Customer Reviews for

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

122 out of 134 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

85 out of 118 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 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 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 7 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 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2012

    Enjoyable, for the most part

    I don't really understand why I am enjoying these books. I like Diana but she is frustratingly naive and has a tendency to fall for the most obvious traps ever committed to the written word. Matthew slumps around like some teenage goth kid. You would think that after 1,500 years the vamp would have some self-confidence! I am reading these books for the fantastic secondary characters, Ysabeau & Phillipe, Sarah & Emily, Marcus and Gallowglass. I love the world Harkness has created even if her hero and heroine seem one-dimensional. Hopefully the last book will tie it all together and give the story some much-needed purpose.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2012

    Not as good as the first book

    I really am disappointed by this book, so much so that I would swear it was written by a different author. There were so many random characters it was difficult to keep everyone straight. The main character is kind of a moron. If there is a dumb decision to make she will be the first to do it. That being said, a lot of the mysteries from the first book in the series have not been answered so I am still excited to read the third book.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2014

    Potential is there

    I appreciate a well researched and intelligent book. I appreciate historical weaving. Many of the characters were memorable but not fully developed and the characterization was not consistent. That's a failure of good editing. Too many more characters were introduced that didn't play into the plot. The plotlines could have been developed into great books. The problem was a lack of good editing and the books should have been rewritten several times over...then edited some more. But there was also magic and metaphysical and spiritual understanding that makes the books memorable.

    I'm an author too and I would like to read these books after they have been decently bled over. It did seem like the author tried to put in other author's aspects of successful characterization and plotlines so they lacked some originality (which is a shame because her potential for her own characters was certainly there.) I loved the concept of a weaver of magic. That aspect was wonderful.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2012

    Disappointing

    I hoped for so much more. Deborah Harkness is a very talented writer, so it is not surprising that, even though flawed, her book is still better than the average read. When not writing romantic mystical thrillers, she is an academic historian by profession. This certainly explains her self-indulgent need to share tedious minutia of the period incessantly in long run-on sentences. I would love a word count of the number of times she discusses petticoats and herbs! It seemed important to introduce numerous historical figures, even though some were merely window dressing or passing through. Seriously, this book could be much better if it were 150 pages shorter and focused more on plot point than historical trivia. The book seems to have both figuratively and literally stalled several times as the characters roam around the continent aimlessly. It often seemed as though the entire purpose for the book was to do a sort of travelogue of Europe in the 1500’s rather than advance a storyline at all. Having said that, I labored through this volume and will do so again in her next book, because Harkness has created memorable fascinating characters here. My hope is that we can have action and adventure in the final book rather than hundreds of unnecessary pages. It would be nice to get back to the story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2012

    Horrible ending

    I was so looking forward to reading this book as I really enjoyed A discovery of witches, although it was good through out; I feel as if the author did not know how to build the book up to a climax for the third book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2012

    Didn't pack the punch

    Loved the first book. The second was filled with too many charactors that left you thinking it might not be worth the read. I even pre ordered this one. Left me feeling let down. Maybe the next one will pick up where the first left off.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2012

    Just ok

    I loved discovery of witches, couldnt wait for shadow...found it to be a little disappointing . Was too drawn out. Started losing interest. Was a little difficult to follow at times

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2012

    Belle

    I waited a year for this book after reading a discovery of witches. It was not worth the wait . I found it hard to finish this book where as in Discovery of Witches I could not put it down. I am hoping book number Three will be better and give us the answers to all the questions in the story line. Over all for me not nearly as good as the first. Some how this book lost something along the way.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Nothing Compares to Discovery

    Shadow of Night picks up right where A Discovery of Witches leaves off. Matthew and Diana time travel to Elizabethan London in search of Ashmole 782 and a witch to train Diana who was spellbound by her parents.

    I am agonizing over writing this review. While I really do like the book, compared to Discovery, Shadow is just so-so. There is very little action, too much politics and not enough fantasy. We follow Matthew down these rabbit holes of his past, that give us a little more insight into what makes him tick, but don't really add value to the story. We do get to see Matthew and Diana grow as a couple, overcome everyday trials and tribulations every marriage goes through and come out stronger on the other side. Some of these issues seem to be resolved only to resurface in a few chapters. It also seems the search for Ashmole 782 and a witch to train Diana become a side plot instead of the entire reason they time traveled.

    At the heart of Shadow of Night is a good story, somewhere, beneath all the extra-ness. I am still looking forward to the last book in the trilogy and am excited to see how Harkness wraps it all up.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2012

    Why do all authors today want to write several books to complete

    Why do all authors today want to write several books to complete a
    story? By the time they finish the 3rd or 45th book you have forgotten
    why you wanted to read it in the first place. This author is a fine
    historian I am sure. Her first book was quite interesting and a
    surprise find. Her second is tedious in many places. Then you get to
    interesting parts enough to keep you reading. This is not a pick up and
    never put down book. It becomes boring as if she forgot why she brought
    this couple back in time. The lead characters become stupid in many
    spots. Entirely too much clothing description and side plots or whatever
    she thought she wanted to get into the book. Not enough focus on the
    magic in Diana. And lord help we get that they are in love. Honestly,
    I am in my late 50's and the Twilight series kept my interest better.
    Now that is not saying much. Overall I gave it 3 stars. It was not a
    horrible book. And if you want to read all 3 books, I assume you will
    need to stay with it. Unfortunately, I am not sure I will ever get the
    third book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2012

    Wait for paperback

    Disappointing. That's the best I can say for book 2 in the trilogy. Some books are not hardcover worthy & this is one of them. Story is definitely lacks susbstance. Not quite a 3 star.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2012

    More romance less history

    2nd book not as good as the 1st
    More romance!! we are adults we can handle the sex, less history we are not in school people
    Less lines in different languages would be nice, I like to know what is going on
    How did Diana get so dumb? I guess going back in time messed with her brain. Diana's new way of thinking was that her way was always the right way, but then she always ended up in trouble or making new problems. I feel that Matthew (vampire) is a wimp, he needs to tell Diana we aren't in kansas anymore. The big strong vampire is affraid to upset his wife. Give me a beak.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2012

    I was not a fan of Discovery of Witches, but got the second book

    I was not a fan of Discovery of Witches, but got the second book as a present, so I'm reading it, about halfway through now. It's a strange book all right, bouncing around between centuries and characters. You'll be reading about 1590's England, then suddenly there's a short chapter set in 2012, not sure how that is supposed to work. The pacing seems better in this one than in the first, but sadly Diana Bishop, who was the lead character before, now takes a backseat and is much more passive. Something else strange is that, as far as I know, people only lived to around age 40 at that time, and Diana is certainly over 30, so why do other characters call her "girl" - that does not make sense at all, particularly if a real historian wrote this. Certainly her advanced age, relative to the 'real" people of 1590, is an important point, yet she keeps being called "girl" - "crone" or "old lady" or the horrible and rude word "ma'am" would be true, not "girl." What gives there?
    To the real girl who asked on this site if it's appropriate for a 12-year old, the answer is no, it's not. Wait about 4 - 5 years, then OK.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2014

    Just OK and long!

    I did not enjoy this one as much as the first book. The dialogue in the 1st 100 pages is terrible, it was a struggle to get through. The story came around somewhat, but overalll lackluster.

    Also, there were at least 3 errors in the e-book version. Very poor editing!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2014

    Spurrpelt

    Blackshadow was here.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2013

    Pretty good

    This book was pretty good It took off super slow and I was tampted to put it down a few times, but I am glad I didn't!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2013

    The book could have been 200 pages shorter. I realize the autho

    The book could have been 200 pages shorter. I realize the author is a professor of history, but I didn't need a history lesson. Too much detail about the history of Europe. I was reading the book to find out what was happening to the characters. Didn't need that much real history.

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