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Review & Giveaway: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

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Shadow of Night
Author: Deborah Harkness  
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Viking
All Souls Trilogy #2
ISBN: 978-0670023486
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Format(s): Hardcover (592 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher

About the book:

     Shadow of Night picks up right where A Discovery of Witches left off.  Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont, a witch historian and vampire geneticist respectively, have timewalked to Elizabethan England on their hunt for a magical alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782—its sudden appearance and sudden disappearance have upended the delicately ordered world of magical creatures (witches, vampires, and daemons), threatening to unleash unprecedented metaphysical chaos. 
     Though Diana and Matthew have escaped the threats of the present, they soon find the past holds its own challenges—Diana must find a witch to continue her magical education, a task made difficult by a rash of witch hunts across the British Isles.  And Matthew finds himself back in a life he thought he left behind, reuniting with friends and family that had long been reduced to memory, opening wounds he thought had healed.  Some of those friends comprise the infamous School of Night, a coterie of visionaries that includes Christopher Marlowe and Sir Walter Raleigh.  Together, Matthew and Diana must navigate the new dangers of an old century—bringing them closer and closer to solving the mystery of Ashmole 782.

What VampBards talking about:

     NOTE: Shadow of Night picks up immediately after the first title, A Discovery of Witches, ends (seriously, it was a cliffhanger, and I was ecstatic that I had the second title at the ready).  So, yes.  Read the first book of the trilogy.  Have the second on stand-by so you can immediately pick it up and begin reading where the first book leaves off!  Consider yourself warned!
     As A Discovery of Witches draws to a close, our hero, Matthew, and heroine, Diana, are preparing for a journey.  Shadow of Night begins upon arrival at their destination (See?  I’m even keeping the review spoiler-free for the first book!).  This is where I started to  **squee** like a fan-girl.  Excellent depictions of some major authors of the time as well as mathematicians and scientists.  Can I simply state that the first 20ish percent of this book had me riveted!  The interactions with Matthew and Diana and the School of Night members were fascinating for me!

“Mad, bad, and dangerous to know” described this group perfectly.  We hadn’t joined a cozy reunion of friends on Halloween night.  We’d fallen into a hornet’s nest of Elizabethan intrigue.  

     Even when forced to change plans, Matthew does so with precision and forethought.  Our couple were commanded to return to France, where Matthew would struggle with several issues.  However, Diana’s fierce protection and unwavering love for him manages to bind the couple even closer.  I really enjoyed the way the relationship between Diana and Matthew’s father evolved.  There couldn’t have been any other way to have the two grow together, due to their love of Matthew.  While Matthew and Diana had been married prior to their trip at the end of Discovery of Witches, a third marriage ceremony was performed.  Ms. Harkness’ scholarly endeavors were definitely revealed as she explained the marriage rituals, including both Christian and Pagan rites, in a flowing, believable manner.
     Matthew and Diana traveled to a few places, and during their journeys, Diana met a lot of interesting people.  Matthew renewed acquaintances.  However, Matthew’s possessive nature, much like Edward’s in the Twilight Saga, punctuated these meetings with a certain sense of hostility and discomfort for all parties concerned, as well as the reader.  I think this is what propelled me through the story.
     I also enjoy the snarky humor between Diana and Matthew:

“Vampires reckon time differently than warmbloods do,” he said, still unwilling to release me.

“How long is a vampire minute, then?”  I asked, snuggling under his chin.

“It’s hard to say,” Matthew murmured.  “Some length of time between an ordinary minute and forever.”

     Matthew and Diana also unearthed truths about their relationship, and their place within the grand scheme of things.  Their revelations were sometimes so intimate that I felt as though I were trespassing on a private moment.  Even after finding a treasure they sought on their journey, these intimate moments were powerful and full of emotion.

“Maybe my questions don’t need answers as urgently as I thought they did.”  To prove his point, Matthew put the book on the floor, out of sight.  “I thought it would tell me who I am and why I’m here.  Perhaps I already know.”

I waited for him to explain.

“After all my searching, I discover that I am who I always was:  Matthew de Clermont.  Husband.  Father.  Vampire.  And I am here for only one reason:  To make a difference.”

     At the conclusion of Matthew and Diana’s journey, they returned home, to find those they loved waiting.  The de Clermonts are ready to face a battle to protect the right to love the ones that have chained themselves to our souls.  I look forward to that battle in the next installment of the All Souls Trilogy.

VampBards Rating:

Loved it – enthusiastically recommend (A)
 

GIVEAWAY: Viking/Penguin Publishing is sponsoring an awesome giveaway to celebrate the release of Shadow of Night. They are offering a specially designed “Ashmole 782” temporary tattoo and a set of 6 buttons, along with a finished copy of Deborah Harkness’s new release, Shadow of Night.  The buttons each display a different alchemical symbol; readers will discover their meaning as they read the new novel. To enter, please leave a comment below and include your email address if it is not part of your profile. While you do not have to be a Google Friend Connect to enter, it is appreciated. The winner is restricted to US mailing addresses only. Contest is open from July 16 until July 20, 2012 at 10:00 PM EDT. The winner will be selected from the comment entries using random.org. The prize will be mailed to the winner by the publisher; I am not responsible for items lost in the mail.
Purchase Info:
A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy 1)
Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy 2)
  • http://lostinsidethecovers.wordpress.com/ lostinsidethecovers

    Oh how fun! I have A Discovery of Witches coming up quickly in my TBR – glad to know it is a crazy cliffhanger and that the next book is wonderful! Thanks so much. Great review and you pulled out some intriguing quotes! lostinsidethecovers(at)gmail(dot)com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11887990491392099928 Carl

    Thanks for the great review and synopsis. I’m really looking forward to Shadow of Night.

    carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10042665559975481397 Barbara E.

    I still have to pick up A Discovery of Witches so I’ll be ready to read Shadow of Night. :D But I’m looking forward to getting started reading this series, it sounds fantastic.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08477486069143661489 Lora Streeter

    This looks amazing and I’d love to start these!

    lora(dot)streeter(at)gmail(dot)com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03270537196719465622 Book Geek

    Thanks for this giveaway…the waiting list at the library is might long…LOL
    aleciab32@gmail.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16392692656456938856 Maureen

    It looks like another good book by Deborah Harkness. Thanks for the giveaway!
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16199847825723033747 JenniferK

    I’m so excited to read this. Thanks for the giveaway.

    jcalvert719(at)yahoo(dot)com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13299984031773447050 Keith

    Deborah Harkness brings historical depth and exitement to a world of witches and vampires. I love it! fuller700@msn.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11002257557171055492 Lisa (dlhoffer)

    Oh I am just finishing my re-read of ADOW…can’t wait to read this one!! Thanks for the chance to win it!

    lisahoffer(at)hotmail(dot)com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03741193869620856417 JJackson

    I absolutely loved A Discovery of Witches and can’t wait to read Shadow of Night!
    jenjacksn AT gmail DOT com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08355033518318274514 lorinda

    LOVED book #1! Matthew is the sexiest vampire ever, and Diana is every bit his equal! Can’t wait to read book #2. lor(dot)inda(at)sbcglobal(dot)net

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18215805656481018273 Mindy Knisley

    Would love to read this.

    c88go@aol.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18095410693450733653 4hollyA

    Hope this will get me entered…loved ADOW and looking forward to this and the third of All Souls Trilogy….twihard and jr ward lover

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08477486069143661489 Lora Streeter

    This looks quite interesting! I’m not sure how the timezones line up, but I hope I didn’t miss the deadline!

    lora(dot)strother(at)gmail(dot)com

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