Review: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Title: Shadow of Night
Author: Deborah Harkness
Series: All Souls Trilogy
Rating: ★★★★

A Discovery of Witches felt like something I hadn’t read before. Sure, the witch and vampire idea is out there and has been for a while, but something felt different about that book. The same thing happened with Shadow of Night.

In Shadow of Night, Diana and Matthew timewalk back in time with the hope of finding Ashmole 782 complete. They want to find the secrets of their creation and their future. On top of that, they want to find a witch to help Diana as she finds her witch powers. They travel back to 1590 and are thrown right into the world of Elizabeth’s England.

Matthew falls back into his life as a spy and gets back together with his group of friends, known as the School of Night. Diana has to find a way to adjust to the time in nearly every way, on top of trying to find a witch with the power to teach her about her own powers. She’s living in the world that, as a historian, she could only dream of seeing.

Matthew and Diana are married before they timewalk, but they still have problems they need to work out. There are still secrets between them, and while some are insignificant, some are important. They have to work on their relationship and find ways to accept the good and the bad, as well as air those hidden secrets.

I think the cast of characters for this novel is one of my favorites in recent memories. Every single person was unique and I fell in love with several of them. The homes Matthew and Diana occupy while in Elizabethan England are rarely empty and each person that took up space in those homes was fantastic. They all added something special to the novel and I could easily read books about each and every one of them.

There’s a lot that doesn’t happen in this novel, but that doesn’t bother me. Even though not everything felt as though it held importance to the overall plot or characters, I didn’t mind reading about everything that went on. Nothing felt like filler, even though some pages were not as important as others. There are often times when things aren’t happening, but that’s okay. Harkness makes every word feel purposeful.

Shadow of Night was a fantastic novel that I made sure to really read. I slowed myself down in order to enjoy each word. This was a wonderful sequel and I am looking forward to what comes next and how Diana and Matthew’s trip to the past has changed their future.

If Shadow of Night sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

I have been on the fence for over a year about reading A Discovery of Witches. It sounded interesting, but people were so divided on how much or how little they liked it. People either loved it or hated it and that made me worry a little bit. Usually, if a book is that polarizing, I tend to agree with the group that doesn’t like the book at all. But I finally decided to sit down and read and I’m now kicking myself for waiting so long.

A Discovery of Witches has a bit of everything. There’s a romance with a vampire, there’s science and history, there’s mystery and magic, there’s heroic knights; you think of something, and I’d be willing to bet it’s somewhere in this book. Somehow Harkness manages to fit all of this into one book without making it seem heavy and overdone. The beginning of the novel felt a little heavy and slow, and there was quite a bit of info dumping and description, but getting past that is so worth it.

The story is set up with the discovery of a manuscript important to so many different groups, but that only sets up the fight that is the rest of the novel. The manuscript opens Pandora’s Box, in a way, and the rest of the novel is Diana and Matthew fighting forces that are bigger than themselves. They must overcome everything set in front of them and work together to try and find the secrets the world has hidden away with time. Harkness has told this story beautifully. I actually slowed my reading pace down so I could drink in every word on the page, not wanting to miss a thing.

A Discovery of Witches is a fantastic, beautiful novel that drew me in and hasn’t let go. The world of witches, vampires and daemons has me enchanted and I’ll definitely be reading what’s to come in Diana’s story.