2013 Reads: Fourteen {Shadow of Night - Deborah Harkness}

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I want to jump inside this book and live within its' pages.

Deborah Harkness has done it again.

Okay, you guys. Remember when I read Discovery of Witches and raved, and raved, and raved about how amazing of a book it was? And how I could not wait to get my hands on the second book? 

And then how I waited months to actually pick up Shadow of Night? Because I have a fear of reading books in a series when the next book isn't anywhere near being published? And also how I have this book-reading thing where I have a hard time reading a book I know I am going to love because there is only one time you get to read that book for the first time. 

That was exactly how I felt about this book.

And now?

Now I NEED the third book to be out ASAP.

I seriously cannot wait for the final piece of this trilogy! 


At the end of A Discovery of Witches, Matthew Clairmont and Diana Bishop have broken one of the major laws which govern and divide the supernatural creatures of the world. Diana, who is the descendant of a long and powerful line of witches (but reluctant to use her powers or to accept her heritage) and Matthew, who is an incredibly old vampire (fifteen-hundred, to be exact), have married.

This is a huge no-no for the paranormal creatures of the modern world.

Combine that with the fact that Diana, during her research at the Bodliean Library, discovered Ashemole 782 and she and Matthew have caused enough trouble to put themselves on the radar of the Congregation. This alchemical manuscript could shatter the manner in which vampires, witches, daemons, and humans coexist.

The rediscovery of this manuscript could change everything.

So, Shadow of Night begins right where A Discovery of Witches leaves off. Diana and Matthew, seeking safety from the modern-day Congregation, have time walked back to London in 1590. However, they quickly realize that Elizabethan London may not be the safe haven they were looking for. This is a world of spies and witch hunts, and it plunges Matthew back into his past life. He is forced to reconnect with his old friends - the members of the legendary and mysterious School of Night - who he has not seen since the Sixteenth Century. Many of whom are the largest creative and academic minds of their time - and unruly daemons or vampires themselves.

Matthew and Diana must locate a witch to help her develop her powers, find Ashemole 782, and figure out how they can live in the past without greatly impacting the future they came from. However, Matthew's past quickly encroaches in on them and they are forced to delve deeper into Matthew's past, connections, friendships, and family ties.

Time travel is not going to be as easy for this witch and vampire as they originally thought. 


Deborah Harkness is a genius. 

She's an absolutely brilliant and creative woman - academic and storyteller combined. She weaves her words like a tapestry to tell a beautiful and rich story of love, friendship, and magic. She has taken a wonderful original story and followed it up with a novel that delves so much further into the world she has created.

Basically? Deborah Harkness exactly who I want to be. Seriously you guys. This woman studies and teaches exactly what I want to be studying. I am so in awe. 

This book is so amazing to me on so many levels. I really cannot get over just how much I loved everything about this book. The pieces of it fit together beautifully. The storytelling was brilliant and the language was beautifully crafted. I honestly felt, on numerous occasions, as though I were walking down the medieval streets with Diana and Matthew and the rest of their gang. 

Harkness created a beautiful picture of city life within the Middle Ages. She blended, perfectly, storytelling with historical understandings of lifestyle and culture of the time and places Diana visited. She made history come alive in a way that made reading about it interesting and appealing. Yes, I know that may be my inner nerd coming out and defending something I love. But, objectively, I think that Harkness did a fantastic job putting her story into the time and the place where everything began for Diana and Matthew. 

I still wish I was Diana Bishop. That hasn't changed since I read Discovery of Witches and I don't think it's ever going to change. Professor of History who studies medieval alchemy? Who also happens to be a witch? I'm sold already. Add in the tall, dark, handsome vampire she's in love with? Yep. Even more sold. I think that Diana is an admirable heroine for this novel. She's fearless but not stupid, she's proactive but cautious, she can take care of herself but will accept the help of others when necessary, and she fiercely loves those whom she holds dear. I can't imagine a better protagonist. 

And her counterpart? Matthew has totally grown on me through this book. He's just so interesting and complex that it's impossible to feel as though you understand him completely. Nevertheless, it's been interesting to get more of the holes in his story filled. His bloodlust condition is fascinating, and something I am not sure I've read much if any in any other vampire novel before (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong with that statement). And his friends? The people he's known and grown close to over his years? It's just an insane game of chess that Matthew and his family played with all the influential people in history - and it's brilliant. Yes, he's still protective of Diana and all that he considers to be his, but Diana keeps him in check. She continually reminds him that she is her own person and can tend to her own needs, that the fact he is a vampire enhances his protectiveness. They balance each other out perfectly with a love so genuine and true.

Other characters in this book are amazing too. I adore Gallowglass something terrible. He's just so witty and protective and always there at the right time. He's a perfect counterbalance to Matthew. And he's always there for Diana. Basically? He's amazing. I also loved getting to "know" some historical figures that I've been reading about (in history) for ages. Christopher Marlowe - a daemon and one of Matthew's best friends? Sir Walter Raleigh? Henry Percy? Deborah Harkness has given a voice to these historical icons on a deeply personal level. And though, while Kit Marlowe was probably not a daemon, it's fun and interesting to consider what these now-famous men might have been like when sitting around the table with a pint in their hand and an idea to discuss. 

What I love about this book is that it has a little bit of something for everyone. It has vampires, witches, and daemons. It has the paranormal romance. It has a strong female character in the lead role. It has the history. It has the witty and charming friends of both Matthew and Diana. It has time travel (done in an interesting and curious way). And it has a fantastic plot weaved through it all. There is no single place where I feel this book is lacking.

Bravo, Deborah Harkness, Bravo. 

And, really, I cannot even process what happens at the end of this book.

I need #3 right now. 


Title: Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2)
Author: Deborah Harkness
Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fiction/Paranormal
Medium: Hardcover, 577 pages
Date Read: 22 March 2013
Publisher: Viking Adult (10 July 2012)
Source: Purchased (duh! of course I had to own this one!)
Recommended For: Late High School +; Adults; Paranormal Lovers; Medieval History Buffs; Anyone, really!
Challenges: Goodreads, Off The Shelf

First Line: We arrived in an undignified heap of witch and vampire.
Favorite Line: We don't lock up books in this house, only food, ale, and wine. Reading Herodotus or Aquinas seldom leads to bad behavior. 
Runner-Up Favorite Line: Stop trying to be perfect. Try being real for a change.
Last Line: Yes, Shakespeare mused, he'd definitely use that one day. [whited out, for spoiler's sake]


  1. Love your review!
    I really enjoyed both books and cannot wait for the third. I am very curious how all is going to end! (although I do not want it to end)

  2. Ok, this review deserves a SQUEE! I couldn't agree more about your assessment of this magical series. I'm on pins and cushions waiting for Book 3. I made a trip to Oxford and London with some fellow fans at the end of last year. If you really enjoy the historical aspects of the book, I recommend a great Facebook group called the "All Souls Trilogy Discussion Group". Deb is a regular poster/commentor in the group and there are some incredibly smart people who have done a lot of research on all the names and historical times/places in the book. It's amazing. Also, you may want to know that this has been optioned by Warner Brothers to be made into a movie and the script is complete. I'm heavily campaigning that Richard Armitage be cast as Matthew Clairmont. You can check out that crusade at www.arimitage4clairmont.com or on FB at www.armitage4clairmont.com. Fingers crossed that Book 3 will arrive in 2013!


Thank you all so much for your comments! I'm only happy when I have comments. Really. You are contributing to my future happiness right now! XOXO