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All Souls #2

Shadow of Night

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Picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night takes Diana and Matthew on a trip through time to Elizabethan London, where they are plunged into a world of spies, magic, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the School of Night. As the search for Ashmole 782 deepens and Diana seeks out a witch to tutor her in magic, the net of Matthew’s past tightens around them, and they embark on a very different—and vastly more dangerous—journey.

584 pages, Hardcover

First published July 10, 2012

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About the author

Deborah Harkness

31 books29k followers
Deborah Harkness is a #1 New York Times bestselling author who draws on her expertise as an historian of science, medicine, and the history of the book to create rich narratives steeped in magical realism, historical curiosity, and deeply human questions about what it is that makes us who we are.

The first book in Harkness’s beloved All Souls series, A Discovery of Witches, was an instant New York Times bestseller and the series has since expanded with the addition of subsequent NYT bestsellers, Shadow of Night (2012), The Book of Life (2014), and Time’s Convert (2018), as well as the companion reader, The World of All Souls. The All Souls series has been translated in thirty-eight languages.

The popular television adaptation of A Discovery of Witches, starring Theresa Palmer and Matthew Goode, was released in 2019 by Sky/Sundance Now, and also broadcast on AMC.

Having spent more than a quarter of a century as a student and scholar of history, Harkness holds degrees from Mount Holyoke College, Northwestern University, and the University of California at Davis. She is currently a professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where she teaches European history and the history of science.

Harkness has published scholarly articles on topics such as the influence of theatrical conventions on the occult sciences, scientific households, female medical practice in early modern London, medical curiosity, and the influence of accounting practices on scientific record keeping. She has received Fulbright, Guggenheim, and National Humanities Center fellowships, and her most recent scholarly work is The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution.

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Profile Image for Kristina Coop-a-Loop.
1,227 reviews487 followers
September 2, 2023
Request to Readers of This Review who LOVED the book
Please stop NOW & do not read this review. Based on the ridiculous & repetitive comments left by lovers of this trilogy, many of you cannot handle opinions that do not conform to your own & feel the need to call me stupid, tell me I have no right to read this book, & other nonsense. If you feel that way, FINE. Just stop telling me! I don't care! I don't troll lovers of this trilogy & tell them they are morons for liking the books, so I'd appreciate it you'd return the favor. I've been REALLY patient for years, but I'm kinda over that now. Thanks!

Because this is such a long book (too long), I'm going to give periodic reviews--every 100 pages or so--then write an overview of the book that wraps everything up about the book I hate. I already say hate because it's apparent from the first 97 pages I've read that Harkness makes all the same mistakes/repeats all the same themes from the first book. Warning--my review will have spoilers. I mean, I will try not to divulge really important events (if they actually happen, ha ha) but I may discuss things that you the future reader of this book may not want to know.

As for the first 97 pages of this novel, nothing happens. Matthew and Diana arrive in late 16th century England (1590) and we meet Christopher Marlowe, Walter Raleigh, Henry the duke (who I assume is also a historical figure) and assorted other characters, some of whom are daemons and vampires (Christopher Marlowe is a daemon whose nickname is "Kit"). They spend a whole lot of time talking and trying to figure out why Diana is so weird (apparently the two brainiacs Matthew and Diana are surprised that her 21st century American mannerisms, speech and personality are out of place in Elizabethan England) and when it is revealed she is a witch and a time-spinner (I think that is the term used), a cover story is created to explain her sudden appearance in Matthew's life and where she came from. What kills me about this story is that it is impossibly complicated, bizarre and unbelievable and any good liar knows that the more complex a lie, the harder it is to remember. So Diana (who has yet to impress me with her intellectual abilities) is struggling to remember her life story, how to write the Elizabethan way (the description of her practicing her script is ridiculously long and boring), and trying to convince everyone that yes, she is a witch (ha ha).

Eventually Matthew decides to get to the business that brought them to this time period: finding a witch professor for Diana so she can learn to be a witch. Their whole method of going about this is idiotic. Wouldn't you think they would have searched history (before leaping into the past) looking for a witch professor? Diana's a witch and a scholar--wouldn't she know who in the past would have been a great teacher for her? Matthew lived in this time period so wouldn't he know? I mean, he seems to freaking know everyone else historically important of that time period. No, they went into the past with no idea of who could help her and so Matthew decides to put out what amounts to a 16th century craigslist advertisement. This is what Diana says about that: "The late 16th century really isn't a good time to openly ask around for a witch, Matthew." Ha, you think so? The interview with the witch (who resembles the cartoon version of a witch down to a wart on her nose) goes as well as everyone expected--that is, it's a complete disaster. So now the witch (to protect herself from being labeled as a witch) is now claiming that Diana made her sick, yadda yadda yadda and while some members of this over-peopled household are worried about the rumors, Matthew is arrogant and says, "Eh, it's just gossip. It'll blow over." He is supremely stupid for a vampire who has lived through many ages and has seen what village gossip can do--it can get his wife burned at the stake. So someone (who knows which character because there are too damn many of them) says, hey, the village elder and religious leader are coming to accuse Diana of being a witch (which is hilarious because she is the most useless witch ever) and Matthew is like, eh, no biggie, and they all sit around bantering and exchanging witticisms as if they are at a cocktail party. At the end of this chapter, Matthew is summoned by his father to visit him and Diana goes too (of course). It is also revealed that not only is Matthew a vampire extraordinaire, he is also a: member of the Congregation, a member of the Order of Lazarus and a spy. I'm a little foggy on the spy stuff because I just didn't care and the explanation made no sense to me--something about Protestants and Catholics blah blah blah.

Thus, it is already obvious to me that this sequel is following the same path as the first book: lots of extraneous details about clothes, Diana's writing practice, food and the idiotic conversations between the characters which I'm guessing the author thinks are amusing (they aren't); Diana is still the most awesome-ist witch ever...who can do nothing practical; when trouble finds them, they change location; and now apparently Matthew isn't just a highly intelligent vampire, he is also friends with anyone who matters and a member of two (at page 97) powerful secret organizations AND a spy. My oh my he is a busy guy. No wonder he hasn't had time to have sex with his wife yet. I don't know why the author has to make these two characters so incredibly powerful and (at least as far as Matthew is concerned) influential. They are like super-paranormal-heroes whose fatal flaws are their incredible stupidity (and inability to plan ahead).

So from page 97 to page 298 guess what happens? A whole lotta nothing. Well, nothing that moves the plot forward, whatever the hell the plot is in this book. Here are a few noteworthy events:

1. Philippe, Matthew's father (who is also a vamp), marries them again. There are pages of the pre-wedding ceremony, the wedding, the wedding party...and for those of you waiting with breathless anticipation (I don't know who you are, but you will be bummed) for their passion (ha ha) to be consummated--it is! And it's the most boring sex scene ever. Total snoozer. These two have about as much passion and chemistry as worms mating. Say what you will about the Twilight series, but at least Bella and Edward had passion.
2. Diana kills a witch. Whoopsie. Guess we have to relocate. Again.
3. So, I'm more thrilled by this...the reappearance of the stretchy black pants! Woo! How did this happen in 16th century England you ask? Well, Matthew (who is a tailor among all his other fantastical skills) cut up and then sewed together a pair of his hose so she could have something resembling her beloved stretchy black pants. I'm so happy for her.
4. I have a problem with this sentence: "Matthew considered telling me that it was a secret but wisely refrained" (page 222). The book is being told from Diana's perspective, so how does she know what Matthew is thinking? How does she know he wisely refrained from speaking? This is poor writing and equally poor editing.
5. Another nitpick (I could do this more because the book is full of stupid sentences but I'm selecting the ones that really irritate me): Diana is in London and comments that the carriages she sees in the streets look nothing like the carriages in Jane Austen films. Oh, Diana, you scholarly moron. Maybe that's because Jane Austen was born two centuries later (late 18th century) and the movie people did their research and used carriages appropriate to the time. Sigh.
5. Gallowglass calling Diana "Auntie" is annoying as hell.

I can't figure out this book. There's just no logic to it. Diana and Matthew and their entourage of extraneous characters move from city to city while she shops and learns to be a 16th century woman and Matthew does whatever he is supposed to be doing. I'm so bored with this book. I detest both of the main characters because they are written completely without depth--they don't have enough character in their characters for me to be interested in them or care about them. They are vapid and boring and annoying. And I don't understand what kind of vampires inhabit Harkness's world. They apparently can eat and drink human food/liquids, stay out day or night, don't necessarily have to drink human blood...I mean, they just aren't very vampire-y. The mythology of the creatures (witches, vampires, daemons) is so poorly defined that I don't know what they are supposedly capable of/what their powers are. I'm about half-way through the book and I don't see that the story has even started yet. Is this the world's longest prologue?

A Few More Bitchy Nitpicks and Overall Opinion of this Crappy Book

I wasted a few hours of this partially sunny Saturday morning finishing up this book so I could be done with it. Hell, even 50 Shades of Idiocy is better than this book. First, a few more nitpicks:
1. My confusion regarding the role of supernatural creatures in the world (past and present) continues. It seems that almost everyone (that is, humans) know these creatures exist, but for some reason the creatures are concerned about keeping themselves undetectable, but most humans seem to know they are around. Huh?
2. Supposedly witches and vampires so powerful and scary, yet Matthew and Diana (and their crew of assorted humans, daemons and vampires) allow themselves to be bullied and ordered around by humans. Queen Elizabeth orders them to Prague, they go. The Emperor of Prague (or whomever Rudolf was) pushes them around and they allow it. I don't understand this. These are the most ineffectual supernatural creatures in popular fiction.
3. In keeping with the above complaint, the long, drawn-out nonsense of their visit to Prague is mind-boggling stupid. Rudolf wants Diana (because, along with all her other talents, she is scrumptious eye candy) and neither Diana nor Matthew like that. So Rudolf pursues and she resists...but why didn't they use this to their advantage? He has the Ashmole manuscript they want, he wants Diana. You're telling me they couldn't have used his desire against him, tricked him and gained the book from him? Oh, right, that would presume planning and cleverness on their part, skills they particularly lack. Plus Diana didn't finish her witchy training since they went to Prague when she started learning how to weave her magical threads.
4. This whole declaration grosses me out: "After all my searching, I discover that I am who always was: Matthew de Clermont. Husband. Father. Vampire. And I am here for only one reason: to make a difference" (page 479). Well, goody for you, Matthew. Make a difference in what? Eye roll.
5. That whole "oh, no, Diana's in trouble again but this time she saves herself" load of bs near the end was meaningless. Kit (Christopher Marlowe) and Louisa (Matthew's sister) try to kill Diana but eventually the idiot remembers she's a witch with a firedrake living in her gut so she saves herself. This whole scene is forced. First, Kit has betrayed Diana to other witches over and over again. Why is he even still with them? He's in love with Matthew (of course) and it's clear he wants her gone. Matthew is so quick to remove anyone who endangers Diana, even friends, but he allows Kit to remain? And Diana, who knows Kit is perpetually up to no good, willingly follows him to an area where they are alone and is surprised when he wants to do her harm. Everything about this confrontation is false and dumb and for what purpose? For us to know Diana can save herself? Who cares.
6. Another first person/third person screw-up: "And there's no chance my going any faster, Matthew thought..." WTF. First, the obvious--if the book is told in first person, you know only the thoughts of that person. That's why it's called "first person." If Harkness had wanted us to know what Matthew is thinking, she should have written in third person omniscient. And the two times she's made this idiot error it's to reveal thoughts that aren't significant or interesting. Matthew's thought above is about how he can't possibly drive the car any faster. Who knows why readers needed to know this but the book is full of stupidity so nothing surprises me.
7. I'm not sure what the point of the last chapter was. I found it to be a rather uninspiring and boring way to end the book. I'm guessing Harkness wanted to show how her character Anne ends up being in Shakespeare's household. Is this Anne supposed to be the Anne he marries? Anne Hathaway was about 10 years older than Shakespeare and they married when he was 18...but whatever. Harkness could also be implying that she didn't think Shakespeare wrote his own material, that Christopher Marlowe at the very least inspired some of it. This theory makes me crazy (because it's been disproven over and over again), but again, whatever. The author is making use of "artistic license" here so who am I to complain?

This book has been a nightmare to read. The first book had at least a story of some sort to keep me reading and Diana and Matthew (at least in the beginning) were interesting and likeable characters. This sequel is awful. Diana and Matthew are idealized creations--they have all the best talents, they are supremely unique, they will affect the future, Matthew knows everyone and is involved in all sorts of intrigues, plus he has time to be an architect and romance the Queen of England. They are too perfect and have no real obstacles to overcome.

Nothing happens in this novel. Diana and Matthew float through its pages and allow things to happen to them, but they never take charge and make anything happen. I don't see how they are any different at the conclusion of the novel than they were at the beginning. Diana knows a little more witchcraft, their marriage is stronger (so the author says but I don't see any difference) but nothing substantial has changed. They didn't learn anything from the Ashmole book except that the material it is made from is particularly gruesome. They didn't seem to gain any knowledge or experience worthwhile the whole time they wandered around the 16th century. This book is just one long description of food, scents and clothes. Which may have been okay if the author knew how to bring historical scenes alive, but she doesn't. This is a semi-historical book with supernatural creatures thrown in.

The number of historical figures who make appearances in this book is overwhelming. The historical name-dropping is annoying. Making Christopher Marlowe a daemon and Walter Raleigh a knight in the Order of Lazarus added nothing to the novel. In fact, the addition of all the historical figures did nothing for the novel whatsoever. They didn't move the plot forward (again, what's the plot?) and these historical people popped up so often it became a game of Historical Whack-A-Mole. I hated how Harkness tied these people into her characters' lives. Like much of the novel's contents, there was no need for it.

With this novel, Harkness seems to have created her idealized version of an extended family (the overly sentimental scene at the end had me gagging), her idealized version of herself and her perfect mate, and as a historian she of course added into the novel all of her favorite historical figures. (Well, maybe she didn't like Christopher Marlowe since he was such a jerk.) But she stuffed the novel with a multitude of meaningless events, too many forgettable characters and pages and pages of boring food and clothing descriptions. What she neglected was a compelling plot. Harkness seems to have written this novel merely to please herself and her interests and forgot about her readers. This is a self-indulgent book written by an author who is spoiled by a lack of editorial oversight. An editor with any sense and skill could have shaped this shapeless lump of a novel into a compelling, suspenseful read with intriguing characters. Instead we got this mess. There's no way in hell I will suffer through the next novel. Life's too short to read another one of Harkness's bad books.

I feel as if I should add something about the time travel part of the book. It bothered me when I was reading it, but so much of the book is wrong that I completely forget about it when writing this review. I've read a certain amount of time-traveling books but I don't really pay too much attention to the mechanics of it (which is funny since I am a huge sci-fi geek) as long as it seems to make some kind of logical sense (within the novel). In this book, I was okay with the current Matthew disappearing and his place being taken up by future Matthew however the idea that when he and Diana leave events will flow on as before, unchanged, left me banging my head on my desk. Huh? Won't someone notice that he's missing a wife? Won't the 16th century Matthew come back and wonder what the heck's been going on? That made no freaking sense to me at all. You can't just have your characters pop in, change things up, then pop out again and expect no one to notice or for them not to change future events. Everyone with a brain knows that. Again, more evidence that Harkness had no freaking idea of what the hell she was doing with this book. At her author presentation I attended, someone asked her how she wrote the book and taught and promoted the first book all at the same time. Well, yeah, you can see how she did it--the book reflects how little thought and re-writing she put into it. Where oh where was her editor?!!!!

Despite my above statement that there is no way in hell I will read the last book in the trilogy, I did. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. Here's the link: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Profile Image for Wine Country.
352 reviews25 followers
January 24, 2013
"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…..

Profile Image for Natalie.
21 reviews9 followers
September 1, 2012
Cannot believe this book has 4 stars??? Have you read the same book I just suffered through?? (actually listened to as a 24 hour long audiobook!! should have been my first warning) I don't even want to read the 3rd book I'm so turned off by this LONG, confusing sequel. I can't imagine how she will be able to close the MANY loose ends she has floating out there. And by the way, did anyone else follow that crazy weaver business? Two more of many pet peeves about this was the lame jack be nimble, jack be quick- really? And the pointless last chapter, it was like she had to slap that in there to justify the title. How about focusing on a story next time. Just because you can write 600 pages doesn't mean it all needs to be published. Shame on the editor that let this slide through. At this point I could care less what happens to these creatures, as I smile wolfishly...is there any other way to smile?

I suggest reading some of the other 1 star reviews for a more accurate description of this book's flaws. I have no idea what the 4-5 star reviewers read, maybe they got a condensed readers digest version. Right now I'm just so annoyed that I paid for this book.

To end on a positive note, the actress who read the story did very well considering what she had to work with.

Anyway, if you are insistent on reading it, good luck.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews44.8k followers
November 21, 2017
So imagine you’ve written a story about vampires and witches who hunt for a mysterious book full of power and life. The story is set in the modern day with much of the action taking part in the city of Oxford along with many memorable scenes occurring in the Bodleian library. It all sounds pretty decent.

Your central character slowly falls in love with a vampire: the feelings are returned. The two decide to pool their resources as they are both working for very similar aims. Their hunt for the book appears difficult with many people getting in their way. The two appear dangerously close to achieving their aims and the plot feels like it is actually moving forward in a steady direction. Such was the first novel A Discovery of Witches, a novel that had an interesting plot but was drastically hindered by its lacklustre characters and the lifeless romance.

So, as a writer, how do you make this even worse?

Randomly send the couple back in time, of course. The plot went shooting down the toilet at a dramatically high speed. For some reason it takes a huge sweepingly random back-step and transports the characters to the 16th century England under the reign of the Tudors.

I felt like the story was pushed to its absolute breaking point here. It’s like she wanted to write a historical novel about the Elizabethan times, but had already started a fantasy series, so she tried to combine the two. It was weird. It was random. And it really didn’t work. There was little suggestion that such a thing was even possible in the first book and the reasoning for it here, though painstakingly explained with caution and consideration, felt more like a justification than an actual logical reason. It was like she was trying to persuade me for the necessity of such a thing.

Trashy writing, and poor plotting

The series had some potential if Harkness tightened up her writing and gave us a little bit more substance. For me, it was a massive case of telling us how powerful and dangerous her characters were without actually showing it to us. Again, Matthew the all-powerful vampire had a chance to show us his worth which he failed so miserably at in A Discovery of Witches. He was a spy in a former life, supposedly cunning and delightfully skilful at subterfuge. He shows us none of these abilities. All he was good for was his knowledge of living in the Tudor times because he had already done it before, which only gave Dianne another reason to follow him around like a long lost puppy. So she's not the kind of woman I like to read about: she's her man's shadow.

There is also too much going on and as she tries to wrap up her story it’s like one massive juggling act where all loose ends are forcibly tied off and made clean. There was no need to complicate what was a very straightforward narrative. It doesn’t make the writing better. Instead, it just dragged out the story for another book. Personally, this would have been a stronger story if it had been contained to one book.

I read this back in 2014 and I’m still bitter about it. At that time I was still a little unsure about what books I liked, I’d not read much, but reading books like this helped steer me on the right direction into the kind of books I rave about on here today. So, as much as I disliked this book, it was not an entirely wasteful experience.
Profile Image for • Lindsey Dahling •.
325 reviews643 followers
April 30, 2019
A few non-spoilery things (if you’ve finished the first one) you’ll want to know before beginning this (or things I wanted to know and needed my future self to tell me):

1. 95% of this takes place in the past.
There are a few chapters that update you on what’s going on in the present, but those were kind of dull, sooooo...

2. The time traveling will never make sense.
It’s best to just let this go. The 16th century Matthew disappears while present day Matthew is there with his present day wife. When present day people leave, 16th century Matt returns and probably has to say, “Why the hell do y’all think I’m married?” a lot.

3. You will run into those two big historical figures you are hoping to run into.
And I know you all know who I’m talking about.

4. It’s going to move from PG to PG-13.
Thank goodness, tbh.

5. The plot hardly progresses.
But, this is no different than the first book, so I don’t know how you’re surprised.

6. This is like reading a Dickens novel.
You’re going to meet 925338 characters who will never be relevant again. It’s annoying and kind of blah, and yet you’ll still keep reading because you’re invested in the hot British vampire scientist.
Profile Image for Bonnie.
1,376 reviews930 followers
September 24, 2015
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Shadow of Night picks up ​​ immediately after A Discovery of Witches ends (and I do mean immediately with little to no refresher. This was my second attempt at reading and I attribute my success at completing it solely because of this recap I found online which was an immense help.) with Matthew and Diana traveling back into the past to search for Ashmole 782 and to seek Diana help with her powers. For those that don’t remember​​: Ashmole 782: the bewitched alchemical manuscript that Diana found in Oxford’s Bodleian library. After the local witches, daemons, and vampires begin targeting Diana in order to find out how an unskilled witch was able to obtain the manuscript that they believe contains important information about the creation and future of all supernatural creatures.

​​Considering the fact that I loved A Discovery of Witches I was beyond ecstatic when I snagged an ARC copy of Shadow of Night. Diving into it right away in hopes to devour it whole I realized immediately that that’s not how this was going to work. Positively rife with historical detail regarding the Elizabethan era and historical figures as well (Christopher Marlowe, Sir Walter Raleigh, John Dee, William Shakespeare and of course Queen Elizabeth I), this is one that will take some time to get through not just because of the amount of pages. The historical tidbits were interesting but I felt they lacked any sort of purpose and ultimately overpowered the true story making it much more dense and longer than it should have been. The name dropping, while interesting, caused a bit of an eye-roll for me because, did Matthew not have a single uncool friend that failed to make it into the history books? Apparently not. I can appreciate the obvious extent of the research the author conducted but including every interesting person from the time period felt a little like ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ and should have been scaled back a little to focus more on Matthew and Diana.

Shadow of Night definitely had a case of middle book syndrome. Add to that there’s a real non-ending that will likely cause some grumbles. There was progress in the storyline but mostly things of little consequence. My favorite aspects by far were the slight glimpses of the present day and how Matthew and Diana’s actions were inevitably changing the future. It was extremely interesting but those passages were so few and far between that I kept hoping for more. The evolution of Diana’s powers was the most fascinating. Going back in time only resulted in throwing them into chaos and the slight control she did have over them dissipated but discovering the full extent of her powers was truly shocking.

Shadow of Night was definitely my least favorite of the trilogy so far but I’m looking forward to some resolution and seeing how everything turns out. I plan on picking up The Book of Life soon in case Harkness continues her non-recap trend.

7/22/2014: *sigh* Holy shit. I did it. 24 hours of audio is rough. Review to come.

7/6/2014: Re-try. I couldn't get through this the first time I tried reading mostly because there's very little recap and I was having a hard time remembering what occurred in the first book. Found a fabulous repap (http://allsoulstrilogy.wikia.com/wiki...) and am now ready to try this again! Except this time on audio. :)

This? Totally made my day. Or year.


Update: *cries really flipping hard* I got my hopes all up and everything.

**This title is currently available for librarian, bookseller and long lead media requests. All other requests will be approved closer to the publication date.**

On Netgalley!

I think I'd offer up a kidney in exchange for this if I thought it'd do any good.
Profile Image for Frances.
44 reviews26 followers
July 14, 2012
I was fairly eager to read Shadow of Night after reading Discovery of Witches. I didn't hate it. I didn't love it. While I certainly had my qualms about the first book book (you can read my review to see about that), my review of Shadow of Night is equally ambivalent, but for different reasons.


First, the good:

- Harkness finally utilizes her skills as an Elizabethan historian for more than painting a sentimental picture of Oxford. Taking her characters into Elizabethan England was smart because it allowed her to create a more vibrant setting than before, borrowing from a vast knowledge of tiny facts and details to transport the reader to 1590s Oxford and London. I especially enjoyed reading about Diana's wardrobe and her initial difficulties mastering the dialects of the time.

- In Shadow, Harkness creates a version of Diana that is MUCH more likable than the first. Unlike the first book, she is not ceaselessly crying, nor does she seem as attracted to Matthew's more Edward Cullen-ish controlling tendencies. Instead, she creates a woman who is much more believable as a strong, capable, bright academic--one who is willing to stand up for what she wants and who doesn't let her husband bully her as he did in the first book.

- The witchcraft writing is definitely stronger in this book than the last. I enjoyed the weaving elements, if the time travel was a bit weak. We finally get to see Diana demonstrate some mastery of her craft and learn from witches who can do way cooler stuff than either of her aunts. The firedrake could be a seriously fun character in the future. Although Harkness takes a while to get to these scenes in the book (about halfway through, actually), once she does, the plot really starts to take off.

- Oddly, the fathers are the best new characters in the book, which is sad because they are both dead in the present time. Steven Proctor is delightfully foppish, and I love that he takes the time to embarrass the hell out of his vampire son-in-law. I wish there was a way we'd see him again, because he might be my new favorite character. Phillipe is also a vibrant new character whom I like most because of his arrogance. He is larger than life in a way I think Harkness meant Matthew to be in the first book, but didn't quite attain. I'm sad he won't reappear in the third book (at least, it's unlikely unless somehow Diana and Matthew changed time enough to save his life...hmm...not impossible).

The bad:

- Harkness still needs to work on her character building. A lot people have remarked that they are not really in love with the characters, and a big part of that is because of their inconsistencies. Diana's fear of her own magic made a little sense when she was a crybaby (although that never really jibed with her success as an academic--I'm in that world, and it's competitive). Now that she's abandoned the tears for the second book, it makes no sense that she is still scared of learning about her own magic and the world from whence she comes. She's a HISTORIAN OF ALCHEMY, for pete's sake! She's the definition of someone who should be bending over backwards to learn how to use magic.

- Matthew, on the other hand, seems to fade into the shadow after which he is nicknamed. Despite the fact that we learn so much more of his backstory in this book, it often felt like he was a spectator in the scenes he was in rather than a protagonist. As a result, the more emotionally wrenching scenes between him and Diana seem to come out of nowhere. He was a crabby old man for the first half of the book, often absent on unexplained "spy work," and then suddenly he turned back into Will Darcy. His dialogue often came out of nowhere, and his body never seemed to do more than stand at windows and run his hands through his hair.

- "The moon between my thighs." Enough said.

- Too many of the secondary characters collapse into one another. The School of Night all essentially had the same personalities, the most irritating of which was Kit Marlowe (I still don't understand why Matthew didn't just kill him). All of the secondary vampires talked the same and looked the same, male or female. Francoise, Pierre, Gallowglass, Hancock, Benjamin...does it really matter? Just write "INTIMIDATING VAMPIRE" and be done with it.

All in all, I think your ability to enjoy this book and the series as a whole depends on your willingness to cast a blind eye at the stuff you don't like on a regular basis. For me, the escape of the story provides enough to want to read it and finish the series. I mostly just want to know what the writing is in the mysterious book. I also wouldn't mind meeting their kids. But if you're a stickler for things like pretty prose, stable character development, and sensible time-travel writing, this may not be the book for you.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kristi.
291 reviews4 followers
July 21, 2012
I'm bored out of my mind and just can't read another page. I've been reading this book for over a week, hundreds and hundreds of pages, and virtually nothing has happened. There has been so little forward progress, it's astonishing. Too many boring, insignificant characters have been introduced. The amount of historical information and intricate detail is remarkable, but also mind-numbing. So many times I wanted to scream "Just get on with the story already!". Farewell Diana and Matthew. I hope you get your happily ever after.

Update: It's two days later and I'm even more angry about not being able to finish this book. I love long, engaging epics. Why, why, WHY couldn't this be one of those?
15 reviews
July 27, 2012
This book was unbearable. I wrote a really lengthy review then lost it before saving, but I have so many problems with this book that I honestly don't feel like writing them up again.

I'm just going to lay out some general reasons why you shouldn't read this book:

Most of the new characters are either boring or annoying. Matthew also becomes immensely annoying with his constant desire to keep secrets and treat her like she is incapable of understanding him.

If a character is annoying the author will make sure they appear often.

The treatment of time travel is so illogical that I can't look past it no matter how much I wanted to like this book. First, Matthew's former self simply disappears from the past when they arrive. This would imply that going back changes the past such that when they return, things will be dramatically different. They then proceed to do countless things that would seriously alter the future. Despite that, nothing appears wrong when they return way too late into the book (only two chapters of them back in the present). Add on top of that, the fact that they could have time traveled to another period the second the setting no longer seemed favorable but didn't was ridiculous. Instead, they proceed to do a massive number of unnecessary things that could have been avoided if any character in the story had simply been smart enough to remember that the main character can time travel whenever she wants to.

Furthermore, the book doesn't stay true to the characters. The fact that Matthew didn't kill Kit on multiple occasions throughout the book was completely untrue to the character. Especially the final time when he kidnaps Diana and talks about how he wants to cut out her eyes. Which further highlights how Harkness was fighting to find things to fill the pages when this book would have been better if it was shorter.

The main character may grow stronger in terms of controlling her power, but she remains mentally weak. That's fine for a first book, but it's a really bad sign for a second book. This lack of development also shows up through Matthew's constant withholding of the truth. On top of that, for some reason her magic is different when she travels back in time. The fact that the time travel likely caused this is mentioned often, but I still can't grasp why such a change was in any way necessary or for that matter desired for any reason beyond extending the plot when it was already so out of whack.

On top of that, the author didn't spend enough time making sure the plot made sense. There was no reason for them to stay in the 16th century. This isn't some "the portal will open only on this day so and so months from now" book. The main character can time travel whenever she wants to, to whatever time or place she wants to if she has the right items. The fact that they didn't leave makes about as much sense as the fact that she can't time travel to the present that she left so as to avoid any time from passing in the present. Instead, when they return roughly a year has passed. But, I guess that does enforce the trend of Harkless being consistent in her attempts to make sure that time travel makes absolutely no sense at all in this book.

Please do not read this book. Read the next one when it comes out. Put this at the end of the list. If you're desperate, it's okay for you to read it. If you're not, just don't.

This is only one of three books I have reviewed of the 250 on my read shelf. The rest I only rated. That is how much I dislike this book. I'm also going to remove it from my kindle and am legitimately weighing whether or not to permanently remove it from my kindle account so I never have to see it again.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kyla.
63 reviews
November 4, 2012
I wish I could give this book more than 3 stars. To be honest it's receiving three only because I it piqued my interest just enough to finish it.

I was so excited to read the second installment to Diana and Matthew's journey after reading The Discovery of Witches a couple of years ago and absolutely adoring the first book!

This book, I found, was too long with too many unnecessary characters. Yes I became aware after reading the book that there is a glossary in the back of the book....but on a Kindle you do not see that glossary or know about it until you reach the end of the book! LOL

The first third of the book I found to be incredibly slow. It involved the 2 main characters sitting around with other members of history simply spending time in a house babbling and arguing over "what to do next?" over and over while the author kept adding in more and more tid bits of history that did not advance the plot or build characters at all. It began to read much like a history text book.

The plot I found disorganized throughout the book, it always felt like there was something that I missed somewhere along the way. It almost felt like rules kept getting changed as the author wrote the book so to suit her needs and the "plot's" needs which left everything choppy and disjointed. I may very well be wrong, but that was the feeling I had while reading.

I also became frustrated with the lack of character growth with Diana and Matthew. There was a few cliched and contrived "profound" moments, but they felt forced and a little bit eye-rolling in a way.

The way things were described became slightly repetitive after awhile, if I have to read "and my witch's third eye opened" again I will cringe lol and I always pictured a literal eyeball opening up in the middle of her forhead...weirdness!! Along with the whole world being draped with embroidery floss and bits of ropes and string, it became more ludicrous than anything else to me. I understand that it was maybe a way to write something different that no one has really written before in regards to vampires/witches/time travel etc, but it came across as more funny than effective. Too many ideas written weakly than focusing on one or two and creating a really strong atmosphere throughout the book.

Sadly overall I was disappointed with the book. It was far too long with too much "extra writing" that did not have anything to do with characters/plot which could have made the book far shorter and faster paced. (I know, I know, please don't throw stones! LOL) it's just my opinion, and only that, I did truly love the first book!

The redeeming character in this book was Phillipe and I do wish he had played a bigger part or that there is some way to re introduce him in the third book. Somehow?
and kudos to the author as it did hold my interest long enough to want to know ultimately what happened and read through to the ending.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews34 followers
September 25, 2021
Shadow of Night (All Souls #2), Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night is a 2012 historical-fantasy novel by American scholar Deborah Harkness, the second book in the All Souls trilogy.

As the sequel to the 2011 A Discovery of Witches, it follows the story of Diana Bishop, a historian who comes from a long line of witches, and Matthew Clairmont, a long-lived vampire, as they unlock the secrets of an ancient manuscript.

Diana and Matthew travel back in time to 16th century London during the Elizabethan era.

Book Two of the All Souls Trilogy plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies and subterfuge, and a group of Matthew’s old friends who are part of School of Night.

The mission is to locate a witch to tutor Diana and to find traces of Ashmole 782.

As the net of Matthew’s past tightens around them they embark on a very difficult journey.

They find Goody Alsop to guide Diana. With her friends, Alsop helps Diana to understand that she is a weaver, one who creates her own spells.

They also help her evoke her familiar, a dragon (firedrake) that acts as a protector. Diana and Matthew come to know that Ashmole 782 is made out of materials of creatures like skin, bones, blood, etc and could be a codex of creature reproduction.

Matthew Clairmont and Diana discover that time travel is no simple matter as they have to confront their ancestors; neither is their search for understanding themselves and retrieving the key that holds the legacy of creatures shadowed by history and secrets.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز بیست و چهارم ماه آوریل سال 2021میلادی

عنوان: سایه شب کتاب دوم از سه گانه کشف جادوگران (تمام ارواح)؛ دبورا ای هارکنِس؛ مترجم: سوگند رجبی‌نسب؛ تهران، بهنام 1399؛ در دو جلد؛ شابک دوره9786226651608؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 21م

عنوان کتاب نخست این سه گانه مشهور خیال‌پردازیِ تاریخی با عنوان «تمام ارواح»، «کشف جادوگران» است؛ که نویسنده و مورخ آمریکایی، «دبورا هارکنز» نگاشته اند، و برای نخستین بار در سال 2011میلادی منتشر گردید؛ در درون کتابخانه ی «بادلیان دانشگاه آکسفورد»، پژوهشگری جوان به نام «دیانا بیشاب» ناخواسته به کتابی کیمیاگری دست مییابد، که جادویی است؛ «دیانا» خود زنی از اصل و نسب جادوگران است، اما به هیچوجه با جادو کاری ندارد؛ او نگاهی اجمالی به کتاب میاندازد، و آن را به کتابخانه پس میدهد، اما غافل از اینکه همین کار کوچک پای «جادوگرها»، «دمن ها»، و «خون آشامها»ی دیگری، از جمله خون آشامی توانمند، و هزار و پانصد ساله را، به ماجرا باز میکند، که آینده و سرنوشت «دیانا» را دیگر میکند؛ موجودات گوناگونی در پی آن کتاب کیمیاگری هستند، که سالها گم شده بود، آنان «دیانا» را وارد ماجراهایی میکنند که استفاده از جادو در آنها، ناممکن است، چرا که او تنها کسی است که میتواند طلسم کتاب را بشکند

کتاب «سایه شب» دنباله ای که بر داستان «کشف جادوگران» است، داستانی زیبا و فانتزی، از تاریخنگار و پژوهشگر نامدار کشور «ایالات متحده آمریکا»، «دبورا هارکنس»، که پس از فروش خوب اثر نخست، در ادامه ی داستان پیشین به رشته ی نگارش درآمده؛ داستان درباره ی یک مورخ، به نام «دیانا بیشاپ» است، که از پیشینه ی خانوادگی بلند و بالایی از جادوگران برخوردار است؛ او به همراه «متیو»، که یک خون آشام با عمری دراز است، رازهای موجود در نوشته ای کهن را بازگشایی میکند، و میتواند در زمان سفر کرده و به شهر «لندن» در سده ی شانزدهم میلادی، که دوران سلطنت «ملکه الیزابت» است، برگردد؛ اکنون در ادامه ی ماجرای «کشف جادوگران»، قصه «سایه شب» آغاز شده که «متیو» و «دیانا» به «لندن» دوران «ملکه الیزابت»، یعنی به جهانی پر از جاسوسی، و پنهانکاری، که چند تن از دوستان «متیو» نیز، در آن عضو یک مدرسه ی شبانه هستند، وارد شده اند؛ ماموریت آنها این است، که جادوگری را پیدا کنند، تا به «دیانا» آموزش بدهد، تا «دیانا» چیزی را پیدا کند، که شاید دارای رمزی برای ادامه ی نسل جانداران باشد، اما تار و پود بگذشته ی «متیو»، به دست و پای آنها پیچیده، و دو دلداده را، در مسیری دشوار قرار میدهد؛ پس از پیدا کردن جادوگر دلخواسته، او و دوستانش به «دیانا» یاری میکنند، تا متوجه شود که او جادوگری است، که توانایی ایجاد طلسمهای یگانه را دارد، «متیو» و «دیانا» متوجه میشوند، که سفر در زمان به آن آسانیها نیست، چرا که آنان باید با اجداد خود نیز روبرو شوند، و همچنین جستجوی آنها برای فهمیدن خویشتن، و بازیابی آنچه که به نظر میرسد میراث جانداران است، با سایه های سیاه رازهای تاریخی پوشانده شده اند

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 02/07/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for E.L. James.
Author 51 books56.2k followers
September 1, 2012
What a wonderful, vibrant, rich exciting thriller/mystery/love story this is.
Loved how the supernatural is woven through the story as Diana and Matthew journey through Elizabethan Europe.
A cracking read, and a worthy sequel to DoW. Can't wait for the next one.
Profile Image for Karen Ng.
472 reviews91 followers
October 5, 2014
Every so often, a book comes along. It’s everything you imagine a great fiction to be. It evokes the tremendous joy of just being able to read, to immerse yourself in a book so fully, to jump into a journey where every sense in your body is heightened, and your mind stimulated. Then the last page is turned, you sigh with sadness since you know you will not be able to find another book like this for a long, long time.

Shadow of Night is such a book.

I wrote these in my review of the first book of the trilogy:

“The author has in depth knowledge not only about history, but also science, architecture, Europe, culinary delights and wine… The book immediately reminded me of "The Historian" by Elizabeth Kostova, since both story took me to places in Europe that I've never been and historical periods that were so enlightening…..The story will be a delight for people who actually enjoy accurate scientific, historical, culinary and geographical information. The author has a wealth of knowledge and a unique style of writing and she's willing to share.”

The review still rings true for the second installment, and more so. For readers who disliked the first installment of the series due to the slowness of the beginning, you’ll be delighted to hear that this book started right at the part where the first book dropped off, and is a thrill ride all the way to the end. You can also find satisfactory answers to most, if not all the burning questions that you had after reading A Discovery of Witches. I know it’s a gruesome wait for the second book in the series, but the wait is well worth it…this book surpassed everything I had imagined it to be.

The story begins right where the first book left off, Matthew and Diana landed in Elizabethan England, 1590, hoping to find the enchanted Ashmole 782, as well as someone to help the spellbound Diana to learn her abilities. You’ll be surprised to encounter real historical characters that came alive under Harkness’ pen. Harkness’ take on Christopher Marlowe, Elizabeth I, Walter Raleigh and others were unique and creative, yet totally believable. I wrote in my review of ADoW how I fell in love with all the characters in the first book, yet I’m equally invested in all the new characters in Shadow of Night, both historical and fictional. It’s heartbroken to realize that these characters live in another space and time, and the only way I could reconnect with them is through the re-reading of this book.

If you loved A Discovery of Witches because of Harkness’ extensive and detailed descriptions of everything, you’re in for another treat. Harkness bought Elizabethan England to life using her professional knowledge and her unique writing voice: fashion, writing, architecture, food, music, writing, cooking, art, jewelries, home decors, smell of spices, and even the sound of church bells…. Be prepared to be immersed into 1600 Europe, from England to France and Prague, whether if you’re prepared or not. I recommend you to drop or finish every other book in your list to get ready for the most sensual ride in your life.

I also love how Harkness incorporated a short chapter of the present after each part of the book. It shows how Diana and Matthew’s interference with the past affects the future. Everything that we do or not do has an impact in future, especially in our loved one and family’s life. Hopefully, history is valued and lessons learned. These chapters showed us how important it is to seize the moment and live your life, because there’s no going back. A few tender moments bought tears to my eyes. Compared to ADoW, the second book is much more emotional.

Romance. Matthew and Diana in the 1600s were not without their problems. Matthew in Elizabethan era was a much more complex and dark character. The society was also less friendly for females, especially a witch with a weird accent. However, fans looking forward to more romance between them will not be disappointed. There are lots and lots of tender moments and love. It made up for what was lacking in A Discovery of Witches.

If I write anymore here, this review will become a book! I do have a few recommendations before you jump in for the journey of your life: 1) Read A Discovery of Witches first. There’s no way you could understand the plot and all the complexity of this book if you don’t know the history of the characters. 2) Many new characters are introduced in this book. Use the appendix/Guide at the end of the book to familiar yourself with them. They are divided by location, quite clever. 3) If you are going to look for a simple, easy read for entertainment, this book is not for you; but if you love history, science, Europe, art, literature, geography, religion, philosophy, (food and wine for ADoW)…then, get this book (and the first).

(Thanks for Penguin Group for allowing me to access an advance ebook for review through NetGalley. This book will be published on July 10, 2012)
Profile Image for Erica.
307 reviews
June 8, 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)!
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,103 followers
December 17, 2017
Re-read 12/17/17

I didn't dislike this novel any on a re-read. Indeed, knowing what's going to occur in the next novel actually improved the overall plot for me.

I originally came to the conclusion that most of the historical plots were relatively inconsequential. After all, aren't we playing tourists with the time-travel bits? But no. The plots and the carry-through with a large cast of characters both vampire and other feels entirely justified on the re-read.

Other than that, I pretty much squeed all over again because of the mightily researched and loved past of 1590. Add a ton of real personages and give them so much life and verve and it feels like I just nerded out.

And the straight UF experience is only enhanced. :)

Oh, and let's be honest here. It's a romance. No matter how I try to deny it, it's all romance. :)

Original Review:

The inner English Lit fanboy in me went squee many times as I read this one. I was teased and thrilled and thoroughly amused by being plopped into Elisabeth's England and Austria and France, meeting all of the fascinating characters of the time. Shakespeare was always an inconsequential flop in the background and Kit was suddenly thrust into the limelight like I thought he always ought to have been.

The novel took a sharp turn from urban fantasy into historical fantasy, rich and detailed and a pure delight to behold. And yet, we all know language is always going to be a problem so I didn't really mind that late middle English was seamlessly translated into the modern English. It allows us the joy without any of the hardships. Indeed, the whole novel was some of the easiest complicated tales I've ever had the pleasure of staying up all night to read. I loved the first novel, but this one tickled a lot of fancy bones for me.

The plot in this or the previous novel is relatively inconsequential. The people are much more important, and the care and detail put into them is pure magic. Of course, magic is fun while the stormclouds slowly encroach upon the sunny day, but we can feel the raindrops forming and the time for preparation is slipping away.

I'm a big fan of this novel. Magic isn't much of a crutch, but the developments are enough to push the reader through a few of the snags. That being said, I had a great time reading it and have no regrets about the directions it has taken. I'm thoroughly invested.
Profile Image for Lucia.
735 reviews815 followers
September 9, 2023
My Diana and Matthew:

Wow, what a sophisticated and remarkable story! Shadow of Night was like nothing I have ever read before and it surpassed all my expectations. This book offers the most amazing mixture of romance, history, paranormal and action. It was equally good (if not better) as first book and I enjoyed reading this book immensely.

Shadow of Night is that kind of book which you cannot put down because you need to know how things are going to end up. Simultaneously, you are trying to read it slowly because you never want to finish it.

Shadow of Night is eventful book, there is no single boring part since something is happening all the time. It was really fascinating to read about Diana's encouters with famous historical figures and her attempts to merge into world in 1590. And while first half of the book was interesting, second half was absolutely exciting and thrilling because of all that magical things Diana learnt about herself.
"But it is the stone that best captures who you are: bright on the surface, fiery within and impossible to break."

This book is full of new characters which I grew fond of immediately. Especially the Matthew's father and nephew. What is it about the men from de Clairmont family? It is impossible to resist them. Matthew in particular! And the bond that Diana and Matthew developed in this book was so beautiful and it made their relationship perfect in my eyes.

Shadow of Night answered plenty of questions about Diana's magical powers, Ashmole 782 manuscript and de Clairmont family. But one questions remained unanswered - how I am going to handle the waiting for the final book?
"“Philippe told me that mating was destiny. Once I found you, there would be nothing to do but accept fate’s decision. But that’s not how it works at all. In every moment, for the rest of my life, I will be choosing you—over my father, over my own self-interest, even over the de Clermont family.”"

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Profile Image for Samantha.
221 reviews68 followers
December 4, 2013
As soon as I finished A Discovery of Witches, I immediately went online to find out when I should expect the sequel. It was a long wait, but completely worth it. Harkness' view of Elizabethan London and Europe is just awesome, and the trip to Prague was an added bonus that I had not expected. Not only did the plot line get more compelling, but Harkness was also able to weave in the difficulties of the newly wed. I savored every minute of this novel, and I can hardly wait to get it on audio.

Audio was just outstanding and I think I will be a freak and listen to it again sooner rather than later :)
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,535 reviews9,956 followers
January 20, 2019

I'm not even sure where to begin. I didn't like this book as much as the first one. I loved the first one! I'm not sure what happened... my mood..the book itself. I do believe the last book in the trilogy will be as good as the first and I can't wait to read it.

There were so many people in this book, but the author listed in the back of the book who everyone was in case you got lost. Some of the things seemed to drag on but I can see where the author needed to add so much information. I didn't mind that one in the first one, but I still can't put my finger on what went wrong with this book.

On that note, I did love a lot of the book. I loved the ending the most!! I don't want to add a spoiler but I am so excited to see what's going to come of this new predicament!

I enjoyed meeting Diana and Matthew's fathers in this book. That was a mild spoiler, but your going back to the past so what do you expect :)

Diana learns some different things about herself and Matthew for that matter. I absolutely loved her firedrake!

They didn't really get what they set out to do, but they did learn a lot of things.

I loved that Diana didn't really put up with much of anyone's crap in the book. Matthew on the other hand was different. He wasn't a force to be reckoned with, he was just there. I'm not sure if it was the time, his father, or what, but he came to his senses as the book got closer to the end.

I sooooo wish I could mention the end but I know there are some people that haven't read it so I will keep that to myself :)

I would rate this book on my feelings right now as a 3.5. It makes me feel like I'm letting Diana and Matthew down. Yes, I get into my characters! Don't judge me :)

I look forward to The Book of Life!

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Profile Image for Angela.
326 reviews59 followers
July 24, 2012

Historical detail & slow pace drags down sequel

Though I had a rocky experience with Harkness' first novel, A Discovery of Witches, I began reading Shadow of Night with hopes that its setting in the past would add intrigue and excitement to the unfolding story. Unfortunately, it did not, and the story became more plodding and convoluted in this installment.

Shadow of Night suffered most from its almost obsession-like focus on detailing every aspect of the historical period in which it was set. From particulars about the floor coverings to the convenient inclusion of almost every notable figure of the time, I felt bogged down in the details and the name-dropping. Character development also progressed in fits and spurts and ultimately stalled. Though Matthew and Diana have some "breakthrough" moments in their relationship, Diana remains relatively incompetent and reckless and Matthew continues to be controlling and possessive. Slow pacing made the first 80% of the novel drag, and very little time or attention was given to the threats or worries of the present day. When action or plot movement did occur, it provided little tension or excitement. The couple's impetus to be in the past - to hone Diana's magic and to find Ashmole 782 - often got lost among historical notes and unrelated intrigue. The mythology regarding time travel and Diana's magical skills was also unclear and seemed to contradict itself at times.

Even though Shadow of Night didn't work for me, this book might be an enjoyable read for those who love history and detail. The time spent exploring Diana's magic and her special capabilities was interesting, as was the information revealed toward the end of the novel about Ashmole 782 and its related prophecy; I finished the book wanting to know more about each. The story also provided some insight into Matthew's character and how his past and his family had shaped him. Chapters set in the present day that were interspersed between sections also provided glimpses into what was happening in the present-day world and moved things along for the secondary characters. Of all of the different parts in the book, I enjoyed these infrequent additions the most.

While I can appreciate the ambitious nature of Harkness' series, I left this second book of the trilogy feeling unmoved again by the story or its characters. Even such, I will likely read the final installment when it comes out to see what happens to Diana, Matthew, and all those connected by Ashmole 782. As she wraps up her story, I hope that Harkness provides readers with faster pacing, clearer world building, and more character development.

Note: This review refers to an advance review copy.
Profile Image for paige.
634 reviews732 followers
May 5, 2023
"Maybe spells are nothing more than words that you believe with all your heart."


This book picked up exactly where the first left off. Or 422 years earlier, if you want to be accurate. Diana ends up in a life she's only ever read about and finds out very quickly that reading about something and experiencing it are two very different things. Like anything else in her life though, she adapts and takes it on with a determination I can only imagine.

That doesn't come with only her own mind though. Beside Matthew, she meets so many people that touched his life once upon a time. His friends, his family, his father... who in their time had passed on. Everyone who has touched Matthew's past begins to be a part of Diana's present, leaving their impact on her heart in all the same ways they had Matthew. And for him, it feels like an opportunity to fix past mistakes.

The issue is that they were PAST mistakes. Anything they attempt to change in his past affects their future, which isn't necessarily good for the issues they escaped by running to the past in the first place.

I loved everything about this book, but the thing I loved most was Diana and Matthew's ability to adapt. To communicate. To understand each other. Did they have their trials? Absolutely, all new couples do, but this book really captured what it means to work together rather then alone. To love rather than expect love. To love another heart and soul rather than with exceptions.

We find out pretty early on in the first book that Matthew holds himself to a high standard because of events in his past. Being forced to face them seems to be the only way to confront and move on from them. He has an eternal life ahead of him, with or without Diana in it, and to not feel worthy of her while they're together is a disservice to them both.

I loved watching him work through that. I love that he had his father to lean on for a time, a father who loves him no matter his flaws. No matter his future. Unconditionally. Philippe says to him, "You are equally worthy of her. Stop regretting your life. Start living it."

And so Matthew does. Even if it takes this entire book to do it, he does. And I'm so proud of him for it.

I could never choose whose journey in this book meant more to me, but I can't wait to see how it concludes in The Book of Life.

- Paige
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
940 reviews14k followers
October 2, 2021
thank god that's over!!!!!

it took me 2 months to make it barely 30% into this book because i was so miserably bored. it's long, nearly 600 pages with small font, and every time i felt i had been reading it for a long time, i'd look up and realize i'd only gotten through about 10 pages. i very, very nearly gave up, but blessedly was able to find it on audiobook instead, which i've recently been getting back into.

so then naturally i listened to the other 70% of this book in one day. don't ask me why or how.

i much preferred this book on audio. i'm still mourning the fact that i liked book one a lot and this one was such a downgrade on so many levels. a discovery of witches had the perfect structure with setting up a mystery and this main character's tragic backstory while also acquainting you with the world of "magical" creatures and giving you a whole rivals-to-lovers romance, complete with supernatural angst and a tinge of forbidden love.

this book, by comparison, seemed like the author's (failed, boring) attempt to flex as much historical knowledge as she could throw at you. the main plot of this book was diluted with SO many side plots and characters that it felt aimless for its entire duration. at some points i appreciated it for what it was trying to do, using real people as characters in a magical world, especially thrust back in a century that i don't think i've ever read in fiction before. but more often than not i wished the author would have quit overexplaining history to me when i was just there to read about witches and vampires and solving the main mystery. this book only stuck to that for about 50 pages total.

personal preference here, but i also just hate books with so this was a BIG ol struggle, but that's just one of the side effects that comes from the full romance arc between diana and matthew occurring in book one. and, i guess, reading an adult fantasy as opposed to YA. but after book one tied up the romance so perfectly (), the drama and angst of their relationship felt really low-stakes in this volume, excluding the times when matthew's vampire instincts emerge when he defends her from other men or gets her out of danger. (side note: which in a book about diana being such a badass independent woman, those two concepts really go head to head.) i do like that the couple confronted secrets they'd been harboring from one another and truly got closer to each other, but i'm not going to lie, some of their romance felt melodramatic and i was left feeling like their most iconic scenes are already past. )

my whole experience of this book is total disappointment. i'll never forget that after i finished book one, i RACED to my local independent bookstore to pick up the last two books, convinced i was going to love it. but to be honest, i just read the synopsis for book three and it seems like you can pretty much exclude this book from the series and it wouldn't change much other than some character development and the 16+ hours you'll lose off your life by deciding to read it. but if you love history and have a much bigger attention span, you might've had a vastly different experience than me.
Profile Image for Deborah Obida.
679 reviews620 followers
June 28, 2020
Buddy read with Ruthie

Shadow of Night was a disappointment, it hurts because I have low expectations for this book, this book would have been better if it was 150-200 pages shorter.

This book started just where A discovery of Witches ended with Matthew and Diana travelling to the past, the year 1590. The writing is fun in some parts and other times boring and repetitive.

Even though this book this book is written in Diana a female's POV, this book is not diverse, the romance was cool, I love the world building, it's one of my highlights of this book.

Diana was annoying and naive in most part of the book and other times she was fun. The worst part was that she acts like a child most of the time, she's 33 years old, a grown adult woman. Her relationship with Matthew had a lot of rocky parts in this book, the Matthew of the 16th century is different from the one she knows.

Matthew was equal part cool and equal part annoying, he lost himself in that century. Matthew's multiple secrets and lives made their visit into the past harder than it ought to be.

Jack an eight years boy is my favourite character in this book. I just wish the author invested more in his character. This part broke my heart.

“Master Roydon?” Jack sidled closer to Matthew. His chin was trembling. Matthew’s hand shot out and grabbed him by the collar, stopping him before he could get too close to me. Jack didn’t flinch. “Are you having a nightmare?”
Matthew’s hand dropped, releasing the boy.. “Yes, Jack. A terrible nightmare.”
Jack slid his hand into Matthew’s. “I will wait by your side until it passes.” My eyes pricked with tears.

Gallowglass is another cool character that I can't wait to meet in the 21st century. He is Matthew's vampire nephew.

The school of night is cool, I like Matthew's friends. Philippe was a character I did not expect to like, he's such a smart and intelligent man who loves his family.

The plan was to go to 1590, find someone to teach Diana how her magic works and find Ashmole 782. The plan has way too many holes, they didn't anticipate the troubles that they found. Most due to Matthew's arrogance and a few Diana's naivety. They spent seven months in the past which is not good at all.
Profile Image for Laura.
411 reviews
August 20, 2012
I FINALLY finished this darn book - thank heavens. It was a struggle and I was so disappointed. It was OK in the very beginning, then got totally lost in all of the non-directional padding and finally had some of the earlier pizzazz in the last 10 pages. I'm sure I'll read the last one, but not with any of the excitement that I had while waiting for #2. When I turned over the last page I was furious to find that while I was struggling to keep all of the characters straight in my mind...they were all LISTED by section and described. Who looks at the end of a book for such helpful aides? I sure didn't! Grrrrr.

Recommendation: Before you get too deeply ionvolved, check out the list of characters in the end of the book before you get as confused as I was!
Profile Image for Trish.
2,018 reviews3,436 followers
January 8, 2018

This is the second book in the All Souls trilogy and mostly takes place in 1590/1591 after Diana and Matthew have time-walked there to be safe from the congregation, find the manuscript of Ashmole 782, as well as a witch capable of teaching Diana about her strange magic.
It is thus that we meet characters like Walter Raleigh, Christopher Marlowe, Elizabeth I and even Matthew's father Philippe, who has quickly become my favourite character (along with Matt's nephew Gallowglass).
The book takes place in London (Blackfriars), France (Sept-Tours), and Prague - as well as some modern places few and far between.

Once again, it is remarkable how much research has gone into the authenticity of the settings and Deborah Harkness has brought all the places to life in an uncanny way. I liked especially how she acknowledged and therefore incorporated the difficulties a time-traveller would definitely have to face, no matter how many history books one might have read. Too often in fiction people just travel back, wear the right clothes and all is well. Here, even the vampire who has lived through these times before has difficulties, let alone his modern-day wife, which only made the frame of the story more realistic.

It's therefore also no surprise that many things go wrong and it is once again friends and family Diana and Matthew have to rely on in order to survive - a theme already established in the first book that I adore as it also means the family you make, not just blood relatives.
It emphasized the point that history is not an exact science (no matter how much Diana would like it - and magic - to be just that) but rather one day after another just as in our lives and that the two protagonists have to improvise in order to get what they want and need. It's a process that makes them both learn about themselves as much as the world they live in and there are some sneaky similarities to the scientific mystery they are trying to solve.

One of my absolute favourite bits about this book was Goody Alsop and the coven of witches she assembled and how they taught Diana - so atmospheric, giving the reader this warm and comfy feeling! Just like Philippe did in his time's version of Sept-Tours! I really love that man.
The other thing I've come to really appreciate is the author's love for details. While the German dialogues (spoken at the court of the Emperor in Prague) were atrocious and the Spanish weren't much better (which made me wonder about the Latin bits - I really wish I had had Latin in school), there are many details added through the names of places or people such as the falcon named Šárka after a folklore character or Gallowglass having been an order of mostly Scottish mercenaries between the 13th and 16th century that lend their name to one of the best characters here because of that character's roots and personality. Even Peter Stubbe made an appearance through a newspaper article!

There is certainly heartship in here such as and I expect there to be at least as much in the next book, but there are light and funny moments in here as well. These moments being so pronounced because every single character, main and secondary, is fully fleshed out and distinctive.

It might have taken me a while to read this but that is in no way the book's fault. While it is quite thick and dense with information and events, it is never boring and the audio version was, once again, very good.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,740 reviews712 followers
October 7, 2017
October 2017: Changing my rating to 5 stars. When settling in to reread this one, all I could remember is that they were going to the past. There were so many things I was delighted to be surprised with, so many characters I loved, and a few I wanted to junk punch. I will definitely be starting book 3 right away.

Original review
4.5 stars

I definitely enjoyed it more than the first book. Love where it starts, where it ends and everything in between. I can't wait to see where book 3 is going to take us.
Profile Image for angela .
785 reviews135 followers
August 25, 2020
What a journey this book brings us on. A fun at times yet a serious book, I enjoyed it very much. Who would have thought finding a book would be so dam hard. I can’t wait to find out exactly what’s in the bloody book lol. I hope it’s worth it in the end.
Profile Image for ☕️Kimberly  (Caffeinated Reviewer).
3,095 reviews665 followers
July 2, 2017
The tale literally picks up right where Discovery of Witches left off. Diana and Matthew find themselves landing back in Elizabethan London. Diana is thrilled to be able to visit a period she has studied but finds herself woefully unprepared. She quickly realizes that even with her education she is completely out of her element. From her speech to her mannerism it is obvious to all; she isn’t from around here. With the aid of Matthew’s eccentric friends, they will work to assist Diana with these skills, secure a witch to train her and find the lost copy of Asmole 782. The tale that unfolds is absolutely breathtaking, filled with suspense, romance, danger and iconic characters throughout Elizabethan history.

The characters in the All Souls Trilogy are flawed, fleshed out and I absolutely adore them. Diana finds herself out of her element. Her witchcraft is acting all sorts of bonkers. She is living in a time when witches are burned at the stake, the clothes are barbaric and women have no rights. In this novel we get to see tremendous growth in Diana. Her love and understanding of Matthew grows. She becomes more confident in her own skin and continues to be loyal, fearless and stubborn. I loved watching her discover her talents as a witch. This provides both funny and frightening scenes as her inability to control them creates mayhem. Then of course there is Matthew *swoons*. In this novel we learn so much about him and what has molded the modern day version. His history is both fascinating and sad. We get to see a darker side of Matthew as he confronts his past. He loves Diana but things are holding him back. I loved discovering his inner-workings. Diana peeled back his layers, bringing them closer together. The soft, tender side of Matthew was beautiful. There are a few flash forwards to present time and the characters we love. This provides insight into how Matthew and Diana are changing the future. We spend most of the novel in the years 1590 and 1591. This affords us the opportunity to witness history, attend the queen, and meet many historical characters. Harkness did a fantastic job of weaving them in the tale and giving them voice. I adored getting to know Gallowglass and Matthew’s father. The Queen and other characters gave me the chills and I feared for Diana.

Harkness has an incredible gift for world-building. She brought the Elizabethan era to life. Her interpretation of the queen, the atmosphere, and the smells of London lifted the tale right from the pages and I become completely immersed. It is immediately evident that a tremendous amount of research went into writing this novel. I was delighted by the historical accuracy and believability. From the buildings, merchants and furnishing, Harkness's imagery was enthralling. The characters she introduced were fleshed-out, and my feelings toward them reflected that. Shadow of Night held my attention and kept me up late two evening in a row, but it was worth every sleep-deprived minute. Harkness spun twists and turns into the plot that completely captivating me. We travel all over Europe and I loved all the little details. The fear of discovery and the atmosphere of the times, especially towards witches made this tale very suspenseful. The romance between Diana and Matthew was genuine and beautifully portrayed. There was coupling and it was done beautifully. Even the most delicate reader won’t be offended. Watching their growth as a couple kept me spellbound. Together they share loss, love, fear, jealousy and a binding that will last forever. I found myself completely invested in their story. While I am once again drooling for the next book, it is also bittersweet for me. The knowledge that its publishing will bring this tale to an end is a sad one. I am not yet ready to let go of Matthew and Diana. While it did not end on a huge cliffhanger you are left knowing things are developing and this tale is far from over.
I want to thank Viking/Penguin publishing for providing this finished copy in exchange for my unbiased review.
Profile Image for Angela Cone.
52 reviews
August 22, 2012
If you were infatuated with A Discovery of Witches (and if you weren't I seriously wonder about you), you will be head over heels in love with Shadow of Night. SON picks up right where ADOW left off with Matthew and Diana landing in Elizabethan times (1590s). Diana is shocked when she learns that Matthew, who goes by Matthew Roydon in this time period, was a player in the elusive School of Night (Marlow, Raleigh, Chapman, Harriott) as well as friend to Shakespeare. Diana has quite a time trying to learn the speech patterns and vocabulary of the time as well as getting used to the itchy clothing. But perhaps Diana's biggest surprise is when she learns that Matthew is a spy for the Queen.

While Diana is busy learning how to actually live in a time that she has very intimately studied, Matthew is trying to reacquaint himself with Elizabethan Mathew and at times that is complicated. But he does not lose focus on why they time walked and seeks to find Diana a tutor to learn how to harness her magic. Since this is a time period in which those expected to be witches are persecuted - painfully - they must be careful in attempting to seek another witch to train her.

Matthew and Diana also continue their search of Ashmole 782 which takes them to Prague and John Dee's doorstep. What they learn in their quest is fascinating and Diana's inquisitive mind makes use of every morsel of information they gather.

We also get to meet Matthews 'father', which you can imagine is a bittersweet moment for Matthew. While Diana tries to gain his father's respect, Matthew deals with his emotions in knowing what will happen to his father in the future. The reader gets a very clear picture of what life was like in the de Clermont household.

I absolutely adored this book, as cumbersome as it was at times with the amount of characters and historical detail. Matthew gets more swoonworthy (as if that's possible!) and Diana grows more powerful and sure of herself. Even more exciting to me is that many of the events that take place in SON are real events in history, albeit with a fictional twist to the details and characters. More fascinating than that is that Matthew Roydon indeed was a real historical figure who was rumored to have been a spy for the Queen and indeed was in many of the locations that Matthew and Diana visit during that time in history. The history buff in me went hog wild researching after I finished, completely ensconced in learning more about the events and characters and utterly amazed that Harkness is able to weave such an intricate tale around real events in history.
Profile Image for Rachael.
171 reviews132 followers
November 5, 2022
I ADORED this book. From the time traveling, the new characters introduced, all of the political intrigue, the character development, and the incredible magic system. The only reason I didn’t rate it 5 stars, was due to the pacing… which was quite slow in the beginning and throughout the book. But the overall plot and historical elements, had me hanging onto every single word. I started reading this on my kindle but ended up finishing it via the audiobook, and I would highly recommend ANY variation. The narrator was fantastic, but I equally loved reading it for myself.

I’m surprised people criticize this series, because I’ve been savoring EVERY exquisite detail. I wish I could do this series justice, but these quick thoughts before I start the last book will have to suffice.

4.5 stars rounded down.
Profile Image for Jeann (Happy Indulgence) .
1,010 reviews4,160 followers
October 20, 2012
I had high hopes for this book after hearing about all the interesting places Diana Bishop (witch and historian) and Matthew (her vampire husband) would visit using time travel. Unfortunately, what resulted in between the hefty 600 pages, was a lot of frustration, boredom, and just a general feeling of "make it stop".

The Discovery of Witches, the first in the series, had so much potential but just ended up having too much of a resemblance to Twilight and too much irrelevant waffle. Shadow of Night is even worse in that regard. While the Twilight veins have disappeared here, Shadow of Night not only capitalises on the worst frustrations of the first book, but adds its own as well.

Where we left off in The Discovery of Witches was Diana and Matthew heading to the past to find a witchy tutor for her powers, and to uncover the Ashmore 982 manuscript.

But when you pick up Shadow of Night, its best you forget where we were, the time travel elements, segregated world of witches, vampires and daemons, witch powers, and that snobby and possessive Matthew that you know (in other words, everything that was good about the novel). For you'll be thrust into the 16th Century with a bunch of historical characters and a bunch of new names that only history majors would recognise.

Both Diana and Matthew are also strangely different in this novel, and for the worse as well. Diana's "daftness" and complete stubbornness to listen to anyone who makes sense (including Matthew who is only looking after her best interests) plagues the entire novel. Matthew's snobbery, distance, possessiveness and all of that are emphasised too. These people just refuse to listen to each other, which is probably why they are perfect(ly annoying) together.

Continued on my blog here...
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