- I enjoyed A Discovery of Witches by the same author.
I also recommend:
- Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
- Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
Summary from GoodReads:
Deborah Harkness exploded onto the literary scene with her debut novel,A Discovery of Witches, Book One of the magical All Souls Trilogy and an international publishing phenomenon. The novel introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont; together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782.
Now, picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending,Shadow of Night plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies, subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night that includes Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens.
I loved A Discovery of Witches. I haven’t enjoyed a romance/paranormal book like it since I read Outlander back in the day. So, I was thrilled that when I got into it I had Shadow of Night standing by, ready to be read. However, I have to say it did not live up to its predecessor. Let me tell you why:
First, there are a lot of sidekicks in this one, y’all. Lots of people get added to the story in a dizzying mess of names and personalities. In fact, it’s so dizzying that at one point, I think you could easily swap three of the names of people in the text and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
Second, the historical names. Don’t get me wrong, I love those little peeks we get into the lives of famous historical people, but I enjoy them more when the book is centered around them and when they are not used as props. I don’t want to spoil the book for any reading this, but I will say this – finish the book and see if you agree that the story would have been just fine (possibly even better) with anonymous names. And by the story, I mean the main course of the story, not the sides and extras.
And that main course is what kept me picking up the book. Those two are just two of many small annoyances I had with the book (how much can a couple moon over each other?) but when you get down to the nitty gritty, the story was still there and it was still solid. I love how Deborah Harkness builds her world of magic. The descriptions of the witches magic working was thrilling and I devoured those passages like no ones business. The introduction of more family of Matthews was also quite thrilling, as were other fictional appearances in the book. Those are what made the book enjoyable for me, not the implication that in order for things to get done, they must be done with the highest of the high.
Frankly, I’m a little torn on whether or not I pick up the next one when it comes out. I hope that Deborah goes back to what she did with the first book and really gives us solid, fictional characters and… dare I say it? Maybe Matthew and Diana will cool down a little bit too.
Don’t just take my word for it! Check out what these bloggers say!