Monday, 11 August 2014

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

This is the second book in the All Soul’s trilogy. There are no spoilers for this book in my review but if you have not yet read the first book A Discovery of Witches I highly recommend that you do and you can find my review for it here. Also, you may wish to not read this review any further as, by necessity, there are spoilers for the first book in this review.

At the end of the first book we left Diana, who is an historian and descended from a long line of witches, and Matthew, a long lived vampire time travelling to Elizabethan England. They have broken the laws which divides their two species and Diana has discovered a lost alchemical manuscript which has provoked an uprising between witches, vampires and daemons.

This book picks up at the point where the previous one leaves off and continues the story of their foray into the past to seek refuge from those who mean them harm, to search for the elusive Elizabethan manuscript that Diana has uncovered in the present day library at Oxford University and to seek out a witch who can help her to control her powers.

I liked the way the book picks up exactly where the previous one ended as it provided an instant transition into the next part of the story.

However, I did find the plot a little repetitive and felt that the book would have been improved had it been tighter and a little less waffly. There were times I felt it meandered about rather than getting on with the story and would have benefited from being less lengthy. The narrative moves from place the place but the plot didn’t seem to progress along with the book. I did not find myself wanting to rush back to read more.

Whereas, I had really liked the characters in the first book and found them fully formed, they became a bit two dimensional in this book and I was disappointed with that.

That said, I did read right through to the end and I still intend to read the final book in the trilogy and I hope I will find the conclusion a tad more satisfactory than I found this one. However, the middle book in a trilogy often stagnates a little and just seems to provide the launching pad for the finale. So, I do not want to be too hard on the author for this book but look forward to being able to assess the story as a whole when I have read the final one.

All that said, my husband read this book straight after the first and virtually gobbled it down in one as he found it completely gripping. He then rushed on to read the final book and thought the entire work was excellent. So, I am glad to say that we find our old friend subjectivity rearing his head again and telling us that what appeals to one does not necessarily appeal to another. I would love to hear your thoughts if you have read any of this trilogy.

ISBN:  978 0755384754

Publisher: Headline

Price (based on today’s price at £8.27

Total saving so far:  £339.63

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