Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2) – No Down Time Back in Time
It’s funny. I recently wrote a review about a series that didn’t mind changing the time period from novel to novel. While that book went from past to present, this book goes from present to past.
On their ever-enduring quest to locate and unlock the secrets of Ashmole 782, Matthew and Diana are forced to travel back in time with hopes that the book will become more accessible. Picking up directly where A Discovery of Witches left off, the two find themselves in Elizabethan London where the danger is just beginning and Matthew must use every resource to his advantage to keep them safe; even though it rouses old painful memories. The world is no more tolerable of their love there, and the clock is ticking for Diana to find the right witch to help her hone her own skills.
I’m really not surprised that Deborah Harkness took her characters back in time. Her elegant writing style actually works best there and even throughout the first novel I had to remind myself that the book was taking place in present day.
Once again, fans are in for a fairly lengthy read. Thankfully I got through this book faster than its prequel. The first half of the book is fantastic and I loved that Matthew’s father was introduced to the story. It adds a whole other dimension to see the character as opposed to merely hearing about him. He’s quite enigmatic, intimidating, and unpredictable. Yet he is really likable. I found myself wishing that we could get a book (or at least a novella) dedicated to him and Ysabeau.
There are more revelations about Matthew’s past as well as how he interacts with the people around him. Because he has changed, that influences some of his decisions as well as the decisions of his friends and colleagues. Of course, tampering with the past, however slight, can have adverse affects on the future. That’s a common thread that we’re not allowed to forget throughout the entire book.
Though well done, I do have a couple of gripes about the novel. I still can’t visualize her vampire scars very well. Vampires with no fangs just doesn’t compute to me no matter what. And believe me, I’ve been trying. I also found myself miffed with the amount of new characters introduced. I just didn’t feel like the majority of them were necessary to keep the story going and I felt as if the plot suffered for it in certain sections.
To the novel’s credit, for a trilogy I don’t think it suffers from a second book slump that often happens as authors try to leave enough loose ends to build momentum for the final novel. I do look forward to the final novel, but I’m happy to patiently wait for it as well.