Book Review: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
All Souls Trilogy #2
Genre: Adult, Paranormal
IT BEGAN WITH A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES.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...
Now that I am finished with this monstrosity of a book book is goddamn long, I could honestly say that it did not capture me as the first book of A Discovery of Witches trilogy. Oh, it did contain a great many things that I love like historical details, time travel, romance, court politics and complicated relationships; but there was it lost some of the spark and much what like Diana and Matthew did, it went in circles.
The primary reasons for Diana and Matthew's venture to the past was to get away from the freaks hell bent on killing them and to find Diana a witch to help her with her powers. It seemed like a straightforward plan: time travel, keep low, learn and get the hell of out of there without messing with history. But noooooooo, it wasn't as simple as that when you're Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont.
Both of them were different, too. I expected it from Matthew since Hamish warned that Matthew wouldn't be the same in 1590. But dear Diana was subdued in her grit and mettle (and wilfully standing up to Matthew) that I had come to love in the first book. Thank goodness it got better in the second half of the book when all the cares, lies, secrets and wishes came out and they sorted them out between them. One of the things I like the most about these books is that despite being otherworldly creatures, the daemons, witches and vampires still have human traits, beliefs, strengths and failings.
It took me months before I attempted to read this book because of its sheer volume and while I was not enamored with it as the first, I still appreciated it. Now to go and conduct research on all the historical characters mentioned.