Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

After the cliffhanger ending of Book 1 (A Discovery of Witches) of the All Souls trilogy, I just had to start on the next book. I got the audiobook once again.

Let me back up a bit and tell you, the audiobook is looong! 20+ hours! I believe that’s a standard length for a novel, but I’d finish a book faster reading it than listening to it. That said, audiobooks are great for multitasking. If you have trouble reading books/ebooks while in transit, I suggest giving audiobooks a try, instead of your go-to Spotify playlist.

Going back to the book: Shadow of Night. The contemporary paranormal romance that is the first book turns into a historical paranormal romance. It was revealed in the later part of A Discovery of Witches that Diana can travel through time. So Diana and Matthew continue to run away, but this time by going back in time.

They timewalk, Harkness’ term for this ability, to Elizabethan London. Matthew Clairmont, the old vampire that he is, happens to be already living in this era, and a rich and powerful chap at that! Diana Bishop isn’t too much a fish out of water being in this time, considering she’s a historian. She has an idea of what sorts of things to expect. She also has Matthew to guide her through it all.

What she didn’t expect was to be around such prominent figures of that time. And she relishes it, of course!

They don’t keep their situation from their closest. So they get help in looking for Ashmole 782 before it’s bewitched and in finding Diana a good witch to educate her. It doesn’t go about without hijinks. There’s a gay writer in love with Matthew who detests her. There’s the campaign to rid the world of witches. There’s Diana being a 21st century woman in Elizabethan times. There are all sorts of things that can go wrong and does.

That’s all I am willing to divulge about the story. I don’t want to be attacked for spoilers.

One device that Harkness uses (and that I liked) was that after a few chapters of their life in history, she delved on what was happening in present times. Time travel especially backward in time is tricky in that you eventually alter the present. Readers also get an idea of what is happening to the people they left behind, what with the covenant after them.

All in all, Shadow of Night provides more character development for Diana and Matthew while in a different setting and among different people. So when the book ended with them returning to present times, I quickly moved on to the next book: The Book of Life.

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Leon Parenzo