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Shadow of Night: (All Souls 2) (All Souls Trilogy 2) Paperback – Unabridged, 14 Feb 2013
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What a rich, thrilling and educational tale it is... A captivating and romantic ripping yarn (E L James Books of the year 2012, Guardian)
Deborah Harkness has done us proud with her magnificent, enthralling, engrossing sequel... 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 (Manda Scott)
A bubbling cauldron of illicit desire...all the ingredients for an assured saga that blends romance with fantasy (Daily Mail)
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)
The phenomenal No.1 international bestseller and the second volume in the enthralling All SOULS trilogySee all Product description
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Of course, Diana and Matthew are magnets for trouble so all sorts of happenings occur whilst we meet Matthews former friends from years ago. It was particularly interesting to get to meet some "famous" characters and names that I recognised from this era but it was also quite fun to read about how Matthew would have known these characters. Obviously, you need to have an open mind with this because Harkness does take a few liberties, but I still enjoyed this aspect of the novel and thought she did a great job of piecing this together.
I really did want to love this book, and I wasn't expecting not to, but I did find myself a little swamped with information. Harkness goes on and on about how Diana is beneath Matthew in terms of their hierarchy, particularly when it comes to how she should behave in his household - I found this a bit too much, a few mentions would have been enough! Additionally, because of all the lengthy descriptions of seemingly unimportant things such as what skirt Diana is wearing, not a lot happens for QUITE a long time.
Honestly, the best part for me was meeting some of the more memorable characters from History. I loved the chapters which included anything to do with Queen Elizabeth and I adored the way her character was written; it was refreshing to see Harkness throw in a bit more humour and play around with this character. However, I'm not sure I really spent any time whilst reading enjoying Diana or Matthew. In fact, I feel like I might have lost a bit of my love for them because of Matthew's persistently "woe-is-me, I've had a horrible, long, depressing life" stories and Diana's "I'd die for you" mentality. Maybe I'm just cynical.
It has to be said that Harkness does write very well; she literally couldn't have fit more historical knowledge in there even if she did play with the truth a little bit. I did enjoy this book, perhaps not as much as the previous because of how excessive some of her descriptions were, and I did feel that Diana lost a lot of her spark because she was made to seem like Matthew's partner rather than a character unto herself. Despite this I would recommend this to anyone who enjoyed the previous book in the series, but be aware that you'll need to be patient and probably have something soft to throw the book at from time to time when you get frustrated!!
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.
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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