Kathy Martin's Reviews > Shadow of Night

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
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's review
Jun 21, 2012

really liked it
Read from June 18 to 21, 2012

This book felt very much like the second book in a trilogy. It begins immediately after the cliffhanger ending of A Discovery of Witches. Matthew and Diana are traveling back in time to try to locate Ashmole 782, a rare book that could answer some questions about the origins of daemons, vampires and witches. Diana also needs to find a teacher so that she can learn more about her powers as a witch.

This one is a honeymoon story but with lots more magic and political intrigue. I found the first section which takes place at Woodstock, The Old Lodge in 1591 England to be a little confusing and slow going. The combination of Elizabethan intrigues, alliances, and plots combined with the tensions between witches and vampires made me wish for a scorecard so that I could keep track of who knew what and which side everyone was on. It didn't help that Matthew seemed to have a foot in all camps and was a spy. Diana quickly learned that the scope and number of secrets Matthew was keeping from her was daunting.

Diana, as a scholar and historian, was also stressed as she tried to learn to fit in during a time period she had studied. It didn't help that there were a growing number of plans to get rid of all the witches at the same time she needed to find a teacher. Diana makes intriguing discoveries about her own powers.

When the story moved to Sept-Tours and became more of a romance, I found it easier to feel engaged in the story. I liked watching Diana and Matthew forge a marriage of equals. They are both strong-minded, intelligent people who are very different. In fact, part of the conflict in this book is that vampires and witches don't have anything to do with each other. Yet here are Diana, a witch, and Matthew, a vampire, falling in love and fighting through massive opposition from just about everyone to be together. It was also hard seeing Matthew interact with his father who was no longer living in the present time. Matthew had a chance to go back for a history redo. He was also helped by Diana and his father to get over the grief and guilt he was suffering.

This was a massive story filled with historical figures and plots and counter plots happening both in 1591 and in the present. The prose was engaging. The descriptions made me feel that I was there with the characters. And there was a massive cast of characters to keep track of. Fans of historical fiction as well as fans of paranormal fiction will find a lot to enjoy in this rich, complex story. But it doesn't stand alone, read A Discovery of Witches first.

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Reading Progress

39.0% "What a fascinating and perilous time to live!"

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