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Shadow of Night: (All Souls 2) (All Souls Trilogy 2) Hardcover – 10 Jul 2012
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'Deborah Harkness has done us proud with her magnificent, enthralling, engrossing sequel to 'Discovery of Witches'. Her weaving of time and ancient lore, of modern science and alchemy, or vampires, daemons and all-too-mortal humans is magical, wonderful and utterly addictive. You won't be able to put it down, so set aside a weekend and be prepared for some very late nights...' (Manda Scott)
Praise for A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES: 'Intelligent and off-the-wall...irresistible to Twilight fans' The Sunday Times; 'An inventive addition to the supernatural craze...has exciting amounts of spells, kisses and battles, and is recounted with enchanting, page-turning panache' Marie Claire; 'Write what you know, debut novelists are told and Professor Deborah Harkness has accordingly set hers in the world of academia... A bubbling cauldron of illicit desire...all the ingredients for an assured saga that blends romance with fantasy' Daily Mail; 'A romp through magical academia' Guardian (Various)
The phenomenal No.1 international bestseller and the second volume in the enthralling All SOULS trilogySee all Product description
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They specifically go back in time to find a witch to teach Dianna but 15 chapters in they still haven't found one.
They travel back to the sixteenth century with apparently no awareness of the never ending danger this would put them in.
Dianna (the brave and powerful lioness) has become a rather pathetic and weak female character who brings nothing but contradiction and bad one liners to the story and Matthew's character is deeply entrenched in victim mentality with absolutely none of the fierce intelligence we saw in the first book.
I became so frustrated with the contrast and horrific contradictions I actually cried out "oh come on!!", on more than one occasion.
It's as thought this was written because it had to be.
Bad editing to boot!
The story goes round and round in badly written circles that reach desperately for a remote semblance of a plot.
After recommending the first book to many people and purchasing it for one, I am shocked and most disappointed at this ill attempt at a sequel.
47% of the way through and I just can't do it anymore.
The only redeeming factor and reason I made it this far, are the historical references which provide the reader with some small thread for the imagination amidst the jarring conradictions that are hard to follow.
E.g. Being summoned dramatically to meet the vampire who controls all of London (suddenly appearing in the story out of nowhere) because Matthew didn't introduce Dianna to him upon arrival... the tension builds dramatically with the knights all getting ready to go to this meeting together. Next, in the dark underbelly of the church (where Dianna who can barely see a thing as mentioned SO many times) she can see the colour of this guys irises after he quickly finishes turning someone into a vampire and then comes over to intimidate Dianna. Matthew acts brooding and the usual threats of violence, anger, blah, then Dianna commandeers the conversation and reminds them that she is under Phillips protection so she cannot be touched by him as the de Clermonts have amnesty from him in London (why they had to go through all of this when everyone knew that she is his wife, hence a de Clermont, is beyond me) then she has a casual chat with him and asks him to send her a witch to train her because she is tired and wants to go home. Nevermind the fact that these are their enemies and there is extreme danger anyone finding out she is a witch because witches are being arrested and tortured all over as we've encountered endlessly in ever chapter. Painful. Painful. Painful.
How can lead characters change so radically and become so pathetic and downright stupid.
How can the premise for the adventure (finding a witch to teach her) be no closer to being achieved, and only remotely attempted, half way through the book?
The characters both now appear weak and utterly exasperating.
Diana's powers have all but disappeared and Matthew's strength and intelligence are both long gone.
Like a weak, love struck teenage witch and a brooding sulky vampire.
Let's not even get into the pregnancy. She falls pregnant as soon as they consummate their marriage (well the third one) and a weak later Matthew can hear the baby? A bit of research on fetal development may have helped here since there is no heartbeat at this stage and practically no difference in blood levels in the female body. Ok so let's give them this anyway but then Diana's response is "yeah I know"... Seriously? You've built up this story over two books with the imminent threat and danger and rarity of this impossibility and her response is flippant as though Matthew pointed out a missing button! Exasperating!!!
For a fantasy novel it reads like a bad teenage romance and for historical fiction it lacks in plot and character.
Seldom does a novel actually anger me but this one has managed.
Wish I could say I hope the third is better but there is simply no way I can make it through the second to find that out.
The journey through 16th century Europe and England - amazing. The historical detail and the links with known historical figures are tantalising and careful interwoven into the plot. I lost myself in the day to day life of Matthew and Diana and their European trip.
Yes towards the end there is a mention of a secondary characters demise, with no further detail, this I suspect will be righted in the third instalment.
For me, none of the original magic was lost, and as predicted by Hamish, Matthew's character changes due to the interaction of the new group of characters, but also down to the historical period in which the story is set. It wouldn't have been right if he had stayed as the 21st century man in the 16th century.
I can't wait for the next instalment, just to see how all this pans out.
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