Review: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

I finally finished my number 1 on my TBR list.  I have been waiting quite a while for this sequel and it was completely worth the wait.  Deborah Harkness’ second book in her All Saints trilogy was an outstanding follow-up to her first book, A Discovery of Witches.   It is truly going to be a difficult wait for the final book in the trilogy.

Shadow of Night begins where A Discovery of Witches left off.  Matthew and Diana have taken a step and landed at the Old Lodge in 1590.  It is the Elizabethan era.  A time of Shakespeare and Marlowe, witch hunts and religious strife between Catholics and Protestants.  No running water, no technology other than horseback and carriages and illness due to vermin infestation.  This is a long way from Diana’s 21st Century.  Not long after Diana and Matthew enter the 16th Century they run into Kit Marlowe, Sir Walter Raliegh and Henry Percy among other historically significant creatures.  What seemed like a quick job of jumping to the past, picking up Ashmole 782 and helping Diana become a proper witch soon becomes a daunting task.  Not long after being in Oxford and trying to find a witch to help Diana is accused of witchcraft and a timely summons by Matthew’s father Phillipe forces them to take an unscheduled journey to Sept-Tours.  At Sept-Tours, many significant events occur and many of Matthew’s secrets are discovered.  One of which is Diana’s discovery of Matthew’s Blood Rage.  A rage that few vampires have when deprived from blood.  Though many secrets are revealed at Sept-Tours, many more still linger.

After spending some time at Sept-Tours Diana and Matthew are forced to flee yet again.  They go to London where Queen Elizabeth is awaiting them.  Queen Elizabeth is in quite a mood since one of her top spies has been doing things that she has not approved of.  It is in London that Diana finally finds witches willing to help her.  She finally discovers what she is and the witches have agreed to help her learn how to be a witch and use the craft.  Again, this peace is short-lived and soon Queen Elizabeth is forcing Matthew to go to Prague to see the Holy Roman Emperor and retrieve something that is hers.  It is in Prague that Diana and Matthew finally find Ashmole 782.  Diana becomes a focal point of the Holy Roman Emperor’s attentions and learns that a protective, jealous vampire is not one you want around a powerful and significant figure.  Yet again, Matthew and Diana must flee and find themselves back in London.  It is this final journey to London that Diana comes across someone very significant in her own history.  Diana and Matthew finally have some answers, more questions and have impacted history more than they should.  They finally take a step back to the present landing them back in the Bishop House.  Diana and Matthew work their way back to Sept-Tours where their family awaits their return.

This was an absolutely phenomenal book.  I will have to read it again soon just to pick up details I know I missed.  Deborah Harkness’s ability to bring you right back to the 16th century is awe-inspiring.  The characters and significant historical figures are fantastic.  I am a sucker for a love story and Matthew and Diana’s is awesome.  They have ups and downs and many losses that they bear together.  I loved the peripheral characters of Gallowglass, Pierre, Annie and Jack to name a few.  I loved to hate Kit Marlowe.  I really wished ill will on him.  The scenes in London, France, Prague and Oxford allow for backdrop of a familiar yet different world.  This book takes you with Matthew and Diana as they navigate the court intrigues, witch hunts and nefarious acts of would be friends.

I totally and completely recommend this book.  But, you will want to read A Discovery of Witches first.  If you are interested in that book I have reviewed that one also. You can check it out here:  http://wp.me/p2is8i-3N .  If you want more information regarding either Shadow of Night or A Discovery of Witches you can also go to Barnes and Noble, Amazon or any other book retailer.

Review: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Today’s review is about a book that could easily become a modern classic, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.  This has easily become one of my favorite books and I have re-read it at least 3 times.  I plan to re-read it yet again right before the next installment in the series comes out in July.

A Discovery of Witches starts with just a small unintentional slip that will propel the story.  Diana Bishop is a witch, but most importantly in her mind she is a scholar.  She has always resisted using her powers and instead has put herself full force into her scholarly work of Scientific History.  The story begins in Oxford’s library where Diana unintentionally calls an elusive book, Ashmole 782.  This one act sends the whole story into motion. By summoning this book, even unknowingly, Diana brings down upon her trouble from witches, vampires and daemons.  Diana soon meets a vampire, Matthew Clairmont,  and they begin a journey of discovery for both her and him.

Matthew is a very notable scientist himself and when he hears about the re-appearance of Ashmole 782 he realizes he must find who has summoned it.  He becomes intrigued by Diana.  As Matthew and Diana become closer Diana’s control on her powers becomes less controlled and more erratic.  Matthew and Diana discover that their connection is less and less about the book and more about their destiny.  Their story intertwines in ways that neither of them could have thought possible.  Their enemies begin to come out of nowhere and everywhere.  Matthew and Diana realize that they must work together and with their friends and family to survive the trials that the discovery of Ashmole 782 has caused.

Overall, this is a phenomenal book.  It incorporates historical facts with paranormal.  Deborah Harkness really did her research when it came to the history and the science.  She not only brings in a realism with the characters of Matthew and Diana but she is also accurate in what she is talking about.  The love story of Matthew and Diana’s is one of my favorite parts.  I enjoy the star-crossed lovers aspect of their love story.  Diana being a witch and Matthew a vampire is illegal in their society.  Ms. Harkness weaves a story that will be enduring and makes you want to re-read it again and again just to find out what you missed from before.  I can’t wait for the next installment, Shadow of Night coming out in July.  If it is written half as well as A Discovery of Witches then Ms. Harkness will have another hit on her hands.

For more information or to purchase A Discovery of Witches you can go to Barnes and Noble, Amazon or any other book retailer.

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