Bonnie's Reviews > Shadow of Night

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
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it was ok
bookshelves: fantasy, romance, pn-vampires, pn-witches, time-travel, arcs

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 ( 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.
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Reading Progress

June 13, 2011 – Shelved
July 8, 2011 – Shelved as: fantasy
July 8, 2011 – Shelved as: romance
July 8, 2011 – Shelved as: pn-witches
July 8, 2011 – Shelved as: pn-vampires
May 10, 2012 – Started Reading
May 1, 2014 – Shelved as: tbr-arcs-finished-review-copies
July 8, 2014 –
July 10, 2014 –
16.0% "Whoo. Only 17 hours to go. *sigh*"
July 15, 2014 –
July 20, 2014 –
July 21, 2014 – Shelved as: time-travel
July 21, 2014 –
July 22, 2014 –
94.0% "Holy shit, it's almost over. This was unnecessarily long."
July 22, 2014 – Shelved as: arcs
July 22, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-22 of 22 (22 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Marci Haha, me too!

Bonnie :D Very excited for this one.

message 3: by Giselle (new)

Giselle I still haven't read the first one but I DO own it! haha. I didn't know it was any good.

Bonnie I know the reviews go both ways but I loved the first one and this 2nd installment is one I'm most looking forward to this year. :)

message 5: by Giselle (new)

Giselle OH NO! That sucks.

Bonnie Well, I'll just have to hope for an approval in a few months. lol

Alisha-Dear Constant Reader I LOVED the first book.
Any ideas on how to get a hold of a copy?

Bonnie Alisha wrote: "I LOVED the first book.
Any ideas on how to get a hold of a copy?"

I loved the first one too... have been so excited for this one. I snagged mine through some publicity thing through Shelf Awareness but I know it's up on Netgalley. They just aren't approving people until closer to publication date... so they should start approving people within the next month I'd think. :)

Beverly J. whoo hoo!!

message 10: by Giselle (new)

Giselle Nice!!

message 11: by Wendy Darling (new)

Wendy Darling Aw, that's amazing, Bonnie! Hope you enjoy. :)

message 12: by Eastofoz (new) - added it

Eastofoz You are soooooooo lucky to have this one already! How is it so far?

Bonnie :) Thanks. I find myself not enjoying it as much as the first but I haven't given up hope that it'll get better!

message 14: by Heidi (new) - added it

Heidi awesome. I finally get my e copy!

Karen Ng I totally understand. I don't mind giving up one of my kidneys for this as

Tammi Heupel I so wanted to see her in Berea, but wasn't able to make it. I waited with baited breath for this book to come out and it did not disappoint...just one question....why no mention to Diana or Matthew about Em at the end?

Bonnie hahaha... I actually haven't finished this one yet so I have no clue. :)

Tammi Heupel Ah, I'll say no more then :) Happy reading!

Heidi Tammi wrote: "I so wanted to see her in Berea, but wasn't able to make it. I waited with baited breath for this book to come out and it did not disappoint...just one question....why no mention to Diana or Matthe..."

I wondered the same thing, did I miss something?

message 20: by Polly (new) - added it

Polly James Great review. I couldn't agree more with everything you said!

Bonnie Polly wrote: "Great review. I couldn't agree more with everything you said!"

Thank you, Polly!

Jesse Hawk Do you need a refresher after reading a book?

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