Erica's Reviews > Shadow of Night

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
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Jun 08, 12

bookshelves: arc, books-about-books, fiction, historical, international, paranormal, romance, witches-n-magic, sci-fi-futuristic
Read from May 02 to 18, 2012

I received an advanced copy of this book through NetGalley, thanks to the helpful comments from friends here on GoodReads. Following is my review of the book.

This story begins at the same point where A Discovery of Witches left off, with Diana & Matthew landing safely in Elizabethan England. Diana is enthralled with the idea of “living” the historical events she has spent her life studying, and is a bit nonplussed by the fact that even with all her knowledge of the times and people, she is woefully unprepared for the smaller details of daily life. Not to mention, it is obvious to everyone around that she is not from there and does not belong (though they assume she is from another place, not another time). It takes her awhile, and not a few missteps, to become more familiar with customs and habits, but with the help of friends and family she eventually passes for a woman of the times.

Of course, what good romance novel would be complete without a little relationship drama, and this is no exception. Though they have known each other only a short time, and were married only a few days before traveling back in time, Diana believes she knows Matthew better than anyone else. She assumes he will remain the same man she knows from modern times, and is surprised by the changes in his personality and behavior in this period. This provides for some drama-filled scenes of major mis-communication, but also allows for the relationship between the two of them to grow and mature, ultimately bringing them closer.

I will admit, I found it difficult to immediately delve into the story, as the first several chapters introduce new characters based on historical figures some of whom I am only dimly aware, but who I felt I should know better based on how they were presented. I was reading the galley on my Nook, so it wasn’t until I finished reading the whole thing that I found there is a glossary of characters included at the END of the book. Of course, when you're reading a digital copy, you rarely think to skip all the way to the end to see what's there (that feels like cheating!), so I didn't know about it when I needed it.

However, this detail aside, I enjoyed the twists and turns in the plot, and the development of continuing characters as well as newly introduced ones. I soon sorted out who most of them were and what their roles were, though there were still some places where my brain would have trouble keeping some of the tertiary characters straight. Also, there is a short scene of amusing meta-fiction towards the middle of the book that will give fans of paranormal romance something to chuckle over.

There were a few plot lines that were not totally cleared up and tied nicely in a bow at the end. I was left with questions. But I have faith in Harkness’ ability to do again as she did here and pick up the story where she left off, answering all my queries in the third installment. May it come soon, for I am not exactly known for my patience (especially when it comes to really good books)!
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05/08/2012 page 184
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Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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Crossfinn Since you're a librarian, see if you can read it through NetGalley.

Erica Thank you for the tip! I've seen mentions of NetGalley before, but never looked into it. I submitted my request, so we'll see how it turns out. :)

Donna Hixon Or edelweiss

Linda Hi Erica, I also loved this book and am anxiously awaiting Shadow of Night!

Julie I read Shadow of Night and LOVED IT even though I think the editing missed a few things. I keep going back through it the find out what happened to Aunt Em. Towards the end, Yasbleau said to Sarah who was drinking and smoking and mourning Em, that the people who killed her will be revenged by the de Cleremonts. What happened to her? Did I read the book so fast (3 days) that I missed something? Did they leave out the birth of Margaret on purpose? What do you think? I, too, am not patient. I absolutely was so engrossed in this book that several parts made me cry.

Julie Need your help. Read my comment above.

Crossfinn Julie wrote: "I read Shadow of Night and LOVED IT even though I think the editing missed a few things. I keep going back through it the find out what happened to Aunt Em. Towards the end, Yasbleau said to Sara..."

You didn't miss anything, and there was no editing mistake--Em's death happened "off camera," as did the birth of the baby. I'm sure we'll learn about these events in Book 3.

Erica Yes, I agree with Crossfinn. These are the unresolved plot lines that I mention toward the end of my review. I'm very much hoping that Ms. Harkness delves into these issues and how they came about within the first 50 pages of volume 3. It's almost like talking to a good friend on the phone when she mentions something amazing that happened, and then her battery dies and you have to wait several hours to find out all the juicy details. So agonizing, I know, though it is reassuring to hear that I'm not alone in my desire to find out what will (and has) happened. :)

Julie thanks so much the help! I spent hours re-reading parts of the book trying to see if i missed something.

Serena I totally agree. I am so impatient for the next book!

message 11: by Anne (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anne Marie I felt the same way about the character list at the end of the book--I also was reading on a Kindle, so I was thinking many times during the story that I wish I had a character list to refer to and didn't know it was there all along. I also thought the beginning of the book was a bit of a rough start. Before long though, I had a hard time putting it down, and now I am so frustrated to have to wait for the next book!

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