Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Review: Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2)

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2)
by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont; together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782. Drawn to one another despite longstanding taboos, and in pursuit of Diana’s spellbound powers, the two embark upon a time-walking journey.
Book Two of the All Souls Trilogy plunges Diana and Matthew into  Elizabethan London, a world of spies and subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night.  The mission is to locate a witch to tutor  Diana and to find traces of Ashmole 782, but as the net of Matthew’s past tightens around them they embark on a very different journey, one that takes them into heart of the 1,500 year old vampire’s shadowed history and secrets. For Matthew Clairmont, time travel is no simple matter; nor is Diana’s search for the key to understanding her legacy.
Shadow of Night brings us a rich and splendid tapestry of alchemy, magic, and history, taking us through the loop of time to deliver a deepening love story, a tale of blood, passion, and the knotted strands of the past.
(Cover from Goodreads. Source. Description from author's website. Source.)
Publisher: Viking Adult
Publication Date: July 10, 2012

Kat's Review

I awaited the release of the second installment of this trilogy with much anticipation, and I wasn't disappointed.  Diana and Matthew time-walk back to England in the late 1500's to continue their search for the missing manuscript, Ashmole 782.  Diana finds herself thrown into the world of Matthew's past, encountering a very different vampire from the one she has come to love, full of secrets that she must come to terms with.  Finding her place in a new (old) world isn't easy, especially when confronted with the challenge of further learning to control and use her magic.  She finds herself surrounded by some of history's most famous personalities, and struggles to stay safe in a world that is all too aware of the presence of witches and vampires. 

This is a long book, well over 500 pages, and you probably won't read it all in one sitting.  Actually, I would advise you not to.  There is so much in this novel that to race through it would mean losing some of the subtler references that could easily get lost in a mad dash to get to the finish.  I admire the author's ability to weave so many threads of a story together, coupled with a multitude of characters, so seamlessly while never losing the main objective of the story.  This is a skill that not all authors possess, and yet she uses her skill in a way that seems effortless.

 I was pulled into the interweaving storylines, alternately wondering if Diana would ever learn to control her magic, if Matthew would confront some of his personal demons, if they would change history in irreparable ways, and if they would ever find the manuscript.  This book is an intriguing and challenging read, insisting on one's full attention.  It's a wonderful follow up to the original, and left me wanting more.  I'm eagerly awaiting the announcement for the release date of the third and final book.

Rating: All Consuming

This is a series you should get your hands on now! I appreciate a series that delves into the paranormal without turning into a tired cliché of what's been done so many times before.  This series will have a special place on my bookshelf for years to come.

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