Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Review: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2)

Goodreads Summary:
Deborah Harkness exploded onto the literary scene with her debut novel, A Discovery of Witches, Book One of the magical All Souls Trilogy and an international publishing phenomenon. The novel introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont; together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782.

Now, picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies, subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night that includes Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens.

Deborah Harkness has crafted a gripping journey through a world of alchemy, time travel, and magical discoveries, delivering one of the most hotly anticipated novels of the season.

My Review:
I wasn't blogging when the first book of this trilogy, A Discovery of Witches, came out.  But if I had been blogging, my review would have gone something like this:
I gave "Discovery of Witches" a 1 star rating on Goodreads. I liked the first, maybe, fourth of the book. Then I thought it was boring and overly long. Think about it- it's a 600-ish page book and I thought 450 or so pages of it were deadly dull. That's like a whole boring chunky book worth of boring. So, why did I read Shadow of Night? Because it's set in the Elizabethan Era and I was promised that I would meet Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. So, I decided that as long as I could get the book for free, I would give it a try.     

So, this was my attitude going into the book. I was prepared to try to like it, but I was expecting to hate it. I know that's not really fair, but... I ended up really liking this book. Which says something, because when I started the book, I was looking for reasons to hate it and give myself and excuse to stop. But I couldn't stop, the book just sucked me in. Why? Because stuff actually happens in this book compared to the overly navel gazing boredom of the first book. Second, Diana is really a lot less whiny and annoying in this book. Finally, Kit (Christopher) Marlowe is a deliciously, queen bitch, gay daemon.   
  
Historical Accuracy: I'm not an Elizabethan scholar, but I'm pretty sure that Marlowe wasn't a demon. In other words, this is an historical fantasy novel. So don't quibble about this. I hope it's accurate because the atmosphere Harkness created in this book is really lush and you feel transported into Elizabethan England. In any case, Harkness has published these books: The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution and John Dee's Conversations with Angels: Cabala, Alchemy, and the End of Nature. So, I'm going to assume that Harkness knows more than I do and that this book is pretty historically accurate.
      
Overall Rating: 3 1/2 stars  
Genre Rating: 4 magic wands  

As a side note: If you despised "Discovery of Witches", and perhaps were unable to finish it. I think that you could read a summary of "Discovery" to get enough background to read this book. There's really very little information you need from "Discovery" to make sense of  "Shadow of Night". Of course, if you hated a first book in a series, it goes without saying that you should get this one from the library.  
 
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Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2)

4 comments:

  1. I've had A Discovery of Witches on my to-read shelf, but I didn't realize that it was so long. O.o Six hundred pages? That's too much for my small attention span.

    Plus, it's a series! What? No. Thanks for warning me about A Discovery of Witches. I don't think I'll be picking up Shadow of Night anytime soon.

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    1. I read Discovery of Witches for a Group Read on Goodreads. Partially through the book, someone mentioned that it was the first in a trilogy. Which wasn't really clear to me when I started it. Or I never would have started it. But, I'm two books down and one to go, so I'm in it until the bitter end.

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  2. Hey, I've nominated you for the Versatile Blog Award! You can check out my page for the nomination
    RB :)
    http://reflectivebookworm.blogspot.co.uk/

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  3. "Four Magic Wands" haha I like that! I've seen Discovery around a lot and never allowed myself to pick it up since it was so freaking thick. Might have to check it out some day.

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