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Showing 1-10 of 2,960 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 3,505 reviews
on August 27, 2014
Warning! This review contains minor spoilers for the first book in the All Souls Trilogy, A Discovery of Witches.

Shadow of Night is one of those books that is very hard for me to review. I really enjoyed it, but there is so much to talk about with the historical details, the large cast of intriguing characters, and the overall experience that I don't want to overdo the gushing. The last time readers saw historian and witch, Diana Bishop, and her vampire husband, Matthew, they were off on a journey to 16th century England. The reason for this time travel adventure is to find a witch to help Diana learn about her unique powers and to find clues to the location of the missing manuscript, Ashmole 782.

Like with A Discovery of Witches, Diana and Matthew are the center of the book and they pretty much control the success of the story. Thankfully, both of them are interesting characters who are a great combination of likable and flawed. They each have their own journeys to complete and do so with a unique spin. I will admit that I had a few issues with Matthew's overbearing nature and Diana's recklessness, but these instances were rare and they did always learn from their mistakes. The romance (while not the main storyline) is interesting and fun. These two may have declared their love for each other in the first book, but it becomes obvious that their relationship is still new and continues to grow.

Most of the book takes place in the 16th century which is a fun difference than the first book. Readers get to meet a ton of historical figures and see them interact with Diana and Matthew. Some of my particular favorites were Christopher Marlowe, Edward Kelly, Emperor Rudolf II, Mary Sidney, and, of course, Queen Elizabeth I. Diana and Matthew travel from England to his father's keep in France and even to the Holy Roman Empire. I am a history geek so this was an absolute blast for me. I also enjoyed the introduction of Matthew's nephew, Gallowglass, and that we finally got to meet Matthew's father, Philippe. Some of the book does take place in the present-day with Ysabeau, Marcus, and others finding hints of the time travel in the current time which was interesting.

As I mentioned, there is a lot going on in this book and I don't want to give much more to avoid major spoilers. I will say that it takes some time to get used to the writing style and readers do have to go through quite a bit of detail, but the story is so well-crafted that it is worth the time and effort. I also will say that this would not make a good stand-alone story due to the worldbuilding and character development. I was impressed though with how easy it was to slip back into the series after going more than a year between books. I highly recommend this series and can't wait to see how it ends with The Book of Life which was just released this month.
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on February 28, 2017
This book just streams as if it was just another chapter from "all souls" I could not put it down. Reading in such detail of life in 16th century England felt as if I was there. This author takes her talent as an historian And mixes it with a magnificent story.
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on May 8, 2017
This is the second in the All Souls Trilogy but could almost be a stand alone book. The author does a great job of filling in enough of the previous details without retelling the entire first book. It was interesting to read about historical figures from a slightly different perspective. She did a great job of weaving all of the characters and all of their various story lines together. The parts of the book that dealt with Diana's powers as they related to the genealogies of the different witch lines was also very interesting and well written.
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on August 19, 2017
I have read this two times and I love it more every time I read it. I am deeply impressed by the vocabulary, writing style, research as well as engrossed in this story. It is just plain brilliant. If you like speculative fiction at all, you may well enjoy this. I mean, it isn;t everyday that we meet a Roman Catholic vampire, now is it? Who knew Christopher Marlowe was a paranormal being?

Seriously, this is really good. And it took me two days to read as it is so long.
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on July 10, 2017
Finishing a book and then immediately buying the next in the series is a good indication that you enjoyed it. I did! I liked 1590. I liked the descriptions of how magic works for Diana--it reminds me a bit of reading cyberpunk. I could do with a little less melodrama and "tortured" souls (Matthew especially) and really wish there were more synonyms for "creature." Fortunately, my cringe is momentary and I can move past it to find out what each character is going to do next. The cast is growing! I think it would be helpful to find the "Libri Personae: The People of the Book" at the end and book mark it for reference when you lose sight of who is who.
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on August 15, 2014
This book was such a tough slog that I won't be getting the next one. It was more frustrating than the previous one, with some scenes described ad nauseam and some so brief you can't figure out why a character is angry or acting in a certain way. And this is assuming you can overcome the main theme of naive woman who knows nothing, getting protected by the all-powerful and wealthy lover. The book meanders forever and for the last 150 pages I kept thinking I must be finished at last, but it just didn't end. It has some good ideas and obviously the author has a good knowledge of history, but it is a great example to me of how hard it us to turn those ingredients into a good book.
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on August 6, 2017
Once again Harkness takes on a ride you do not want to end. To watch Diana and Matthew shift from present day to the 16th century is so seamless. There without modern conveniences and in the middle of palace and political intrigue, Diana learns what she is, and more of Matthew's secrets are brought to light.
It is almost with regret that I now turn to read the third book in the trilogy. I really don't want this to end.
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on July 1, 2014
I'll admit, I love the first book in the All Souls Trilogy, A Discovery of Witches. I loved the historical, scholarly, and personal details that made believable characters. So I expected this book to be more of the same. I was wrong. This book is even more fascinating. Taking the historical figures and making them personal and real was a treat, as well as looking at the places and times from a modern angle. I know I will be satisfied and more with the closing book of the series, just because of how this book exceeded my expectations as a sequel. Even if you are not terribly interested in the romantic features of this tale, the historical context by itself is a delight. Highly recommended.
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on August 31, 2017
What a disappointment. I loved The Discovery of Witches, and couldn't wait to read the sequel. Very little plot development occurs in the 400+ pages. Irrelevant characters come & go with confusing regularity. Pages are devoted to events that have no relevance what-so-ever to the story-line. Full of inconsistencies e.g. Matthew won't let Diana out of his sight, Diana goes wandering to Bedlam by herself...

Save your time and energy and skip directly to the third book to determine how the series ends.
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on August 9, 2014
Book #2 of the All Souls Trilogy. What can I say that others haven't said. If you loved Book #1: A Discovery of Witches then you will love Book #2: Shadow of Night. What I found helpful was the Character Directory in the back of the book. It allowed me to keep track of who's who. Super helpful -- thank you Diana! I wish more writers would do that. Makes life easier. Especially for those like me who are dyslexic.

Another reviewer said they found Matthew to be a bit of an insolent child in this book, I have to agree -- there were times when he was completely infuriating with his childish antics but that aside, I loved taking a walk through history with Matthew and Dianna.
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