Review–Shadow of Night (All Souls #2) by Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night (All Souls #2)
by Deborah Harkness

Historian Diana Bishop, descended from a line of powerful witches, and long-lived vampire Matthew Clairmont have broken the laws dividing creatures. When Diana discovered a significant alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library,she sparked a struggle in which she became bound to Matthew. Now the fragile coexistence of witches, daemons, vampires and humans is dangerously threatened.
Seeking safety, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to London, 1590. But they soon realise that the past may not provide a haven. Reclaiming his former identity as poet and spy for Queen Elizabeth, the vampire falls back in with a group of radicals known as the School of Night. Many are unruly daemons, the creative minds of the age, including playwright Christopher Marlowe and mathematician Thomas Harriot.
Together Matthew and Diana scour Tudor London for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782, and search for the witch who will teach Diana how to control her remarkable powers...

Source: I purchased a Kindle copy

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After rereading A Discovery of Witches and loving it, I decided to take advantage of a kindle sale and pick up the sequel in preparation for The Book of Life, which was due to release this month. Shadow of Night has a gorgeous cover that has been catching my eye for months. I couldn’t wait to begin.

I should start by saying that I love the conflict in A Discovery of Witches. I love the present day conflict that Matthew and Diana were faced with. I understood the drive and desire to use Diana’s time-spinning abilities to send them to the past, but I didn’t think it was a very good decision. I also didn’t realize the ENTIRE FREAKING BOOK would be set in the past. Needless to say, I didn’t enjoy Shadow of Night as much as I was hoping to.

The whole time I read Shadow of Night, I kept thinking how dumb it was for them to have tried to hide in the past. I was 100% sure the characters would somehow manage to screw up the present by doing so and I was also pretty sure that they were in over their heads. Matthew was a completely different person when he was alive in the 1500s and it was agonizing to watch him keep up appearances with his friends. To discover that he had his hands in just about every pot in that time period and was a powerful spy aggravated me because why on earth would he ever believe the two of them could safely hide in the past when just knowing him was dangerous and brought attention to people. Did they think they could hide their vampire and witch love affair any more efficiently back then? The 1500s is a time period I’m not terribly interested in. The conflicts bored me, partly because I knew they didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things other than keeping things bearable so that the two of them could get out and back to the present unscathed.

I did enjoy the part of the novel involving Matthew’s father. I enjoyed getting to know him as a character and watching Matthew and Diana prove themselves to him. It was sweet and interesting. I also enjoyed watching Diana learn more about her abilities, once she was able to find people who could help her.

While I did enjoy the way it ended and I am still invested in the story, I can’t help but be reluctant to pick up the last book. It took me what felt like forever to finish the book and I need a break. The novels are so wordy and so much happened that I felt was unnecessary in the end. I do recommend the series, but Shadow of Night was just… okay.