Fiction Review: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (Extraordinary)

Posted July 25, 2012 by Felicia S in 2012 Read, 5 Wine Glasses, Audiobook, Reviews / 24 Comments


Author Website

“Together we lifted our feet and stepped into the unknown”β€”the thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestseller A Discovery of Witches

Deborah Harkness exploded onto the literary scene with her debut novel, A Discovery of Witches, Book One of the magical All Souls Trilogy and an international publishing phenomenon. The novel introduced Diana Bishop, Oxford scholar and reluctant witch, and the handsome geneticist and vampire Matthew Clairmont; together they found themselves at the center of a supernatural battle over an enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782.

Now, picking up from A Discovery of Witches’ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night plunges Diana and Matthew into Elizabethan London, a world of spies, subterfuge, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the mysterious School of Night that includes Christopher Marlowe and Walter Raleigh. Here, Diana must locate a witch to tutor her in magic, Matthew is forced to confront a past he thought he had put to rest, and the mystery of Ashmole 782 deepens.

Deborah Harkness has crafted a gripping journey through a world of alchemy, time travel, and magical discoveries, delivering one of the most hotly anticipated novels of the season.

Read from June 14 to July 19, 2012
Read for Fun/
Got a Papercopy from Publisher but choose to buy the Audiobook instead!
Overall Rating: 5.00
Story Rating: 4.75
Character Rating: 5.00Audio Rating: 5.00 (Not Part of the overall Rating)

NOTE: I am addicted to the audio version of these books! Seriously y’all–it is so darn good!!!

First thought when finished: The history lover in me loved this book! The Discovery of Witches fan was equally as impressed! πŸ™‚

What I thought of the Characters: Deborah Harkness has a wonderful way with characters. You love them, you hate them, and you love reading what they are up to. Often times I felt like I was watching through a window as these people went along in their daily lives. All of the characters that were introduced in Shadow of Night from history were fascinating and very well flushed out. I was so caught up that at the end I really wanted a story about their back stories. I know I am being greedy but it is true! I also loved the continuing stories from Discovery of Witches. Diana is coming into her own (love her story arch) and she is my favorite character. Matthew is working through who he is as his past and future collide (so to speak). Diana and Matthew’s relationship is epic and at the core of their characters. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

What I thought of the Story: I would say that Shadow of Night is slightly slower than Discovery of Witches. It has a different pacing until about halfway through when Diana really starts getting into who she is as a witch. At that point, the story was off and running. I was listening to it every spare moment I had and still couldn’t devour the book fast enough. I am pretty sure I had what my friends Tara and Amanda call P.A.B.D. (Post Awesome Book Disorder). I mean I listened to the last hour–twice! I wanted the next book now!!!!

What I thought of the Audio: Narrated by Jennifer Ikeda at a running time of 24 hrs and 30 mins, Shadow of Night was well worth it! I can’t say enough of Jennifer’s narration! She manages to get the pacing, emotion, and characterization just right! If you can listen to long audiobook, I highly recommend this one!

Final thought: I am a huge fan of this series! I highly recommend it!

Felicia S
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24 responses to “Fiction Review: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (Extraordinary)

  1. My friend was reading this last month and kept telling me how slow it was then like you mentioned she said it picked up the pace and she loved it.

    I felt that DoW was kind of slow even though I liked it so I’m not sure if I would enjoy this one.

  2. I bought the first one on Audible and like a week later it went on sale, I was pissed!!! Anyways…I have to finish that one before I get this one πŸ™‚ AND AND Im listening to Gone Girl right now too, Im loving the back and forth with the husband and wife.

  3. Jennifer

    Urghhhhh, I’ve had the first one on loan to me from a friend for awhile, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. I’ve heard good and bad, yes I should read it, no, I shouldn’t bother, and meh, it’s okay. But then I see the blogger community all atwitter about the sequel and wonder what I’m missing!


    So I wonder when I can squeeze these in. Because if you like it, I’ll probably like it.

    • I think the slowness was due to the fact that the first book ended in such a flurry that I expected the second book to start like that. After finishing I realized that there was a method to her madness πŸ™‚

  4. Wow Felicia, 24 hours?! That is some serious listening dedication, clearly this book is amazing. I love that you listened to the last hour twice:) I haven’t read A Discover of Witches, I’m assuming you need to start with that one to understand this one?

    • YES! This series is like The Outlander for this generation. It is a sweeping tale that covers multiple times and places. You do need to read A Discovery of Witches first. This is only going to be a trilogy and I think they were meant to be read in order. They are not stand alone books πŸ™‚

  5. My sister has read book one, and she was a fan! I’ve tried, but when I look at the size, I become overwhelmed. LOL

    The slow pacing in this one would probably do me in. I think I’ll have to go with the audiobook. πŸ™‚

    • I think for the rut that you are in that it would be too much to take BUT when you did get out of your rut it is one you should tackle. Your sister is dead on, it is a great tale of love, magic, and hey there are vampires πŸ™‚

  6. I can’t believe I haven’t gotten around to reading this yet and I have an ARC! Yikes, I hate to hear this is slower than Discovery of Witches. I thought book one was slow going but ended up liking it. I am hoping this one is better. I just hated that cliffhanger at the end of book one. Please say this one refrains from that!

    • Only the first part is slower and it was needed. I think as a reader (and the characters) needed to get used to being in a different time setting. That being said once we hit a certain part (and you will know the part) it is action, action, action. Cliffhanger was not as bad as the first one BUT there is one there.

  7. I still haven’t read the first one–eep! And I’ve heard such absolutely amazing things about it and this second one…I really need to read this!

    • I think if you love sweeping love stories and big stories you will like it. I don’t think the book is for everyone as it does have tons of details and such BUT I always tell people to try them πŸ™‚