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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  • 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.

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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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • Posted August 10, 2012

    Lost

    I so looked forward to this book, but after reading the first 100 or so pages went back to Discovery to see what I had missed. Unfortunately the author may have forgotten that most readers will have not finished book 1 yesterday. There was a struggle to put all the characters together after waiting so many months for Shadow. Perhaps the character reference listing should have been placed in the front of the book. I am sure like most readers, I don't go to the end of the book first and didn't know about the reference until I had finished the book. Shadow didn't leave me wanting to get book #3.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Boring!!

    I couldn't wait for the for this book to come out. I am very disappointed. Her first book was very enjoyable, this one not so much. I doubt if I read the 3rd. I'll probably just let my friends tell me about the next one. I can read a 600 page book in 3 to 4 days at the most. This one took me almost 3 weeks. Don't bother

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2013

    get an editor deborah!

    enjoyed the first, but this did not live up to expectations

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 5, 2012

    SSSSSSLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWW

    Really have to trudge through this book. It is so slow and soooooo boring. Big dissappointment compared to the first book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2012

    Eh.

    Loved the first book...it was everything I could do to get through the 2nd. I will hang in there for the third, but Shadow of Night almost lost me in the "blah" plot.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2012

    Didnt read it yet

    Although i didnt read it yet from comments some founcd it difficult to keep up with names but i dint think i will

    1 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2012

    Disappointed. Loved the first one, could not wait until July f


    Disappointed. Loved the first one, could not wait until July for this release.....Find it difficult keeping up with the names, places and different languages...... I'm on chapter 10 right now and am determined to finsih it...

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2012

    Disappointing

    Slow plot with too many characters
    Very disappointed

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 16, 2012

    I probably shouldn't review this so soon (not done reading it ye

    I probably shouldn't review this so soon (not done reading it yet) but thus far I am extremely disappointed. I've waited so anxiously for this second book and after three chapters I'm bored to tears. Hopefully it will get better but..........................

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2012

    Okay, but overall disappointing.

    The book was okay, it was a slow read and I lost interest in many of the characters. Loved the first, but the second is not nearly as good. I'll probably skip the third. Save your money.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2014

    I also wanted to love this book, but sadly I cannot. On and on a

    I also wanted to love this book, but sadly I cannot. On and on and on until I finally put it down. Some history, okay, but it seems that is all there was.
    I am not sure about purchasing the third and I hope final book for this series.
    To each their own for the people who loved it and I may try it again, when there is NOTHING else to do.

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  • Posted November 6, 2013

    This book was entirely underwhelming.  I felt like the author tr

    This book was entirely underwhelming.  I felt like the author tried to showcase her knowledge of
    16th Century Britain and Europe and ended up with a messy, drudging tale with innumerable plot holes and dozens of characters lacking more than an inch of depth.

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  • Posted July 27, 2013

    I really enjoyed Discovery of Witches - (even tho the climax of

    I really enjoyed Discovery of Witches - (even tho the climax of the book was not near as good as it should have been). I was anxious to read Shadow of Night, Sadly it started out so SLOW - and was a bit confusing - and didn't even touch on the relationship between Diana and Matthew for a long time, which was a huge part of the first book. I was pretty bored until over half way through, when it did pick up. I wanted to read about magic, witches, and vampires, not so much about history. I'm just not sure I will read the next one. Haven't decided but I am somewhat disappointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2013

    A very frustrating read.

    While I enjoyed the writer's first book and eagerly anticipated the sequel, nothing could have prepared me for this let down. It took me so long to actually finish this book due to the sheer frustration of having to endure this authors many tangents. While I think the arc of the story is a great one, it is clear that her editors must have been absent in the process.

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  • Posted February 12, 2013

    Do not recommend.

    Read the first book, and yes, read the second. Was really wishing it would get better, it didn't. Sorry to say.

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