Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
Rating: 4 out of 5
Summary (From Back Cover)
It began with a discovery of witches.
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, 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...
I had a little break after reading the first book, even though I had this sitting on my self and that was because as much as I loved A Discovery of Witches, so much happened I needed some time for my brain to process before moving onto Shadow of Night. I'd recommend doing the same, not because this world isn't mesmerising and fascinating and fiercely enlightening - because it is - it's just when you read books back to back they can run into each other and these books deserves your full attention. You don't want to miss anything.
The story picks up exactly where we left it, with Diana and Matthew hurling themselves back through time into 1590. They do this to get away from all the problems they're relationship has coursed in the present, from the fact the whole of the magical community is out for blood and answers. They also need to figure out what magic Diana has, as in A Discovery of Witches we see her powers being to emerge, and even though the present isn't safe, neither is the past. Matthew picks a time where witches are being tried and killed and a time where Diana couldn't be more out of place if she tried. But with the help of the mysterious School of Night (well most of them) and some old/new friends they do their best to fix the problems that have arisen in the present.
First thing I have to say about this is I loved the setting. I have a mad obsession with the War of the Roses and the Tudor period so this book was all the more interesting for it's new time period. Like with it's predecessor you are dragged into this world and Harkness' writing style makes you feel like you're walking the streets of Tudor London - as well as all the other cities in this book.
I'm also growing less stubborn about Diana and Matthew's relationship as the series goes on. I've always been a fan of the couple but I just can't quite understand how anyone would put up with being dominated the way Matthew wants to control Diana. But, with this book Diana grows even more confident within their relationship and craves out her own family in 1590. It's sweet and amusing - keep an eye out for little Jack and his sticky fingers! Another character that's introduced in this instalment is Gallowglass de Clermont! In my head I imagine this almost viking esk character, and every time he calls Diana 'Aunty' I get a smile on my face. I don't exactly understand my love for Gallowglass but I defiantly have a soft spot for this guy.
A lot of questions are answered in this book - or at least you're given a bit more of the puzzle. You find out about Diana's powers, where they come from and what they mean, as well as being teased with what the manuscript actually means for our favourite Witch and Vampire.
Things to keep an eye out for... there are odd chapters here and there that focus on the present. They give you a small insight into what's happening while Diana and Matthew get twisted into the past. Also towards the end a character that you wouldn't expect to see pops up in London 1590. I won't say anymore because I don't want to spoil it! But it's brilliantly written!
Overall it's another intelligent and gripping book from Harkness that will have you combing through it's pages seeking out answers and wanting to delve into Tudor England. I can't wait for the final instalment of this - quite frankly - epic series that makes Vampires interesting again.
If you haven't done so already check out my review for the first All Souls book