Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
All Souls Trilogy, book two
Published July 2012 by Viking Adult
Format Read: Book from Personal Library
Description from Goodreads:
Picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night takes Diana and Matthew on a trip through time to Elizabethan London, where they are plunged into a world of spies, magic, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the School of Night. As the search for Ashmole 782 deepens and Diana seeks out a witch to tutor her in magic, the net of Matthew’s past tightens around them, and they embark on a very different—and vastly more dangerous—journey.
Both books I have read so far in this series have been truly spectacular. They make for slow reading because the author is a historian by trade and her work is jam packed full of facts, but they are also super interesting, intricate reads. I have not for one second regretted the "extra" time it took to read either book. They are intense reads, but so engrossing, and I have not wanted to put them down to go to work! I wish all books left me with that hungry feeling between reading sessions.
Anyway, this book picked up immediately after the ending of the first.
Diana and Matthew utilize her time traveling ability to go back to Elizabethan London to find a powerful witch that can tutor Diana in navigating her powers. There are emotional repercussions to traveling back to an earlier point in Matthew's life, which at first threaten to divide them, but Harkness does an amazing job at believably having the two lovers connect in an even stronger way after recognizing even greater depths of each of their personalities. This book is truly a homage of a type to a deep, abiding love built not on first attraction, not on fate, etc, but on the willingness and faith to push through difficulties and truly accept another person into your life, flaws and all. I LOVED that this was not an easy love story, but a strong, deep one.
Beyond that, there were soooooo many interesting scenes and details of Diana adjusting to life in Elizabethan England. The cast of real, historical characters including Marlowe and Shakespeare, himself, made for a very entertaining diversion into the past. The intersection between history, science, and the elements of the fantasy world that Harkness has created was seamless. As I read, I felt as if I could turn around at any moment and find a new history book denoting important vampires and witches of Europe. It was astounding how real the possibility felt.
I finished this book both dying to read the next one and desperate to read something totally different. Something light. The story is so gripping, but the writing is exhausting (in the best possible way). I'm hoping to read The Book of Life sometime in late February or early March.