"Shadow of Night" Book Review

Updated on September 3, 2018
Victoria C Cook profile image

I'm a lover of everything written. I am happiest when I have a book, a paintbrush or pen in my hand.

Spoiler Alert!

If you haven't read the first novel "A Discovery of Witches" and wish to remain spoiler free, please click here to read my original review on Deborah Harkness's first novel in "All Souls Trilogy".

What is "Shadow of Night"

"Shadow of Night" is the second installment to Deborah Harkness's "All Souls Trilogy". In the first novel, the reader is left on a cliff-hanger as we leave Matthew and Diana's falling through time and entering old Elizabethian England. Diana is still unsure of how to manage her magic and the quest for the infamous manuscript Ashmole 782 continues, however now Diana and Matthews have more than ever to juggle. When shadows on Matthews past linger in the corners the characters have no choice but to face them. Learning a great deal more about each other as well as themselves personally, the pair becomes lost in time developing a life for themselves they never imagined possible.

Change is the only reliable thing in the world.

— Deborah Harkness

4 Reasons I Love This Novel

  1. Time Travel. When we leave Diana and Matthew in the first novel we are left on the fact that they are about to venture back in time. As the reader, this leaves us with an abundance of questions. Time travel is never a simple concept and I personally feel can very easily be over complicated for the audience. Therefore every writer needs to establish some form of time travel laws in order to maintain some type of consistency for the reader to depend on. Deborah Harkness's "Shadow of Night" achieves this concept brilliantly, portraying time as if it is a living entity on its own. There are no loose ends in Harkness's version of time travel and she even uses it at times to create even better connections between characters past and present.
  2. Funny. In my first review of " A Discovery of Witches," I mention how the novel has wonderful one-liners. The sequel is no exception. Once in a while, you get to a part in the story where you may be thinking to yourself it's getting a little dry. Maybe you even want to skim by some of the text then all of a sudden BAM! Something totally unexpected and clever is said or done and you become even more emotionally invested in this story.
  3. Characters. Every character is so well thought out, and meticulously planned it could rival a "Harry Potter" family tree. I have read novels by other authors where it feels as though every character has the same voice. Sometimes these characters are completely pointless even and just feel like a filler for plot purposes. Not in the "All Souls Trilogy", every character has a point and an individual voice that stands out. Each Character has a history unique to the individual. They are easy to love, hate or even just be fond of, but the moment you meet one they have an impact on the story.
  4. Matthew's Growth. The first novel "A Discovery of Witches" focuses a great deal on Diana, presenting Matthew to the audience as an established character. For the first novel, this is a pivotal aspect of Diana and Matthews relationship development. He is essentially Diana's night-in-shinning-armor. However, as the reader goes back in time we meet some of Matthews shadows, shadows he has kept locked away for a long time and now forced confront. The first novel touches on Matthews demons, but it's not until the "Shadow of Night" that they are truly brought into the light. Once these shadows are brought into the light, however as the reader your heart actually hurts for him making you fall in love with him just as Diana does.

I wish I had a spell that could make you see yourself as others do.

— Deborah Harkness

2 Parts I Didn't Like

  1. Matthews Whininess. Earlier I mention how wonderful it was to see Matthews character develop in this story, however, there was one downfall to this. In the first book, Matthew is portrayed as the man that has everything figured out doesn't maintain this quality in the second novel. He makes stupid choices and at times is even unrealistic. Without question, this did seem to be a character inconsistency, especially in regards to his boohoo me attitude when his personal history does become more relevant to the story. This isn't a constant character problem through the novel, but it most definitely did make me stop from time to time questioning why Harkness chose to write Matthew with a strong demeanor at one point and an ignorant one the next.
  2. The Kids. Without giving too much away there was one point toward the end of the story that made me cringe with a choice Matthew and Diana made in regards to their adoptive children. While following the story Diana and Matthew end up taking in a couple children, however, being in the past its not like they can take them with them to the future when all is said and done. This was a prevalent question in my mind while reading, but how they end up leaving them would have been my last choice for these characters. A part of me hopes it pulls some form of relevance in the third installment in the series. Otherwise, this is definitely a falt in the plot outline for these characters.

For what is blood but fire and water, a conjunction of opposites, and a chemical wedding?

— Deborah Harkness

In my experience, most second novels in a trilogy leave something to be desired. Understandably there purpose to build on a story to better compliment a grand ending in the final book. "Shadow of Night" definitely places the building blocks for the third novel "The Book of Life" but never falters from keeping the audience engaged and excited throughout the story. If you haven't already invested in this series I recommend you start, for its a fantastic tale of love, honor, time and sacrifices. If you interested in purchasing the "All Souls Trilogy" click here.

"A Discovery of Witches" Is Coming to TV!

If you didn't already know coming fall of 2018 "A Discovery of Witches" will be on the big screen in your living room. Below is the trailer for the upcoming show, so check it out!

5 stars for "Shadow of Night" Deborah Harkness

Will you be watching the Tv series?

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Questions & Answers

  • When is season 2 of “A Discovery of Witches” scheduled to return on television?

    From what I see online there is no clear release date. However like most popular TV shows my guess would be September or October of 2019.


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    • aliveandfree profile image

      Sarah Cook 

      16 months ago from Wasaga Beach

      Can I borrow your first book? After these great reviews, I would like to read them before the show starts! Thanks for the great reviews, great article, again!


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