanci. I look forward to reading your review.


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