Adult Book Review

The Wednesday Review: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

The Book:

side+crop+of+paperback+image+TSTME (1)Book Title: Shadow of Night

Book Author: Deborah Harkness

Genre: Adult Paranormal/Fantasy/Historical Fiction

Publishing Date: July 10th, 2012

Publisher: Viking Adult

Synopsis: 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.

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The Review:

Shadow of Night was a compulsively fascinating read! Was it a big book? Yes. Was it full of world building like A discovery of Witches? Definitely. But it was a completely different world, and story! It took me on a journey to the past and enchanted me with magic and witchcraft!

Now, I’ve read a few other reviews from people who didn’t enjoy this one as much as they did book 1. I’ve seen complaints about “name dropping,” and more world building when we already got so much in A Discovery of Witches, but Shadow of Night was a completely different entity in need of more world building because we were immersed into a world in the past. A world that also encompassed the supernatural and paranormal.  And, where some people saw “name dropping” and more world building, I saw imagination taking flight. I saw rich details that drew me in deeper and deeper.

“And so I discovered that the practice of magic was not unlike the practice of history. The trick to both wasn’t finding the correct answers but formulating better questions.”

I honestly loved Shadow of Night so much more than A Discovery of Witches. Harkness made me really fall in love with Diana and Matthew more so than I had before. I learned so much about Matthew and his past and saw him really take shape before my eyes. And, Diana has been growing into an incredible force to be reckoned with! It was amazing watching her learn more about herself, and Matthew. It was beautiful to witness Matthew change, and become more human at times, in comparison to his past self.

“Empathy is the secret to most things in life – including magic.”

And, where I felt that the world building was slightly tedious at times in book 1, I absolutely adored it in this one. It was so vivid and felt so well researched. Harkness gave life to the characters of the past and rebuilt that world in to one of her own making. It felt quite creative, but also realistic!

For those who didn’t quite enjoy A Discovery of Witches, I’d say this one was well worth making it through that one. It was an eye opener to several pieces of the story, but also posed more questions and intrigue to lead into the final installment. And, where book 1 felt like an adult version of Twilight, this one dissuaded those vibes for me. Everything fell beautifully in place to create this imaginative story that felt so different from anything I’ve read in the past. I am so looking forward to the next book! 4.5 stars!

4 Rating

Quotes used are from the book, written by the author.

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