Friday, July 6, 2012

Early Review of Shadow of Night (All Souls #2) by Deborah Harkness

Author's Website:

"You don't like the unknown, Diana, but sometimes you've got to embrace it."

When Diana Bishop first laid eyes on Ashmole 782 she knew it was different. She could feel it before ever opening it. She had no idea what she'd just discovered. When supernatural beings started showing up all around her, she didn't instantly make the connection to the book. She thought it had something to do with the Vampire who appeared to be stalking her. If she'd been a little more observant, if she'd given it a little more thought, perhaps she would have made the connection on her own, but it took Matthew Clairmont to spell it out for her.

The supernatural races are diminishing. "The daemens are getting wilder. Vampire blood is sometimes incapable of transforming a human. And witches aren't producing as many offspring." The survival of the supernatural population is coming into question. Amidst all the chaos and confusion, a book once only rumored to exist was uncovered by a witch who had no wish to be one. That book was believed to contain the origins of supernatural beings. Something no one had seen in a very long time. But the book seemed to also have a special connection to Diana and Matthew. For no one but Diana had ever been able to summon the book. It had been hidden among the stacks in Oxford's Bodleian library for years and was thought to have been lost forever. When one of the missing pages is found, however, it appears to have a link to the alchemical wedding. Curiously, the bride and groom depicted in the picture bear a striking resemblance to Diana and Matthew. Coincidence? Is there truly such a thing?

Determined to discover the mystery behind Ashmole 782 and their link to it, Diana and Matthew will take a step back in time to find the book in it's entirety. They'll attempt to find Diana a teacher to train her to use her powers. They'll try to decipher what the book reveals. All while hiding from the very people who threaten their lives and relationship.


When you read a book that everyone is talking about you can sometimes be disappointed because you are expecting more than what the book offers. Thankfully, that was not true of A Discovery of Witches and it is not true of it's sequel, Shadow of Night. I absolutely adored this book and will be purchasing a hard bound copy for my keeper shelf. Ms. Harkness truly created a world that left me spellbound, enthralled, and wanting more. 

Diana and Matthew have traveled back in time to the year 1590. It is a time Matthew knows well, as he lived through it. He hand picked the time because he had a well established group of friends he could trust. Plus, he had access to resources which would allow him to find a witch who could train Diana and help him locate Ashmole 782.

I loved how we and Diana got to see what type of man Matthew was in 1590 and, as Marcus had hinted, Matthew was a different person. We find out more about Matthew and learn some of his secrets--for he has many. We get a glimpse of what molded him into the man he's become and get to meet more of his family. We also learn what has haunted him for years.

We learn more about Diana's powers and how she is different from other witches. This is the book that clearly distinguishes that the All Souls trilogy is not a Twilight remake. Twilight was mainly about vampires, while this series focuses on witches, or rather, one witch in particular--Diana.

I loved seeing how Diana, who loves history, realizes that reading about and living in a certain time period are much different. She begins recording some of her findings, and I can't help but wonder if the journal she kept will have some significance in the the third book. I can't wait to see how everything we've learned so far will come into play in the final book and fit together.

While we still don't get a full disclosure about the meaning of Ashmole 782, we do get closer to discovering what secrets the ancient book holds. Plus, we get a better understanding of what the verses, "It begins with absence and desire. It begins with blood and fear. It begins with a discovery of witches." mean, as well as, the meaning of others.

I loved how Ms. Harkness intertwines bits and pieces of the past into her story which, in my humble opinion, makes the story even more engaging and interesting. For instance, the time period Matthew and Diana travel to, would have been a dangerous place to be a witch or to be accused of being one. Witchcraft trials were in full swing. Diana and Matthew would have to be careful or risk Diana being accused and possibly killed. Additionally, Ms. Harkness takes some bits of history that aren't that well known and brings them to the forefront in her story. I truly do love it when I learn something I didn't previously know when reading a novel.

Why is the book called Shadow of Night? Well, there are several references to 'Shadow of Night', however, I think the following verses are what inspired it:
"Black is the badge of true love lost. The hue of daemons, and the Shadow of the Night."

Overall, I gave this book 5 out of 5 roses. It was well written and I loved the descriptions Ms. Harkness included. I felt I was right beside the characters experiencing things with them. I love the mystery that has yet to be revealed as to what significance the missing pages hold. While I'm hesitant to classify this series a romance, Matthew and Diana are fully entwined in their romance in this book. For that reason, on the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a FAN rating - the temperature in the room seems to have suddenly gone up a couple of degrees and a fan would be nice.

Notes to keep you in the know:
Thomas Hariot was an astronomer who lived in the time period in which Matthew and Diana supposedly traveled back to. According to the article I found, entitled 'Thomas Harriot: A lost pioneer' written by Anna Faherty, he did indeed create a telescope before Galileo. According to Faherty he "might have become a household name, had he bothered to publish his results."  Here is a link to read the whole article:

The alchemical wedding referred to in the All Souls trilogy is indeed a hypothesis alchemists theorized about. It was a process usually associated with the marriage of gold and silver. According to the article I found online, "This goal of alchemy is to make this golden moment permanent in a state of consciousness called the Philosopher's Stone, and it all starts with the marriage of the opposites within." To read more about the alchemical transformation and it's seven stages check out this link:

The School of Night, a group labeled free-thinkers, actually did exist. It included some of the very people this book mentions such as Thomas Harriot and Christopher Marlowe. It met in secret to discuss things considered forbidden at the time.To read more about the School of Night check out this link:

There was a Matthew Roydon living in 1590 who was a member of the School of Night, although little is known about him. Here is a link which goes more in depth as to who the man was:,_Matthew_(DNB00)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...