Monday, 30 July 2012

Review: Shadow of Night - Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2)Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked it. Less yoga, more badassness.

In A Discovery of Witches Diana finds an ancient bewitched book, perhaps the very first Grimoire, and discovers that much as she wants to, she cannot hide from her identify as a witch. Finding the book puts Diana in the way of every witch, daemon and vampire in Oxford and it is down to the enigmatic vampire, Matthew Clairmont, to protect her. Inevitably they fall in love. It is forbidden for two different creatures to fall in love so Diana and Matthew now face the ire of every creature on the planet and worst of all made them outlaws in the eyes of the Congregation. At the end of the book Matthew and Diana are attempting to time walk to medieval England in order to find a which who can help Diana discover how to use her powers and to find Ashmole 782, the book that started everything, and discover its secrets.

Shadow of Night is quite a different book to A Discovery of Witches. It begins as Diana and Matthew step, quite literally, into the past and land in late 16th century England. The search for a witch is not as easy as Matthew thought it would be. Witch trials in Scotland are making everyone fearful and some of Matthew's friends, notably the daemon Kit Marlowe, are suspicious of Diana and her strange ways.

Their search takes them to France where we meet the wonderful Phillipe de Clermont, every bit a match for Ysabeau, as well as other members of the de Clermont family.

The book is littered with characters from history from the infamous School of Night and a currently uninspired Will Shakespeare to a forbidding Elizabeth I.

Harkness' knowledge of history is exceptional and unlike Shadow of Night, where we're often bludgeoned with descriptions of Oxford, her portrayal of 16th century London is much less laboured.

Harkness is able to explore the depth and limits of Matthew and Diana's relationship - what will, or won't, they do for each other? To what extent is their relationship linked to the original alchemical marriage? Can they find out why creatures are becoming extinct?

I enjoyed it greatly and look forward to the next installment.

It's available from Amazon and of course all good booksellers.

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