Sunday, May 19, 2013

[Archive] LITERAL ADDICTION's Review of Shadow of Night

Deborah Harkness is an American scholar, novelist and wine enthusiast, best known as a historian and the author of New York Times best selling novel A Discovery of Witches and its sequel Shadow of Night.

Shadow of Night, book #2 of THE LOST SOULS TRILOGY
by Deborah Harkness


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 in the Bodleian Library,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. Reclaiming his former identity as poet and spy for Queen Elizabeth, the vampire falls back in with a group of radicals known as the School of Night. Many are unruly daemons, the creative minds of the age, including playwright Christopher Marlowe and mathematician Thomas Harriot.

Together Matthew and Diana scour Tudor London for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782, and search for the witch who will teach Diana how to control her remarkable powers...

Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Pack Alpha - Michelle L. Olson:

Shadow of Night, the second installment of Deborah Harkness’s ALL SOULS TRILOGY was a wonderful pastiche of factual history and entertaining fiction, all woven together to create a work of art worthy of any intellectual reader.

Shadow of Night picks up where A Discovery of Witches leaves off, though new readers who are jumping in to this book without having enjoyed the debut novel will have no problems catching on.

Written in several parts, the novel follows Matthew and Diana as they travel back to Matthew’s past in 1590 in search of several things – a witch skilled enough to instruct Diana and hopefully give some answers regarding the incongruence of her magic, and the complete ‘book of origins’ being the main two. As they assimilate themselves in Elizabethan times, some big secrets are revealed, relationships and loyalties are both forged and tested, and they undergo the delicate dance of completing their mission without utterly altering the present reality.

It’s very difficult to write a comprehensive review for this book without spoilers, so I’ll just keep it surface level and say that Shadow of Night is not a light-hearted, quick read (especially not at 584 pages). It’s a well developed, beautifully written, and intricate tale built around some incredible factual research and set in a complex yet compelling world of wonder. The characters are well developed and the twisted facts in the fiction had me doing research into the true lives of the individuals Deborah bases her characters on days after finishing the book, smiling all the while in acknowledgement of the sheer creative cleverness involved.

So in short, LITERAL ADDICTION gives Shadow of Night 4 ½ Skulls. If you’re looking for a book that mixes fact with fantasy fiction, utterly entertains and yet intellectually challenges, and sticks with you long after you’ve turned the last page, this series is definitely for you.

Shadow of Night

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