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Shadow of Night – Deborah Harkness

This is the sequel to “A Discovery of Witches” so beware potential spoilers.



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 in the Bodleian Library,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. Reclaiming his former identity as poet and spy for Queen Elizabeth, the vampire falls back in with a group of radicals known as the School of Night. Many are unruly daemons, the creative minds of the age, including playwright Christopher Marlowe and mathematician Thomas Harriot.

Together Matthew and Diana scour Tudor London for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782, and search for the witch who will teach Diana how to control her remarkable powers…

I’m not too sure what I made of this book. I enjoyed being back in the world that Harkness has created, but at the same time, I don’t really feel as though a lot happened – more like a lot of running away and pretending to be on holiday in the sixteenth century – with no regard to the consequences in the future.

Some of the niggles I had with the first book were resolved in this book; all that Mary-Sue powers were actually to do with a gift called “weaving” – which is naturally a power that other witches murder because they don’t like it. So I suppose the Mary-Sue elements still remain, as do some of the other problems I had… but it’s all offset by the fact that I enjoyed being back in this world.

There were far too many new characters for my liking. Too many historical characters that Matthew just happened to know, two much court intrigue, spying and being involved in a Scottish witch hunt as well, and it was all over the top. Perhaps if there had been a little less of the historical characters and simply more of original, irrelevant to historical characters, and I think I would have been able to keep up with it more. As it stands I glazed over the history side of this; surprising considering I did my degree in history.

One of my major problems with this one, as with the previous book, was that the relationship between the two main characters is supposedly forbidden by everything and everyone known to exist… yet when it’s revealed it’s okay. Everyone just accepts it. Whether it’s in the present or in the past, it’s not questioned, the Congregation is never called to investigate, yet it’s supposed to be obvious that a witch and a vampire are together by weird glowing skin or something. All the vampires are supposed to be able to smell Diana on Matthew, and all the witches are supposed to be abject to it – so why doesn’t anyone involve the Congregation, the police of the supernatural world? It just doesn’t make enough sense to be.

The glimpses into the future were refreshing, even though they seemed to be some form of rehash of past events or objects.

The next book was released yesterday I think, so I am sure that I will read this soon enough and getting an ending to what it all means, however, it needs to be something really special in order to make the series have been worth reading.

There is more to talk about with this book, but for now I shall leave it there as I need to get ready to go out…

Keep well folks!