Saturday, June 30, 2012

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Book: Shadow of Night
Author: Deborah Harkness
Publisher: Viking
Date: July 10, 2012
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
My grade: A

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’ cliffhanger 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.


Initial reaction
Holy story overload!!! In a good way…..

Title and cover
I am experiencing title and cover love for this series. This title is actually literary, which earns it bonus points. And these covers are so cool to look at! The colors on this one are amazing and then with Renaissance London's cityscape there!  Another 2 thumbs up!

Plot, characters, etc 
Wow! This plot is crammed full of information! It required some thought-processing time as I read. But I love the way that Deborah Harkness has woven together her own world-building with the historical content in this novel. Watching the story unfold in Renaissance England was incredible!

This series has some beautiful world-building, in my opinion. Just when I think she’s backed herself into a corner that she can’t possibly get out of with any feasibility, she comes up with something that just blows my mind! This book had some crazy stuff in it, but I was always able to suspend disbelief and go with the story. I wish that Stephenie Meyer would have taken some tips from Ms. Harkness! All the explanations about the nature of vampires and the nature of witches and magic, it all makes sense within the world that she has built! Bravo!

This story was crazy and all over the place, but it was fabulous nonetheless. It read a lot like The DaVinci Code, with the mystery taking them back in time and then all over Renaissance Europe. There was another great cast of secondary characters in this one as well. I don’t want to give away key plot points, so I can’t really name any of them. Just rest assured that the cast from the past is as fun as all the secondary characters in the present!

Now, don’t expect this to be a fly-through read. I can normally kill a book in a day or two, but this is literally chock-full of information. I had to slow down in order to absorb it all, but by the time I reached the end, I was very satisfied with the book. This one doesn’t end with the killer cliffhanger that horrified me at the end of the first book, but it sets up the next book very nicely.

This is an adult book, so there are some sex scenes in it, but not the bodice-ripper romance type and they fit right into the narrative, but some parents may not approve of this for their teen. However, I think that anyone, teen or adult, who reads this series needs to have at least a passing interest in history or they will quickly lose interest in the book.

Matthew de Clermont 
I don’t usually “cast” characters as I read, but holy hot vampire! I could not get this image out of my head for this book!

Yes, Henry Cavill is definitely Matthew for me, and more so in this book since Matthew is always running around in Tudor era clothing. ::fans self:: I’ve heard rumors that this has been optioned for a movie, so I’m hoping that they think of dear Henry! Of course, if they do cast him, my ovaries might explode when I see the movie!


Skalds and Shadows by Blind Guardian

This song works in so many ways for this book. First, it has a very Renaissance feel to it. Second, the word “Shadow” is so important in this book. Finally, there is all the talk of myth and prophecy that figure so prominently in the storyline.

In Stereo by Summertime's End

This song reminds me sooooo much of a particular scene in the book which I loved!

Landslide by Stevie Nicks

I imagine Diana and Matthew both feeling this way at times. This is such a bittersweet song about the past, present and future and that especially fits this book with the timewalking to the past to affect the present and future.

The final grade 
This book is another A for me. I loved it! It requires some processing while reading, but when I got to the end, it was glorious! I am anxiously awaiting the next installment. In the meantime, I may have to pick up some DVDs of The Tudors!

Thank you to Viking and Netgalley for allowing me to read and review this book. I received no compensation for my honest review, but I would be willing to take some pictures of Henry Cavill.

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