"Together we lifted our feet and stepped into the unknown." (From the thrilling sequel to the New York Times best seller A Discovery of Witches)
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' cliff-hanger 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.
Deborah Harkness has crafted a gripping journey through a world of alchemy, time travel, and magical discoveries, delivering one of the most hotly anticipated novels of the season.
©2012 Deborah Harkness (P)2012 Penguin Audio
avid audiobook listener, sociopath, nerd.
This is a beautifully written series so far. Deborah Harkness takes you right into the 16th century. The plot is complex but not confusing, and the narration is excellent. The variety of accents Jennifer Ikeda conveyed was impressive without being overly theatrical. This is a vivid, enchanting story. The array of personalities was engaging, each character seemed well thought out and had a depth that was really refreshing. If you liked the first book you will certainly enjoy this one.
I have read and listened to “A Discovery of Witches” more than a dozen times over the past year. I waited for “Shadow of Night” like a child eagerly anticipates Christmas. In this new book, Deborah Harkness weaves a beautiful story as the main characters escape into the past. The new characters in the story are refreshing and endearing. Once again, Jennifer Ikeda does a marvelous performance of every character. Also, as a history major in college, I found the detailed information on the Elizabethan era of England interesting. With all of that said, I missed some the “magic” found in the first book. I felt the detailed historical information slowed the storyline. Matthew’s point of view is rarely provided. I missed the quick wit exchanges between characters, the faster pace to the storyline, and the peaks and valleys in the storyline of the first book. While I recommend the book and, once again, eagerly await the third volume, I am hoping that the full magic that Harkness has the ability to provide in her writing will be found in the next book.
Say something about yourself!
Whew; I liked this, but it took perseverance to get to *liking.* I don't just mean because of the 600 pages (24.5 hrs), and I'm not alone with my endurance problem -- even some of the professional critics confessed to wanting to skip ahead, jump over some of the fettering details. They justified their confessions by, in the end, giving Shadow of the Night a shining review. For me, that was the trick to *liking*...sticking it out to the end. I almost unplugged half-way through, which would have been regrettable. So, before you get discouraged by: the mass of characters (so many that the text book includes a glossary of characters), or the tediousness of tea and wine (Harkness at one time wrote a blog about wine), or the seemingly pointless conversations, the contrived events, and other minutiae of Elizabethan England...Hang in there.
When they say this one picks up where A Discovery of Witches left off -- they aren't kidding. If you have not recently read (or reviewed) the first book (D of W) you will probably be lost in a torrent you can't get out of. Diana the "reluctant witch," and Matthew the "vampire-scholar," continue their urgent quest for the ancient alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, which is said to contain critical secrets about the inhabitants of this book: vampires, witches and demons/daemons (tomato/tomahto - I googled it). The as-of-yet-unwed couple time travels (by way of Diana's limited witching abilities) to 1591 -- a troublesome landing spot -- Matthew is a devout catholic in Protestant England, and next door in Scotland they are burning witches. Diana, in and out of a yards of petticoats, stealthily searches for a much needed witch-tutor (Goody Alsop was great), while Matthew attends to one of his many secret roles; their actions constantly watched by dangerous cabals and covetous eyes. There are 3 sections to this book: Matt and Di's actions in 16th century England, France, and Prague, with a brief (and sudden) jump back to the 21st century at the end of their hunt in each location, to explain the impact of their actions (in the *past*) on the present. This little section also updates the present-time reactions of the Conventicle and the Congregation to either defend or thwart the couple's progress in finding Ashmole782.
The title refers to an actual 16th century poem by George Chapman that referrences the heretical The School of Night, and several prominent historical figures, William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Sir Walter Raleigh, even Queen Elizabeth I (does Harkness hint at a royal relationship years earlier with Matthew?). Harkness, a professor of history at USC, uses her knowledge and writing skills to embellish the story with copious details and some clever alterations of some of the significant historical figures. Obviously a great amount of research and attention went into this book. Still, even appreciating the authentic rich scenes and the new presentation of history, the overreliance on details becomes very weighty, and some good editting would have easily helped keep the middle from dragging without cutting any of the story. As for plot...aside from some pretty hot vampire on witch action between shopping, lessons, and secret missions--there isn't much, which is understandable if you look at this book as setting the stage for the final installment (boy, it had better be phenomenal!). I especially enjoyed Matthew's father, Phillipe, and hope to read more about him, as well as SOME of the interesting characters introduced in this book.
They find Ashmole, (not a plot spoiler) no fanfare, still missing 3 pages. Some questions are answered, some vexing new ones presented. Matthew's personality is a little lost in the past, but Diana's is expanded; the couple becomes more joined. The tension between the witches and vampires builds. All in all a great set-up. Jennifer Ikeda does a noteworthy job of reading so many accents and characters. She was clearly familiar with the characters and story, and gave an enjoyable, sophisticated performance. If you have read that this is "Harry Potter for adults," or a "grown-up version of Twilight," toss those epithets aside; there is much more here than comparisons. On it's own, Shadow of the Night is intelligently written adult fare. In an interview, author Deborah Harkness stated, "There are a lot of adults reading YA books, and for good reason...I wanted to give adult readers a world no less magical, no less surprising and delightful, but one that included grown-up concerns and activities. These are not your children's vampires and witches." If you liked Discovery of Witches, if you can appreciate carefully setting up the final act--you'll like this. In hind-sight, after the final book is released and so many details justified or explained, I'll probably like it even more, but since I can't time travel back and change my rating, I'll stick with a glowing 3* for now and hope for 5* with a fantastic conclusion of the All Souls Trilogy.
Maybe, but there is a lot that one has to wade through... expecting something to happen with nothing ultimately "important" taking place.
Cut some of the unneccessary discriptive embelishment and leave a little more of the picture scene up to the listener's immagination.
Librarian, Avid Reader, Audiobook Addict!
I must admit I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I enjoyed A Discovery of Witches. This one bogged down big time in the middle and by the time it did pick back up I was ready for a conclusion. That being said I will read the next installment just to see how it all ends. I just hope it will be worth it.
Also I would say the ending was unsatisfactory after all the time spent in the past, then no questions answered when they got back to the present but what we got at the end was Shakespeare? Ok I will try to be more succinct. Sometimes the past story felt like a who’s who and at times it got to be a little much. Plus as I said it really bogged down and almost lost me in the middle I think if I hadn’t been listening to this on audio it would have been easy to put the book down and step away.
So my dislikes were the middle and the ending…hmm…. That doesn’t make it sound like I liked this at all but I did… I like the story, but there are hopefully going to be some answers in the next book like what happened in the present while Diana & Matthew were gone…What happened when the 16th century Matthew came back to his life? This one seems like a biggy because of all the who’s who in history they met and the changes to his own past & personality at the time Matthew made how could he not find out what happened in those months he disappeared. Where did he go? Did he just cease to exist for those months?
So hopefully the 3rd book in this trilogy will answer my questions and get back to what I loved about the first book. I will read the next one.
Jennifer Ikeda does a good job again at the narration however there was one voice that annoyed me every time and that was the Duke of Northumberland his voice was so odd it just bothered me, also she did accents for some people and no accent for others, which as a listener I found an odd choice either do all accents or none at all not just wily nilly.
3 Stars- (Good Book but some things didn't connect with me)
When I clean, drive or exercise I listen to romance. The steamier the better but it must have a great story as well!
I have been waiting for this book to be released ever since I'd read the Discovery of Witches. I was concerned, needlessly, over whether it would be as good as the first book. It was amazing! This series has a slow and methodical rhythm, similar to that of the Outlander series. I love each of the new characters Deborah introduces and the roles they play in the book. However, I was a little disappointed that the love scenes weren't very detailed, others may find that the fact this book contains no smut enjoyable. This is definitely a "pg" rated book. I don't want to ruin the story by giving details for those that are deciding to whether or not to purchase it. I will say that I love the story, flow, description and overall feel this book gives. Mystery, magic and the comfort of steady relationships give this book wonderful structure. Now I wonder how long I'll have to wait for the 3rd in the series. ;)
I was in LOVE with the Discovery of Witches! I found that I could not stop listening. I am finding it to much different with Shadow! Where is the "Love" story that had me so interested? I think that there are way too many minute details and not much of what had me captivated in Discovery. The reader is awesome the book is slow! I am half way through and find myself going days without listening. When I do listen I feel it is almost out of obligation to finish rather than the excitement to find out what happens next. Praying for the second half to pick up or I may be "listening" to this book for months!
To All My Favorite Narrators: You are the voices in my head...
The scene when Matthew and Diana are talking about how vampires are depicted in modern day romance novels. Hysterical! It's like she put that scene in just to stick it to all the readers whom complained about the lack of sex in the first book.
I can see why some people do not like this story. It's really not that suspenseful, there are no hot and heavy sex scenes every other chapter, and it's slooooooow.
Having said that, I still loved this book. These books are not nail biting page turners, and they are not vampire erotica hidden behind a plot. This story is a long, slow stroll down a road filled with beautiful scenery. Harness does a fantastic job of putting the reader in 16th century England, I found myself looking up many of her characters on Wikipedia just to get more background on them.
If you want a roller coaster experience, you will not like this book. Personally I loved the slow, lazy tide of the story.
The narrator was fantastic!
Like the romance, but love the action involved to get there!
The narration was OUTSTANDING. You really have to give it to Jennifer Ikeda, she was consistent and interesting, but I wish I could say the same for the plot. It may not be fair to compare the sequel to the original but certain parallels must be drawn. The first book was fast paced, edge of your seat, couldn’t put it down, amazing. The second installment gave such details on the history that I kept waiting for the story, it eventually came but I shudder to think what the editor crossed out if all of this historical context made it in. I understand setting up the scene, but Deborah Harkness set up the scene of historical Elizabethan England wonderfully…….and then she walked you through it one piece at a time so you FULLY understood it all. There were about 6 hours of detailed scenery imaging and clothing specifics that I am just never going to get back, and did nothing to further the plot.
Diana fully came into her own in this book, and I enjoyed that, but rather than becoming an equal with Mathew, Mathew just disappeared. In the first book we fell in love with Mathew, with his ideas, strong stance, his wonderful wolfish nature all wound up in a dominating package that begged the reader to stand up and take notice. I expected him to be his cool and calm domineering self but instead his plot lines were lost, and he became a secondary character only brought out when Diana’s story demanded it. I sincerely hope the third installment of the series gives him a voice again.
I am glad that I bought this book, it does round out some lingering questions from the first book, but I feel the relevant plot material could have been taken care of in about 12 hours, rather than 24. I encourage Deborah Harkness to get back to basics….THE PEOPLE, not the scenery, or the historical context.
I absolutely loved the scenes of unexpected meetings with family members. I was so happy Diana had the opportunity to meet Phillippe. I also loved meeting the various famous people from the 16th century such as Kit Marlowe and Queen Elizabeth. Deborah Harkness did a fabulous job bringing them to life!
My favorite character is Diana (no surprise there). I love the way she always wins over Matthew's family & friends despite their prejudices. She inspires fierce loyalty in the people she brings into her circle.
I highly recommend this series. Diana and Matthew's story is one of the most unique I've read in a long time. If you love Diana Gabaldon you will love this series as well.
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