Saturday, November 24, 2012

Shadow of Night

by Deborah Harkness
July 7-October 21, 2012


Diana and Matthew are back! Back in time that is; 1591 to be exact. The second book in the All Souls Trilogy, I was eagerly awaiting its release. I was also excited to hear Jennifer Ikeda reading the audiobook version again. She has such a knack for creating authentic-sounding men and women of any age as well as voicing a myriad of accents.

At the end of Discovery of Witches (Which, by the way, I loved. So romantic, so intriguing, and so descriptive that it actually had me craving wine.), Matthew and Diana were stepping back into Elizabethan London with the help of Diana's limited time-traveling capabilities. Shadow opens at that exact moment with a slew of characters, some historically accurate, and from there the complexity of the plot never ends. In truth, I had quite a hard time following it, and even started over after five completely confusing chapters. I'm glad I did because it made more sense the second time. But, between the highly detailed historical information and the character development, I missed the "magic" from the first book. This second installment seemed to be more about the experience of living in 1591; Matthew being a devout Catholic in Protestant England, witches being burnt in Scotland, the founding fathers of the School of Night; than the charm of a love story between a witch and a vampire. The most interesting part for me was when Diana met her tutor/witch, found out she's a Weaver, and really began learning how to perform and understand her magic. Meeting Matthew's father Phillipe, who we heard so much about in the first book, was equally enjoyable. Matthew and Diana's love deepens while they are in the past and future occurrences are forever changed. But the copious details and shift from what we had in Discovery was what had me lost most of the time. When Matthew and Diana finally came "home" to the present, I found myself reinvesting in the story and eager to see where the reader will be led in the last book. Shadow, too, ends with a cliffhanger, much like Discovery.

I found a great interview with Harkness where she claims that, "These are not your children’s vampires and witches." So true! Reading the first book, all I wanted was for our couple to consummate their relationship. Well I got my wish in Shadow of Night! But I wonder if actually reading this book as opposed to listening to it would have enhanced my experience? I heard that there is actually a glossary of characters in the printed version! I could have used that. I think I will reread both books before the third and final book is released.

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