Book Review: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness PLUS WIN A SIGNED COPY!!

Shortly after Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont timewalk to London, 1590, they discover that the past may not provide a safe haven after all. Reclaiming his former identity as poet and spy Matthew Roydibm the vampire falls back into step with a group of radicals known as the School of Night who share dangerous ideas about God, science and man. Many of his friends are unruly daemons- the creative minds of the age who walk the fine line between genius and madness- including playwright Christopher Marlowe and mathematician Thomas Harriot. Matthew himself is expected to continue to spy for Queen Elizabeth, which puts him in close contact with London's cut-throat underworld.
Together, Matthew and Diana scour the bookstalls and alchemical laboratories of London where they follow the elusive trail of Ashmole 782- and search for the witch who will teach Diana to control her powers.
Shadow of Night is the second book in the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness. I read the first, A Discovery of Witches last year and really enjoyed it so I was looking forward to seeing what Deborah Harkness would do with the story next.
Shadow of Night begins exactly where A Discovery of Witches left off. I would highly recommend reading the books in order so you can get a full grasp of events so far.
Matthew and Diana have travelled back to Elizabethan England, the year 1590 to be precise. Here Matthew is Matthew Roydon, a spy for Queen Elizabeth and a member of the School of Night. Other members and friends include Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Harriet and Sir Walter Raleigh. I found this aspect of the book completely fascinating. Deborah Harkness brought these famous historical characters to life on the page; her background as a historian is evident and her attention to detail cannot be criticised in any way.
Matthew and Diana are in danger from the very beginning. There are only so many people that they can be completely honest with so it is vital that Diana can pass as an Elizabethan woman of the time or suspicions will be raised . Matthew and Diana have two main problems to solve during this book. They must find the text Ashmole 782 which is how their story began and they must also find another witch who can teach Diana how to harness her magical powers.
Shadow of Night is lengthy at 768 pages but I found that I flew through it. Deborah Harkness creates a fantastic pace, her descriptions are extremely vivid and she reveals a lot more about Matthew's past. I felt myself turning more and more pages as I wanted to know what was going to happen next and whether Diana and Matthew would get what they came for.
These books are wholly fantastical but I love the story that Deborah Harkness has created. She has added paranormal edge to historical fiction and in doing so has created an enchanting trilogy that will appeal to a wide variety of readers.

Dot Scribbles Rating 5/5

Many thanks to Headline for sending me a copy of Shadow of Night to review, it is published on 10th July.  Here is a video that Deborah recorded for bloggers and she gives a little teaser about some of her new characters.

The lovely and very generous people at Headline have offered me two signed copies to give away to the lovely readers of Dot Scribbles. All you have to do is leave me a comment by midnight on Thursday 12th July and I shall pick two names out of the hat. This competition is open to UK residents only. Good luck! 


Anonymous said...

I loved the first book and can't wait to read the next. Found it by chance in a charity shop missed all the talk about it. Boy am I glad I found it

jessicabookworm said...

Sounds right up my street. I am a stickly for reading series in order though so will have to get my hands on the first book first!

hypnoloss said...

Amazing first book! Would love to win a copy of Shadow of Night



Mr. Hand said...

Thanks for the review. I have been a big fan of Deborah Harkness since reading her book on John Dee's Conversations with Angels, which inspired my own academic research into Renaissance Magic--specifically a conference paper on John Dee and Pseudo-Dionysius. I liked that book so much that I dug up her dissertation in the basement of the UC Davis library, and read it on microfiche. Her novels are a brilliant new direction for the work of understanding Renaissance Magic and Alchemy, not only in the context of the history of science but also as it can relate to our own lives. Thanks for the review and contest!


rhonda said...

Loved the first would love to read this one.

Catherine Knight said...

I LOVED A Discovery of Witches, and can't wait to read Shadow of Night. I just re-read Discovery of Witches in order to better prepare myself for when Shadow of Night arrives on my iPad :)

lissa said...
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