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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

ARC Review: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Publisher: Viking
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Format: e-ARC
Source: publisher

(may differ from final copy)
We arrived in an undignified heap of witch and vampire.

Harkness starts Shadow of Night right where her debut, A Discovery of Witches, left off. After falling head over heels in love Diana and Matthew now travel back in time to 16th-century England in search of the Ashmole 782 along with the hope that they will discover more about Diana’s powers. They know they are going to face ridicule and that they will have to tread carefully so that they don’t alert people around them that they are from the future. Unfortunately for Diana, that is not possible and fitting in proves to be harder then Diana thought it would be.

Diana finally gets to meet the notorious School of Night group which includes many historic figures. One in particular, Christopher Marlowe, is hell bent on making Diana’s life miserable (due to the fact that he is in love with Matthew.) Besides trying to find the Ashmole 782, Diana must learn what type of Witch she is and how to harness her magic to get them home. Unfortunately for her, for every new discovery, bigger and more complicated matters emerge.

Matthew is hot-headed as ever and having to bring Diana back to this time in his life has him constantly on edge. He doesn’t want her to discover all the crimes against witches that he committed. Once he finally lets the shield down around his heart he learns to accept that he can’t change the past (even though he and Diana are trying). He now has to focus on the future of him and his bride and their bundle that is on the way.

The reader is taken on a fantastic journey back in time to one of my favorite time periods to read about. Set against the backdrop of Elizabeth I’s reign, Harkness pulls you in with her descriptions on how it was to live back then. I love that Diana had to learn to “fit” in and even though she is a historian, nothing can prepare someone to have to actually live the culture. Diana and Matthew’s characters really start to grow as does their family (including a few street urchins who worm their way into their hearts). Even though at times the writing becomes quite wordy, in the end it was worth reading this amazing voyage that Diana and Matthew embark on and I anxiously await the conclusion of their story.