Picking up where A Discovery of Witches leaves off we are right back in the story of Diana and Matthew! It’s hard to hide spoilers, especially the one at the end of the first book because it sets up the entire second book, so if you plan on reading the series skip my response!
I shouldn’t be as surprised as I am, but I am a little surprised at how much I enjoyed book two of the All Souls Trilogy. For everything that was missing in book one, Harkness made a great effort to bring it back to this book. She reined in the over descriptions, she brought a little more sass to her characters, and she wrote 16th century Europe wonderfully.
Overall, this was a better book than book one, which is surprising at the second book in a trilogy rarely ever does it for me. I think Harkness had too much to introduce in the first book so was really able to stretch her writing muscles and creativity in this book. From a time perspective the action happens before the first book, but from a linear perspective it is the second part of the story 😀
Seriously, give me a time travel book and I’m happy. This one just happens to have witches, vampires and daemons, so I was even more happy. I really enjoyed that we got to meet characters that were long dead (of all races) and, having already started The Book of Life I’m glad to see some that appeared in book two reappear hundreds of years later!
Aside from the stronger story and time travel, I’m glad Diana is coming into her own as a witch. As much as this is a time travel love story in the middle of a brewing war, it is also an nontraditional coming of age story. Sure Diana is in her early to mid thirties, but she’s just stretching her powers as a witch for a multitude of reasons you find out throughout the first two books. It just makes it for me.
In parallel to that we’re also learning more and more about Matthew’s past which I think will play an even bigger part in the final book. Every new identity/role we learn he’s played in the past gives a bit more insight into him as a 1,500(+) year old character and it is FASCINATING.
Recommendation: If you can make it through A Discovery of Witches you will be incredibly rewarded with this book. The setting is wonderful, the characters are wonderful and Harkness pulls little surprises out constantly which keep you on your toes throughout the book.
Opening Line: “We arrived in an undignified heap of witch and vampire.”
Closing Line: “Yes, Shakespeare mused, he’d definitely use that one day.” (Whited out to avoid spoilers, highlight to read.)
Additional Quotes from Shadow of Night
“Putting aside how reckless your friends can be, you can’t expect me to be blasé when you introduce me to people I’ve spent my adult life studying…” (13)
“All that children need is love, a grown-up to take responsibility for them, and a soft place to land.” (215)
“Magic and witchcraft are but two paths that cross in the wood. A weaver is able to stand at the crossroads with one foot placed on each path. She can occupy the place between, where the powers are the greatest.” (297)
“It was in these moments—when we talked about the reactions of others to our news rather than analyzing our own response to it—that I felt truly pregnant. My body had barely registered the new life it was carrying, and in the day-to-day busyness at the Hart and Crown it was easy to forget that we would soon be parents. I could go for days without thinking about it only to be reminded of my condition when Matthew came to me, deep in the night, to rest his hands on my belly in silent communion while he listened for the signs of new life.” (319)
“Both men understood that cataclysmic change was coming to their world. In the aftermath there would be winners and losers. Neither man had any intention of being on the losing side.” (475)
“You tell me that magic is just desire made real. Maybe spells are nothing more than words that you believe with all you rheart.” (538)