Customer Reviews for

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

117 out of 129 people found this review helpful.

captivating, beautiful and breathtaking.

The tale literal picks up right where Discovery of Witches left off. Diana and Matthew find themselves landing back in Elizabethan London. Diana is thrilled to be able to visit a period she has studied but finds herself woefully unprepared. She quickly realizes that eve...
The tale literal picks up right where Discovery of Witches left off. Diana and Matthew find themselves landing back in Elizabethan London. Diana is thrilled to be able to visit a period she has studied but finds herself woefully unprepared. She quickly realizes that even with her education she is completely out of her element. From her speech to her mannerism it is obvious to all; she isn’t from around here. With the aid of Matthew’s eccentric friends, they will work to assist Diana with these skills, secure a witch to train her and find the lost copy of Asmole 782. The tale that unfolds is absolutely breathtaking, filled with suspense, romance, danger and iconic characters throughout Elizabethan history. The characters are flawed, fleshed out and I absolutely adore them. Diana finds herself out of her element. Her witchcraft is acting all sorts of bonkers. She is living in a time when witches are burned at the stake, the clothes are barbaric and women have no rights. In this novel we get to see tremendous growth in Diana. Her love and understanding of Matthew grows. She becomes more confident in her own skin and continues to be loyal, fearless and stubborn. I loved watching her discover her talents as a witch. This provides both funny and frightening scenes as her inability to control them creates mayhem. Then of course there is Matthew *swoons*. In this novel we learn so much about him and what has molded the modern day version. His history is both fascinating and sad. We get to see a darker side of Matthew as he confronts his past. He loves Diana but things are holding him back. I loved discovering his inner-workings. Diana peeled back his layers, bringing them closer together. The soft, tender side of Matthew was beautiful. There are a few flash forwards to present time and the characters we love. This provides insight into how Matthew and Diana are changing the future. We spend most of the novel in the years 1950 and 1951. This affords us the opportunity to witness history, attend the queen, and meet many historical characters. Harkness did a fantastic job of weaving them in the tale and giving them voice. I adored getting to know Gallowglass and Matthew’s father. The Queen and other characters gave me the chills and I feared for Diana. Harkness has an incredible gift for world-building. She brought the Elizabethan era to life. Her interpretation of the queen, the atmosphere, and the smells of London lifted the tale right from the pages and I become completely immersed. It is immediately evident that a tremendous amount of research went into writing this novel. I was delighted by the historical accuracy and believability. From the buildings, merchants and furnishing, Harkness's imagery was enthralling. The characters she introduced were fleshed-out, and my feelings toward them reflected that. Shadow of Night held my attention and kept me up late two evening in a row, but it was worth every sleep-deprived minute. Harkness spun twists and turns into the plot that completely captivating me. We travel all over Europe and I loved all the little details. The fear of discovery and the atmosphere of the times, especially towards witches made this tale very suspenseful. The romance between Diana and Matthew was genuine and beautifully portrayed. Thanks to Viking for providing a finished copy in exchange for my unbiased review

posted by kimba88 on June 18, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

80 out of 110 people found this review helpful.

Incredibly disappointing

SOME SPOILERS!

As a university writing professor of 20+ years, a rabid reader, and history buff, I find Harkness to be one of the more frustrating writers I've encountered. An obviously brilliant historian with terrific ideas, her books have enough originality an...
SOME SPOILERS!

As a university writing professor of 20+ years, a rabid reader, and history buff, I find Harkness to be one of the more frustrating writers I've encountered. An obviously brilliant historian with terrific ideas, her books have enough originality and intrigue to hook me--until I'm reduced to screaming frustration by the weak (or absent) editing, inconsistent characters and "Twilight" For
Academia plotlines. I was SO hoping "Shadow" would improve upon "Discovery", but I don't think it does in any major way. Like "Discovery," "Shadow" has the makings of a terrific novel; I can see that novel; I just can't get to it:

1. "Discovery" desperately needed to be cut by half; while shorter, "Shadow" still needs to be cut in half. After a conscise, fast start, the novel goes off the rails as it progresses. HOW many times must we be told Matthew and Diane have no more secrets only to be told, oops, there's more? How many references to Matthew's stalkerish possessiveness, his astounding beauty, their star-crossed obssession and her inept magic do we need? WAY too many characters, plotlines, secret organizations, obscure or cliched historical references (Dracula? really?) Must Matthew have some connection with all historical figures (major and minor) of the last 1,500 years? An awful, uneplained death at the end comes out of nowhere and reads like an overly obvious attempt at "shocking cliffhanger." The last 200 pages cram in so much "stuff" (Diana's dad?!), I felt like tbe author was trying to use every. single. idea. she had. Edit!!

2. One plus is that the inane,infuriating "Twilight" parallels that show up via plot and character in "Discovery" are, somewhat, toned down. Diana has some backbone--mercifully not as much fainting, sleeping, being carried around, and following Matthew's every command--but we're still stuck with the icky half-vampire baby plotline and way too many simpering "ma couer" dialogue points.

Worse, common sense alludes these supposed geniuses consisently. After showing some spunk and real intellect, Diane then does incredibly stupid things, repeatedly, like deliberately exposing herself to dangerous creatures, being surprised when they find her and want her dead, while apparently forgetting her past history of torture, abuse and being in the 16th century to HIDE.

Matthew is TOO much: too Byronic, too James Bond meets Lancelot, yet not smart enough to realize that yes, if you time travel, you're probably going to alter history and run into people you shouldn't or don't want to: like your dead father and crazed sister.


3. Not consummating the affair was one of "Discovery's" most annoying points--it finally happens here but we have to wait almost 200 pages and the circumstances (Matthew's father basically ordering it) are kind of cringe-worthy. However, the sex scenes do have some fun steaminess and eroticism.

4. The Ashmole search unbelievably disappears for long stretches while the lovers do other things and give the search over to secondary characters who, every 100 pgs or so,pop in to say it's still missing. It only becomes important again almost 3/4 of the way thru. There are supposedly reasons for this--but I didn't care by the time I got there.

Deborah Harkness has a sexy, fascinating, fun novel in here SOMEWHERE but this isn't it. Sh

posted by irishclaireKG on July 14, 2012

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  • Posted June 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    captivating, beautiful and breathtaking.

    The tale literal picks up right where Discovery of Witches left off. Diana and Matthew find themselves landing back in Elizabethan London. Diana is thrilled to be able to visit a period she has studied but finds herself woefully unprepared. She quickly realizes that even with her education she is completely out of her element. From her speech to her mannerism it is obvious to all; she isn’t from around here. With the aid of Matthew’s eccentric friends, they will work to assist Diana with these skills, secure a witch to train her and find the lost copy of Asmole 782. The tale that unfolds is absolutely breathtaking, filled with suspense, romance, danger and iconic characters throughout Elizabethan history. The characters are flawed, fleshed out and I absolutely adore them. Diana finds herself out of her element. Her witchcraft is acting all sorts of bonkers. She is living in a time when witches are burned at the stake, the clothes are barbaric and women have no rights. In this novel we get to see tremendous growth in Diana. Her love and understanding of Matthew grows. She becomes more confident in her own skin and continues to be loyal, fearless and stubborn. I loved watching her discover her talents as a witch. This provides both funny and frightening scenes as her inability to control them creates mayhem. Then of course there is Matthew *swoons*. In this novel we learn so much about him and what has molded the modern day version. His history is both fascinating and sad. We get to see a darker side of Matthew as he confronts his past. He loves Diana but things are holding him back. I loved discovering his inner-workings. Diana peeled back his layers, bringing them closer together. The soft, tender side of Matthew was beautiful. There are a few flash forwards to present time and the characters we love. This provides insight into how Matthew and Diana are changing the future. We spend most of the novel in the years 1950 and 1951. This affords us the opportunity to witness history, attend the queen, and meet many historical characters. Harkness did a fantastic job of weaving them in the tale and giving them voice. I adored getting to know Gallowglass and Matthew’s father. The Queen and other characters gave me the chills and I feared for Diana. Harkness has an incredible gift for world-building. She brought the Elizabethan era to life. Her interpretation of the queen, the atmosphere, and the smells of London lifted the tale right from the pages and I become completely immersed. It is immediately evident that a tremendous amount of research went into writing this novel. I was delighted by the historical accuracy and believability. From the buildings, merchants and furnishing, Harkness's imagery was enthralling. The characters she introduced were fleshed-out, and my feelings toward them reflected that. Shadow of Night held my attention and kept me up late two evening in a row, but it was worth every sleep-deprived minute. Harkness spun twists and turns into the plot that completely captivating me. We travel all over Europe and I loved all the little details. The fear of discovery and the atmosphere of the times, especially towards witches made this tale very suspenseful. The romance between Diana and Matthew was genuine and beautifully portrayed. Thanks to Viking for providing a finished copy in exchange for my unbiased review

    117 out of 129 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2012

    Incredibly disappointing

    SOME SPOILERS!

    As a university writing professor of 20+ years, a rabid reader, and history buff, I find Harkness to be one of the more frustrating writers I've encountered. An obviously brilliant historian with terrific ideas, her books have enough originality and intrigue to hook me--until I'm reduced to screaming frustration by the weak (or absent) editing, inconsistent characters and "Twilight" For
    Academia plotlines. I was SO hoping "Shadow" would improve upon "Discovery", but I don't think it does in any major way. Like "Discovery," "Shadow" has the makings of a terrific novel; I can see that novel; I just can't get to it:

    1. "Discovery" desperately needed to be cut by half; while shorter, "Shadow" still needs to be cut in half. After a conscise, fast start, the novel goes off the rails as it progresses. HOW many times must we be told Matthew and Diane have no more secrets only to be told, oops, there's more? How many references to Matthew's stalkerish possessiveness, his astounding beauty, their star-crossed obssession and her inept magic do we need? WAY too many characters, plotlines, secret organizations, obscure or cliched historical references (Dracula? really?) Must Matthew have some connection with all historical figures (major and minor) of the last 1,500 years? An awful, uneplained death at the end comes out of nowhere and reads like an overly obvious attempt at "shocking cliffhanger." The last 200 pages cram in so much "stuff" (Diana's dad?!), I felt like tbe author was trying to use every. single. idea. she had. Edit!!

    2. One plus is that the inane,infuriating "Twilight" parallels that show up via plot and character in "Discovery" are, somewhat, toned down. Diana has some backbone--mercifully not as much fainting, sleeping, being carried around, and following Matthew's every command--but we're still stuck with the icky half-vampire baby plotline and way too many simpering "ma couer" dialogue points.

    Worse, common sense alludes these supposed geniuses consisently. After showing some spunk and real intellect, Diane then does incredibly stupid things, repeatedly, like deliberately exposing herself to dangerous creatures, being surprised when they find her and want her dead, while apparently forgetting her past history of torture, abuse and being in the 16th century to HIDE.

    Matthew is TOO much: too Byronic, too James Bond meets Lancelot, yet not smart enough to realize that yes, if you time travel, you're probably going to alter history and run into people you shouldn't or don't want to: like your dead father and crazed sister.


    3. Not consummating the affair was one of "Discovery's" most annoying points--it finally happens here but we have to wait almost 200 pages and the circumstances (Matthew's father basically ordering it) are kind of cringe-worthy. However, the sex scenes do have some fun steaminess and eroticism.

    4. The Ashmole search unbelievably disappears for long stretches while the lovers do other things and give the search over to secondary characters who, every 100 pgs or so,pop in to say it's still missing. It only becomes important again almost 3/4 of the way thru. There are supposedly reasons for this--but I didn't care by the time I got there.

    Deborah Harkness has a sexy, fascinating, fun novel in here SOMEWHERE but this isn't it. Sh

    80 out of 110 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 10, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    I loved this book. very well written. Finished it very quickly

    I loved this book. very well written. Finished it very quickly

    26 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    NOTE: Lost reading this book, or about to start reading it? Go t

    NOTE: Lost reading this book, or about to start reading it? Go to the back of the book and find "Libri Persona: The People of the Book" (I believe it is on page 579-581 out of 584 pages). It has a list of the characters and a brief description for each character broken down into the sections of the book. Bookmark it! It will help you out immensely considering all the different people and details in this book.

    Shadow of Night picks up where A Discovery of Witches left off. Diana and Matthew go back in time to Elizabethan London in search of Ashmole 782. Though Diana knows about the Elizabethan age, she finds it hard to act the part. Matthew and his buddies try to help Diana by tutoring her in how to live in the 1590s. The story is detail rich, so be prepared to know a lot more about Elizabethan London by the end of the book.

    While in the past, Matthew and Diana are faced with several quests. The first, to find Ashmole 782 and discover its secrets. The second, to find a witch to teach Diana how to use her magic. Both are extremely important in the book, but there is another important part. Shadow of Night gives a lot more details on who Matthew really is. You can easily see how much he has grown compared to his past self. You also find out how he interacts with his friends and family and why he is the way he is. This brings great new details to the series, since I felt that A Discovery of Witches didn't give very many details on Matthew.

    Though I think the book was a great addition to the series, I found myself frustrated with preconceived notions on time travel. Yes, I have watched too many time travel movies / read too many books. Matthew and Diana seem to not be afraid to alter the past, and do not seem to worry about the ramifications that could happen. To each their own, it did take a little bit of my enjoyment away from reading. All in all, I suggest this series if you loved the first book.

    Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley for an honest review.

    20 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2012

    I think this book was a success in one way and a failure in anot

    I think this book was a success in one way and a failure in another. Obviously, Harkness has a plethora of knowledge of history and wields that throughout the book. Out of approximately 600 pages, only 100 involves a plot. She strings you along enough that you want to know about these characters and their solutions but never quite satisfies you. I enjoy reading historical non-fiction but even the history in this book made so many assumptions about what the reader would bring to the book (or didn't care) that it became white noise. It wasn't enough real history to make sense and too much for a narrative. I really wanted to love it. The only reason I am giving it 3 stars instead of two if because I do love history and the plot (though weak) is interesting. I will read the 3rd, but I won't recommend the book.

    18 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Awesome book! Finally an ADULT fantasy series, not YOUNG adult.

    Awesome book! Finally an ADULT fantasy series, not YOUNG adult. Really, the historical details are exceptional and the plot is as intricate and engaging as the characters are. Also, a lot of wit and humor to lighten up some of the darker parts. A great summer read.

    If you are looking for books like this, I HIGHLY recommend Traci Slatton's books Immortal and The Boticelli Affair. They're the only books that are of the same calibre as the All Souls trilogy and they feature the same historical richness combined with alchemical/magical themes and some fun romance.

    16 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2012

    Horrid

    Sorry to say that this book was just awful! It dragged and the story never went anywhere. The main characters didn't really do anything and I was so disappointed as I was looking forward to this book after the first one. But I agree with others that there must have been no editing done here. And I can't believe all the good reviews that this book has received. I kind of felt like the author spent a lot more time on the first novel and then rushed this one out. There was no plot. NO plot at all, and the story was SLOW...painfully SLOW.

    10 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2012

    The story of Diana and Matthew is an interesting one, however th

    The story of Diana and Matthew is an interesting one, however this book was tough to get through. Harkness includes way too many characters, many of which had historical implications, however to the average reader, this became quite confusing. I found myself re-reading sections to clarify what was going on. Harkness should consider the fact that most of her readers are not historians and are readers interested in a good story and ease up on the number of characters and their historical importance in the last book. I will read the last installment when it comes out, as I hate not knowing how a series will end, but it's not a book I'm dying for.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2012

    Loved it

    Stayed home from work to read it. I couldnt put it down. Is it too early to wonder when book 3 is coming out?

    9 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2012

    Love

    Looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove it

    9 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2012

    I had to put this book down about 250 pages in because I felt th

    I had to put this book down about 250 pages in because I felt that I was getting a history lesson, a very dry history lesson. I was so confused by all of the characters, and then having them referred to by their nicknames was just too much. If an author needs to put a list at the end of her book of each character, then there are TOO MANY CHARACTERS. I also felt that she got lost in the details and forgot about the story. When she did get to the story it was too brief. When the author would jump time lines I felt that I had missed a page or chapter and would turn back. And when she would jump into the present the characters where completely unknown to the reader, and you wouldn't discover their purpose(if at all) until the end of that chapter.

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2012

    It was so wonderful spending time in 1591 and seeing it through

    It was so wonderful spending time in 1591 and seeing it through the eyes of someone out of time! I have often wondered what it would be like to step back in time and "go native" just to see how it was and to appreciate what our world is like now even more so. I feel like traveling with Matthew and Diana, I have had a glimpse of it!

    The only thing about this book that was hard for me, was the fact that it really picked up where A Discovery of Witches left off with no reminders. And having read Witches so long ago, I almost had to look back and refresh myself because I didn't remember who someone was or what was going on. But once I remembered everything I really got into the story. I cannot wait to see what happens in Diana and Matthew's lives and in the lives of all those around them! I already miss the people they shared the past with too

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 22, 2012

    A thoroughly enjoyable and well written book

    I was prepared to be underwhelmed with the second All Souls Trilogy installment, instead I was impressed and spent two days immersed in the late 16th century. I enjoyed every moment of both books and although I am not much of a reviewer I can say that anyone who appreciates a well-researched novel will appreciate Deborah Harkness's second installment in her trilogy. I love her characters, and her descriptions of the clothes and the surroundings. Her plot kept me glued to the book for 2 days straight. This book is not to be read alone however......I found that the best way to read a trilogy or an ongoing series is to read the whole thing at once so I reread Discovery of Witches and then jumped directly into Shadow of Night. No one saw me for 4 days and I loved every minute of the read. The only flaw in Deborah Harkness's book is that when she writes about the way the late 16th century smelled she never mentions about how bad it was. It had to have reeked. People didn't' bathe,they used chamber pots and threw them out windows, there was death and decay everywhere...(especially peoples mouths)I mean I wouldn't have wanted her to dwell on it but she really missed the ball on that one. Other than that her research was AMAZING and I learned so much from reading her books. I hope her third book is being written quickly as I am awaiting more.....more more!

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 4, 2012

    I really wanted to like this book. The first book dragged, but i

    I really wanted to like this book. The first book dragged, but it was good enough to pre-order Shadow. It seriously needed editing. One more complete description of everyone in the room's attire, one more neck ruff comment, one more hip "donut" comment, one more...well you get it. And why aren't we looking for, hearing about etc., Ashmole!!! I lost interest in this book several times and even read other books, before I could force myself to return to it. I have about 1/3 left and I think I'm done reading it. I don't really care what happens to the characters anymore. It's pretty boring, and failed to keep me involved and interested in the characters or the story. I won't buy the last book, or read anything by this author again.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2012

    Awesome!

    Truly engaging, wonderful characters. If you like this you are probably a fan of diane gabaldon and her outlander series as I am. Better than the first book in the series even though the first was very good as well. Highly recommend!

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2012

    I wouldn't recommend it

    2.5 stars for average. This book was just ok. It was entertaining enough to keep me reading, but just barely. It is way too similar to Twilight to be considered original. I felt the same way about the first book, but I guess I liked it enough to continue to series. I will probably read the third.

    SPOILER:
    I agree with another reviewer- the author put every idea she had into the book. Serious editing should have been done. In the last hundred pages Diana's long dead father arrives? WTH? And Emily is dead? Obviously these things will be touched on in the third book but really, did she have to put everything that came to mind?

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2012

    Very disapointed!

    I felt lost through this whole story.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 30, 2012

    Really wanted to love it...

    I loved the first novel by Harkness, and couldn't wait to read this one. I've been stalking it on Barnes and Noble until it was finally released. I thought the book was OKAY but felt that it was too long and the storyline was too loosely written. The first 100 pages are dedicated to a revolving door of characters from Matthew's past that left me dizzy and wondering just why he had to be personally involved with nearly every single person of historical significance from that era. To help with the character confusion, the guide in the back is required but I didn't discover it until I was nearly finished with the book. By that time, I was so over the whole idea of all of these people that I didn't care to look them up.

    The book does give the reader much more insight into Matthew and Diana's emerging magic was entertaining to read. Oh and the marriage is finally consummated and that part was nicely done, although the circumstances were awkward. Did Phillipe really need to be involved in demanding that? Ewww. The book is devoted to giving you a very detailed glimpse of what life might have been like during the Elizabethan era, and just the thought of wearing all of the layers poor Diana did made me really appreciate the simplicity of women's clothing today. And the ease with which we travel around...jump in a car and go.

    I felt at times like the external characters and loosey-goosey plot line kept the book from reaching it's true potential. Kept wondering if pages and sub stories were just to add to the page count. It didn't enhance the novel in my opinion and frustrated me as I read around in circles. Overall, I rate the book as okay. I enjoyed the magic, about half the historical detail, Dianna coming into her own finally, and all things Matthew. Just too much fluff and filler in between for my taste. Still a fan of Harkness and her originality. And I'll plunk down the big Nook bucks for the next one, I got your back Deborah.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2012

    Long wait, huge disappointment! I waited for 9 moths for this b

    Long wait, huge disappointment!

    I waited for 9 moths for this book, preordered it, and started reading it immediately. I could barely finish it. Two hundred pages too long, way too much filler, not enough of why they went to 1590 to begin with. I was hoping Diana would grow in this book, and we would see her learn more about her powers, never happened.

    I will read the third book but only out of curiousity. I finished the first book, sad that it had ended. Wanting to what Matthew and Diana were doing. I did not feel that way after the second.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2012

    DISAPPOINTED

    Loved the 1st book but hated this one. The author was all over the place with little focus to keep the story interesting. Literally had to force myself to continue in the hopes the 3rd book will be better.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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