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77 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Shadow of Night is the second book in the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness. I read the first, A Discovery of Witches last year and really enjoyed it so I was looking forward to seeing what Deborah Harkness would do with the story next.
Shadow of Night begins exactly where A Discovery of Witches left off. I would highly recommend reading the books in order so you...
Published on 5 July 2012 by Dot

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
After reading the first book I looked forward to the second. What a disappointing experience. I struggled to finish it. The author seemed to pick times out of history just to fill the pages. In most cases it made the story bordering on the ridiculous. the spark between the characters, so cleverly portrayed in the first book, was gone. Diana was domineering and Matthew...
Published 16 months ago by Carol K


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77 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 5 July 2012
Shadow of Night is the second book in the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness. I read the first, A Discovery of Witches last year and really enjoyed it so I was looking forward to seeing what Deborah Harkness would do with the story next.
Shadow of Night begins exactly where A Discovery of Witches left off. I would highly recommend reading the books in order so you can get a full grasp of events so far.
Matthew and Diana have travelled back to Elizabethan England, the year 1590 to be precise. Here Matthew is Matthew Roydon, a spy for Queen Elizabeth and a member of the School of Night. Other members and friends include Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Harriet and Sir Walter Raleigh. I found this aspect of the book completely fascinating. Deborah Harkness brought these famous historical characters to life on the page; her background as a historian is evident and her attention to detail cannot be criticised in any way.
Matthew and Diana are in danger from the very beginning. There are only so many people that they can be completely honest with so it is vital that Diana can pass as an Elizabethan woman of the time or suspicions will be raised . Matthew and Diana have two main problems to solve during this book. They must find the text Ashmole 782 which is how their story began and they must also find another witch who can teach Diana how to harness her magical powers.
Shadow of Night is lengthy at 768 pages but I found that I flew through it. Deborah Harkness creates a fantastic pace, her descriptions are extremely vivid and she reveals a lot more about Matthew's past. I felt myself turning more and more pages as I wanted to know what was going to happen next and whether Diana and Matthew would get what they came for.
These books are wholly fantastical but I love the story that Deborah Harkness has created. She has added paranormal edge to historical fiction and in doing so has created an enchanting trilogy that will appeal to a wide variety of readers.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong historical setting, 9 July 2012
Last year's first instalment in the All Souls trilogy, A Discovery of Witches, grabbed my attention because of its bookishness. Starting out as it did in the Bodleian Library and centring on an ancient manuscript it had everything to snare my librarian heart. It retained my attention by exuding a love of history and books and telling a good story throughout. Though I had my doubts about its focus on the romance between Diana and Matthew, which reminded me a bit of the oft-lamented YA trope of insta-love, in the end I thoroughly enjoyed myself with that first tale of Diana Bishop and her vampire love Matthew Clairmont. So I was looking forward to returning to their story and see what would happen next.

And it was a pleasure to return to Matthew and Diana. Shadow of Night didn't suffer from second book syndrome, mostly because it seemed to be set in a totally different genre. If A Discovery of Witches was a romantic fantasy novel, its successor seemed more a historical novel, albeit with some serious fantasy threads tied in. The focus of the story moves away from the relationship angle and more towards Ashmole 782, Diana's powers and the history and relationships between the different creatures. That isn't to say that no attention is given to the relationship between Diana and Matthew, but it's not as central to the story as in the first book. I loved the closer look we got at Diana's powers and the different talents witches can possess. Diana's hunt for the Ashmole manuscript also lead her to do more alchemical research, which I enjoyed, especially since there is more focus on the philosophies underpinning alchemy, and not on turning lead to gold.

Harkness' London feels real and well researched. Set in 1590, in the latter part of Elizabeth I's reign, we get a great look at Tudor London in all it its glories and its grubbiness. We not only get a close look at Elizabethan London, but also at Elizabethan society, ranging from the regular inhabitants of the Blackfriars to the great and well-known of the age, such as Kit Marlowe, Walter Raleigh, William Shakespeare and even Queen Elizabeth herself. Harkness captured Diana's reactions to meeting all the greats she's studied for so long exquisitely, from jaw-dropped fascination to at times almost disappointment at the truth behind the history. The author is wise enough not to milk Diana's wide-eyed enchantment at seeing her studies come to life for too long, however, and just gets on with the story relatively quickly, which is fortunate as it keeps it from becoming gimmicky. We don't just get a look at London though; we also follow Diana and Matthew to Prague, to the court of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, who was historically well known for his interest in the occult. I found this visit fascinating and Harkness' portrayal of Rudolf to be one of a highly unpleasant individual.

Harkness handling of the time-travel aspect of the story was also deft. Just at the point where I was wondering what happened to the 16th-century Matthew and whether they couldn't run into him, the answer was provided (he's displaced, where-to isn't quite clear) and any lasting material changes they leave behind, such as a pair of miniatures and a diary are hunted down by Matthew's family in the present-day, which also allows us to catch-up with some of the characters of the prior novel. However, we only see them in short flashes and it's clear that some important things have happened in their time line we haven't seen, which definitely have repercussions in the next book. I liked this; it seemed more real that events moved along, even if the main focus of the story was set in the past.

Harkness populates Shadow of Night with a varied and strong cast of characters. In addition to our main characters, Diana and Matthew, we meet mostly new characters in this novel. Not just many historical characters, but we are also introduced to several other creatures, such as Matthew's nephews Gallowglass and Hancock, young witch Annie and the street urchin Jack, who all become part of the Roydon household in London. While some of these connect to characters from the present, Annie's aunt Susanna, for example, is related to Sophie, and others will still be alive in our present, such as Gallowglass, there are even more of them who feel significant and aren't linked to the future. Most notably, little Jack, who Matthew and Diana practically adopt, I'm hoping we'll find out his fate in the next instalment. The historical cameo's, such as those of Queen Elizabeth and Lord Burghley are very cool, and again, it's fun to see how Harkness creates an alternative reality in which humans are not the only creatures to inhabit our world and decides who in history did and didn't know about their existence--Elizabeth naturally knew.

This strong cast has to be led by strong protagonist and in Diana we definitely have one. She's smart, independent and assertive. She can take care of herself, even if she's woefully ignorant of how to use her magic and seems to charge into dangerous situations headlong. She doesn't take any non-sense from anyone, especially Matthew; he might be a centuries-old, superhumanly strong and dangerous vampire, but by Jove, he's her husband and he'll act as such. And if he's jealous and possessive because he's a vampire and she his mate, she understands, but he'll just have to deal with it and suck it up, because she's got to lead her own life. Suck on that, Bella! Matthew, for his part, literally has to face his past in Shadow of Night and while this allows some of his heart wounds to be healed, he still has a difficult time of it. What really liked is how Harkness manages to convey that even if Matthew the vampire is immortal and will always look as he did when he was turned, his growth of in spirit isn't like-wise stagnant. I found it very well done how modern Matthew partly fell back into his behavioural patterns of the time, but at the same time can't view the course of events and people around them the same way as he did when he first lived through them.

As expected, the end of the book means the end of our sojourn in 1590 and I was sad to leave it. However, I'm looking forward to see how the third book differs in tone from this one and even more how it will differ from the first one. Shadow of Night is very different from A Discovery of Witches, in both form and cast, and I honestly found it a better read than its predecessor. Harkness has found her footing and her voice more strongly in this second novel, I feel, and that promises a lot for the future. Shadow of Night is a strong second novel in the All Souls trilogy and this series is shaping up to be a very good paranormal fantasy series. The book will be published by Headline in the UK tomorrow, July 10th, though I already ran into it in the wild in my local bookshop here in The Netherlands on Saturday. So go forth and check it out!

This book was provided for review by the publisher.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 10 Mar 2013
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After reading the first book I looked forward to the second. What a disappointing experience. I struggled to finish it. The author seemed to pick times out of history just to fill the pages. In most cases it made the story bordering on the ridiculous. the spark between the characters, so cleverly portrayed in the first book, was gone. Diana was domineering and Matthew weak. Even for a fantasy fiction, the story was beyond the realms of credible.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shadow of Night Excellent Read, 13 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy 2) (Paperback)
Shadow of Night was another excellent read and took me into the world of Queen Elizabeth 1st. I could not wait for the paperback copy and bought the hardback one. It now stands with my other books, that I will Not Lend out (never seem to get them back) so is only read when people come on holiday to stay with me.
Can't wait for the 3rd book to come out
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AB FAB!!!!, 12 Feb 2013
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R. Collins "Rozzy" (Goole, UK) - See all my reviews
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I want the third one to be out already - brilliant series that just leaves you wanting more. So well written that you believe your in the time that this book transports you too. Well Done Deborah for another fantastic book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 10 Feb 2013
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Love it. did not disappoint after reading the first book. A great book to read can not wait for next one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this series!!, 5 Feb 2013
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I was pretty impressed with the first book in this series, and the second one doesn't disappoint, either. For her first books they are a brilliant read....a book with witches and vampires made for adults, and not sparkly adolescent vampires!! The characters are rich, they move between times, the history and people she meets in the past are interesting and quirky. I haven't finished it yet, but very much look forward to it and then can't wait until the third book!! Brilliantly written.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The tricky 2nd book in a trilogy, 28 Jan 2013
By 
Julie (Kelso, Roxburghshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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As with all 2nd books in a trilogy this one gets weighed done in plot points setting you up for the final book.
I did really enjoy it though and would recommend the books to a friend.
These books are beautiful crafted and stepped in history but not dull. I think these are the best of the genre of books I have read and really take you into a different world. You can tell the writer knows her history and is very clever with her plot. It is crafted so well though and I did find myself putting it down more than the first to stop and understand what had just happened.
But the ending is brilliant and left me wanting more!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the first, 4 Aug 2012
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I liked a Discovery of Witches but I found some of the romance between Diana and Matthew (the sweeping up in his strong arms) a bit grating after a while. However, the whole world of adult witches, vampires and daemons was great and so I looked forward to the sequel as it would be set in London in 1590, one of my favourite eras.

I liked this story more than the first, the characters are more established and although Matthew is moody, Diana stands up to him and they have a mature adult relationship. I loved the descriptions of Elizabethan London and the people they meet, I would have liked a bit more about how strange the world would have been compared to the modern world but nonetheless, it kept my attention. When this series works well is when Diana is learning to become a witch, this is something I'd like to see more of.

In all, I liked this, it was better than the first in my opinion and if you like the world of witches and vampires, then it is worth a read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow, but fascinating, 3 Aug 2012
3.5 stars, review originally posted on Winged Reviews

After the whirlwind of genres that the first book in the series gave us, I was thrilled to learn the second book would dip into one of my favourites, Historical Fiction. I wasn't disappointed, as the story took us to Elizabethan England (one of my favourite time periods) and seamlessly incorporated famous historical figures like Christopher Marlowe and Queen Elizabeth I herself. However, as much as I loved being in Diana and Matthew's historic world, the book moved slowly. While I loved some aspects of the cross-genre writing, the best part of the book for me, the plot, suffered as a result.

What I can say about this book is that it's smart. Details are meticulously researched. I enjoyed how out-of-place Diana worked hard at speaking, writing, dressing and behaving in correct 16th Century fashion. I loved the flash forwards that showed how Diana and Matthew's foray into the past left traces on the modern day. Harkness also brings to life into the science of Elizabethan alchemy (a precursor to modern chemistry) and the menace of the witch-hunts going on during that time.

The book isn't just all details and history though. Diana and Matthew's foray into Sept-Tours and meeting Matthew's deceased father Philippe was full of heart and great character development. I felt their struggles and learned to admire their devotion to each other. There was no "will-they-won't-they" here--they were firmly committed to each other. They argued like a normal couple and resolved their differences in a mature way. It was great to see a marriage of equals and them working hard to gain the love and respect of their respective families and friends.

However, I felt this section stalled the plot and impatient me wanted to get to the gist of the book as soon as possible: when we left Diana and Matthew at the end of the last book, they time-weave (time-wove?) back into the past in order to learn more about the mysterious Ashmore 782 and Diana's abilities. As there are so many plot points in the book, it's hard to find the right balance. For the mystery-solver and para-sci-fi geek in me, what I wanted read about the most was origins of witches, vampires, daemons and their powers. In that sense, the romance almost ruined it for me. I did enjoy the funny sections though, especially the trip to Prague, which felt almost like a comedy-sketch! Seriously, what genre can't Harkness write in?

Putting all those gripes aside though, when we get to the reveals, I was thoroughly impressed. Harkness has created a carefully crafted paranormal system, with its own hierarchy and rules. When we finally discover what Diana's powers are, it manages to fit seamlessly into the world but remained surprising at the same time. And it was the same when we discover the truth about Ashmole 782.

Naturally we are left with another nail-biting cliffhanger and a shocking ending. I honestly can't wait for it to all come together at the end, because I do think the last book will be phenomenal.
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Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy 2)
Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy 2) by Deborah Harkness (Paperback - 14 Feb 2013)
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