Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Posted July 3, 2012 by Lucy D in Book Reviews, Contests & Giveaways, Paranormal Romance / 14 Comments

Our giveaway winner was Amy!  Enjoy!

ORDER A COPY: Shadow of Night: A Novel

Publisher: Viking Books
Publishing Date: July 10, 2012
Paperback: 592 pages

Rating: 5 Stars

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.

In the first book of the All Soul’s Trilogy, A Discovery of Witches, Deborah Harkess introduces us to Diane Bishop, historian and witch, Matthew Clairmont, scientist and vampire, and the mysterious, bespelled manuscript known as Ashmole 782 which Diana accidentally calls from the library archives. In this first novel, we watched the romance grow between Diana and Matthew, a romance which is forbidden by a centuries-old covenant; and we saw the growing contingent of creatures, including demons, vampires and witches, who will work together, if necessary, for force Diana to reclaim the manuscript from the archives. As the danger to Diana grows, Matthew and Diana devise a plan to thwart those who want to use Ashmole 782 for darker purposes.

Shadow of Night is the exhilarating continuation of the All Souls trilogy, and we follow Matthew and Diana in their endeavor to discover the secrets of Ashmole 782. Their plan is simple: Timewalk back to 1591; find Ashmole 782 before it becomes bespelled; and find Diana a tutor to help her control her magic. In and out. No problems. Hmmm. Sadly, Matthew and Diana have laid out the plans to achieve their goals without working out the small details of time travel.

Matthew, being a 1,500 year old vampire, is welcomed back by his friends at the Old Lodge and quickly acclimates to his past life, but our modern day heroine sticks out like the only warmblood at the a vampire ball. It is not just her modern day feminist views, or being an educated woman or speaking her mind. Everything about Diana stands out and screams, “I’m not from around here,” from her mannerisms to her accent and speech patterns. She will need more than just new clothes in order to move around Elizabethan England.

More importantly, the dangers to Matthew and Diana don’t decrease by leaving their own time period but simply, the names of their enemies change. Their relationship is no more acceptable in 1591 as it was in 2010. The covenant still exists against the fraternizing of creatures and a vampire and witch going about Town together draws unwanted eyes. With every creature in 1591 London whispering about the strange witch with Matthew de Clarmont, it won’t be long before the Congregation locates them. It is not just the Congregation that will be seeking them out, the witches have felt the arrival of the latent power that Diana holds within her, and the vampires and demons are watching too. Matthew and Diana are quickly accumulating some powerful enemies in the past.

They have also miscalculated the fact that in 1591 witch trials in Scotland are increasing and with more and more witches being persecuted and burned at the stake, the witches throughout Europe are increasingly fearful of openly discussing their magic and are not only weary of Diana who is a stranger with powerful magic, but of Matthew, who is a dangerous and powerful vampire in this time period. It quickly becomes clear to them that their plan to find a witch to help teach Diana to control her magic will not be so simple a feat to accomplish.

Finally, it is not just those outside of their lives that a cause for concern. When you are a 1,500 year old vampire, there are many secrets that you believe you have left buried in the past and taking a trip to that past brings them all to life for your new wife.

What an incredible continuation of the story! We meet some interesting new characters (both heroes and villains) in this story, most of whom we will need to leave behind in the past (but not all!). But it does make me realize I might not be so interested in a brooding, sexy vampire boyfriend full of centuries of secrets after all, although we do come to understand Matthew a lot better, including his brooding and what’s behind his apparent mood-swings. Matthew and Diana do work through their issues and form a true and strong bond by the end of the story.

If you haven’t read A Discovery of Witches, I don’t recommend you try and jump in here. But don’t be intimidated by the almost 600 pages. It was a quick read and such an intriguing story that you will catch up quickly.

By the way Ms. Harkness, the people over at Viking said it was okay for you to call me to talk about your outline for the final novel. Really!! I swear!! They said, “Of course, we have no problem with her telling you what’s going to happen next.” …or something like that. It might have been “No way in Hell!”, but you know how cell phones break up. So we’ll just go with they’re okay with it. So if you could just let me know what’s gonna happen–or Hey, let’s just save you some time, I know you are busy, you know you can just shoot me an e-mail with a rough draft of the next book. That would be fine. I don’t think they’d have a problem with that. I’m sure of it. 😉

Received ARC from Viking Books. Thank you.

See our review of A Discovery of Witches

To be entered for our giveaway, just tell us what magic power you would want as a powerful witch.

Thank you to Viking Books for the giveaway

Favorite Scene:

“It’s not easy for vampires to live among warmbloods, Diana. Without an emotional bond, warmbloods are nothing more than a source of nourishment. No vampire, however civilized and well mannered, can remain in close proximity to one without feeling the urge to feed on them.” His breath was cool against my neck, tickling the sensitive spot where Miriam had used her blood to heal the wound Matthew had made there.

“You don’t seem to want to feed on me.” There had been no indication that Matthew wrestled with such an urge, and he had flatly refused his father’s suggestions that he take my blood.

“I can manage my cravings far better than when we first met. Now my desire for your blood is not so much about nourishment as control. To feed from you would primarily be an assertion of dominance now that we’re mated.”

“And we have sex for that,” I said matter-of-factly. Matthew was a generous and creative lover, but he definitely considered the bedroom his domain.

“Excuse me?” he said, his eyebrows drawn in a scowl.

“Sex and dominance. It’s what modern humans think vampire relationships are all about,” I said. “Their stories are full of crazed alpha-male vampires throwing women over their shoulders before dragging them off for dinner and a date.”

“Dinner and a date?” Matthew was aghast. “Do you mean…?”

“Uh-huh. You should see what Sarah’s friends in the Madison coven read. Vampire meets girl, girl is shocked to find out there really are vampires. The sex, blood, and overprotective behavior all come quickly thereafter. Some of it is pretty explicit.” I paused. “There’s no time for bundling, that’s for sure. I don’t remember much poetry or dancing either.”

Matthew swore. “No wonder your aunt wanted to know if I was hungry.”

“You really should read this stuff, if only to see what humans think. It’s a public-relations nightmare. Far worse than what witches have to overcome.” I turned around to face him. “You’d be surprised how many women seem to want a vampire boyfriend anyway, though.”

“What if their vampire boyfriends were to behave like callous bastards in the street and threaten starving orphans?”

“Most fictional vampires have hearts of gold, barring the occasional jealous rage and consequent dismemberment.” I smoothed the hair away from his eyes.

“I can’t believe we’re having this conversation,” Matthew said.

“Why? Vampires read books about witches. The fact that Kit’s Doctor Fautus is pure fantasy doesn’t stop you from enjoying a good supernatural yarn.”

“Yes, but all that manhandling and then making love…” Matthew shook his head.

“You’ve manhandled me, as you so charmingly put it. I seem to recall being hoisted into your arms at Sept-Tours on more than one occasion,” I pointed out.

“Only when you were injured!” Matthew said indignantly. “Or tired.”

“Or when you wanted me in one spot and I was in another. Or when the horse was too tall, or the bed was too high, or the seas were too rough. Honestly, Matthew. You have a selective memory when it suits you. As for making love, it’s not always the tender act that you describe. Not in the books I’ve seen. Sometimes it’s just a good, hard—”

Before I could finish my sentence, a tall, handsome vampire flung me over his shoulder.

“We will continue this conversation in private.”

“Help! I think my husband is a vampire!” I laughed and pounded on the backs of his thighs.

“Be quiet,” he growled. “Or you’ll have Mistress Hawley to contend with.”

“If I were a human woman and not a witch, that growly sound you just made would make me swoon. I’d be all yours, and you could have your way with me.” I giggled.

“You’re already all mine,” Matthew reminded me, depositing me on the bed. “I’m changing this ridiculous plot, by the way. In the interests of originality—not to mention verisimilitude—we’re skipping dinner and moving right on to the date.”

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14 responses to “Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

  1. Erin Theiss

    So excited for this book! I think I would want to be able to move objects, very helpful for house work 😛 Thanks for the contest.

  2. I think I’d want the power to change my powers on a weekly basis. Flying is only good for so long before I’d want to do something different.

  3. Na S.

    I loved A Dsicovery of Witches and can’t wait for the sequel. Thanks for a wonderful giveaway. I’d want the power to time-travel. There are so many time periods I would like to visit.

  4. Lady Reader

    Thank you so much for the absolutely fantastic opportunity. I am seriously dying to get my hands on this book.

    If I were a witch… which would be so totally awesome, I would study and perfect potions to heal sick people. And obviously come up with minor unharmful potions that I could use to my advantage should my castle be invaded or something close to that. I think I would also perfect a potion so that I would not be allergic to cats. Because.. well, most witches have a cat. I think I could totally dig a black cat following my every step. It would just make the allure of the situation perfect.

    Thanks again for the opportunity and have a wicked good day! :))

  5. YvonneJ

    Teleportation – I’d like to be able to move from one place to another instantly……it would really help with the daily work commute.