Title: Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy book two)
Author: Deborah Harkness
Published: Headline Publishing Group
“It began with a discovery of witches…”
Historian Diana Bishop, descended from a line of powerful witches, and long-lived vampire Matthew Clairmont have broken the laws dividing creatures. When Diana discovered a significant alchemical manuscript, she sparked a struggle in which she became bound to Matthew. Now the fragile coexistence of witches, daemons, vampires and humans is dangerously threatened. Seeking safety, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to London, 1590. But they soon realise that the past may not provide a haven…
OK so it took me a little over a year to read the whole book. It’s a big book. It’s a slow book. It has a lot of content and characters and if you’ve read the first one and thought there was a lot of tedious conversations and a lot of history you’ll find it hard to believe there is even more in this one. Now you probably think i hated the book, but i didn’t! I just really struggled to stay focused on it. It isn’t a book you can just pick up one afternoon and read the whole thing. There’s a lot going on and a lot to process so i found myself getting overwhelmed quite regularly and had to put it down and pick it up either a couple of days or even a couple of months later, hence it taking me so long to complete it.
Matthew and Diana travel back in time to Elizabethan London and Diana learns a lot more about Matthew straight off the bat. ‘”Just who are you, Matthew?” I hadn’t thought to ask him before we departed.’ This sentence really sums up A LOT about their relationship. Diana realising she has been a bit reckless and learnt virtually nothing about the man she is now magically tied to, not that it changes the way she feels about him. We are introduced to new characters, members of the School of Night which include Christopher Marlowe (who is a Daemon who goes by the name Kit), Walter Raleigh, Thomas Harriet, George Chapman and more. The historian that Diana is can barely contain her excitement and disbelief that Matthew not only know these people but is friend to them as well! I enjoyed the name dropping in the beginning but they didn’t end up adding much to the story/plot which was disappointing. I’m really glad Deborah didn’t write everything in Elizabethan English, it would have grown tedious quickly. I found it very clever of her to explain how much Diana was struggling with it, that was enough reference for me. Gallowglass, Matthews brother, became my favourite character virtually as soon as he was introduced mostly because of his relationship with Diana that blossoms so naturally.
The reason they traveled back in time finally comes back into the picture, they need to find a witch professor to teach Diana her magic. They find one and it goes about as well as you’d expect (not well at all) and now Diana may be in even more danger. So now they have to leave and go somewhere safer and find someone else to teach her, they end up travelling to Sept Tours and the Village of Saint-Lucien and we’re introduced to Matthew’s vampire father, Phillippe, who i adore instantly. Not all of Matthew’s family that we meet are as likable, some i downright hated.
Diana learning her magic, how to weave the strands of time and discovering she has a fire-drake were all interesting points in the story. There were a few twists and unexpected turns, more travelling to different places like Prague and discovering all the different things Matthew was involved in. I’ve read a lot of other reviews for this book and most disliked the ending, i myself found it was well suited and made me curious to what would come in the final book. Part of the ending also made me quite emotional, Diana went through so much in this book which you don’t really full take in at the time, so when she is finally reunited with loved ones you can’t help but feel for her. Speaking of the end of the book, there is a list of all the characters (because there are so, so many) and descriptions of them so if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed like i was, flip to the back of the book and you’ll find your way back on track. I wish i had known about the list when i first read it!
Book two didn’t grab me like the first did, i’m glad i persisted and finished it though because book three is just stunning so i’ll be posting a review for that very soon.
Rating out of 10: 6
You can find book two here: Shadow of Night