Shadow of Night

 Fall deeper under the spell of Diana and Matthew in the captivating second volume of the No.1 internationally bestselling ALL SOULS trilogy, following A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES.

In a world of witches, daemons and vampires the fragile balance of peace is unravelling. Diana and Matthew’s forbidden love has broken the laws dividing creatures. To discover the manuscript which holds their hope for the future, they must now travel back to the past.

When Diana Bishop, descended from a line of powerful witches, discovered a significant alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, she sparked a struggle in which she became bound to long-lived vampire Matthew Clairmont. Now the 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…

Shadow of Night is the second book in the All Soul’s Trilogy and follows straight on from A Discovery of Witches.  It opens with our beloved Diana and Matthew having travelled back in time to the year 1590 in search of the mysterious and undamaged Ashmole 782 manuscript.

This book was utterly fascinating and I can only imagine how fertile Harkness’ imagination is, combining documented historical events with her own prose to make something so rich and believable and make you feel as if you were there!

Diana progresses so much in this book, she really comes into her own, as witch, wife and historian. Matthew is a complicated character, having lived so long (and through this time period once already) he does struggle with possessiveness, misogyny and at times needs a good smack on the back of his head. Balancing that out though, he is also extremely loving, clever and underestimates his wife so when she takes matters into her own hands, his reactions can be amusing.

The love they have for each other is undeniably sweet, even when they lose their way a bit, you know that is at the core.

I loved most of the new characters in this book, except Christopher ‘Kit’ Marlowe, he was just a jealous little toad! Gallowglass, Jack, Annie, the coven were all superb and Elizabeth 1st was awesomely erratic.  I also loved the magic that Diana wields, the threads of life using a skein of embroidery thread and knots to represent different things.  I look forward to finding out just what she can do!

I’m not well versed in history but Deborah manages to bring characters to life that I’d only heard about in vaguely remembered history lessons at school and it even led me to do further reading. Of course that just increased my respect for the author’s talent at blending fact and fiction.

The plot moves along nicely at the same pace as the first book but with an added sense of urgency and tension. It’s not a quick read but it is extremely engaging and hard to put down. The majority of this novel is set back in time with a couple of glimpses as to what is happening with the families back in modern day. I expected those to feel disjointed and jerk me out of the story but actually they happened quite organically.

Now, at the end of the book, they have returned to present day and its time to find out if everything they went through was worth it. It’s time to finish this and open the final book in the All Soul’s Trilogy, The Book Of Life!

Book Information
  • Author: Deborah Harkness
  • Series: All Soul's Trilogy (2)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Rating: ★★★★½ 

 

A Discovery of Witches

 If there was ever a book I regret not reading sooner, A Discovery of Witches would be it.  I didn’t think it would be quite my cup of coffee as time travel romance wasn’t really my thing and the comparisons I’d seen to Twilight put me off a bit.  I wholeheartedly say how wrong I was (and also not sure how *anyone* can compare this to Twilight!)  I was going through a bit of a reading slump at the time so was finding it hard to get enthused about many books.  That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it 😉

The first thing that grabbed me was the attention to detail.  I didn’t know at the time that Deborah Harkness is actually an Historian and that many of the things she wrote about, she knows on a professional level.  Her love for the subject showed through her writing and that same love was displayed in Diana, the female lead character.  Diana Bishop is a witch that has turned her back on her abilities and chosen the route of science and history in academia, a specialist in the subject of Alchemy.  She is a great character, level headed but also has good reasons for the denial of her heritage as a witch.  I loved seeing her work through her eyes and the curiosity that drives her.  When she finds a magical manuscript in the course of her work, life takes an unexpected turn.  Matthew Clairmont is a vampire geneticist who has been observing Diana and realises she is in trouble when the supernatural community take notice of her too.

The supernatural world is split into four types.  Humans, daemons, vampires and witches.  It should be noted that Daemons are not the Christian version of a demon but instead are creatures that are incredibly unstable and talented geniuses.  Humans are, or should be, unaware of the existence of the others but the other three can tell each other apart instantly.

When the lost Ashmole 782 manuscript, rumoured to hold the key to the origins of all three types of creature, is discovered and awoken by Diana, the long journey for her and Matthew really begins.

This is not a fast paced, action packed book, it takes its time to get where it wants to be and I actually liked that a lot.  I had time to get to know the characters, their habits, to get a good sense of who they are.  The romantic side was slow paced as well and while I am a girl that enjoys a good sex scene, I felt the gentle approach really suited the pace of the story. It was sweet and romantic and the concept of bundling was fascinating.  The gradual development also made for a good long build up to a solid relationship between Matthew and Diana.  That the pace of the story is slow didn’t make it any less enthralling and I found it very hard to put down.

It’s quite a long book and Deborah’s writing style can be very descriptive but for me, it just added depth to the story.  It also made me want to drink a lot of tea 😉  As an aside, look out for the house which is almost a character in its own right… I so want it!

All in all, a wonderful story, full of rich detail and characters who while may not be human, still make mistakes and are not perfect.  I can’t wait for book two, Shadow of Night!

Book Information
  • Author: Deborah Harkness
  • Series: All Souls Trilogy (1)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Rating: ★★★★★