Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night, Deborah Harkness


Shadow of Night is the second book in the All Souls Trilogy, the first of which was A Discovery of Witches and was pretty awesome. (Obviously, don’t read this if you haven’t read ADoW yet, cause SPOILERS FOR THAT FIRST BOOK.) Shadow of Night suffers a little bit from second-book syndrome, but it was still pretty good.

This picks up right where the first book left off – with Diana and Matthew arriving to the year 1590 in England. The basic idea is that they’ll find a powerful witch to teach Diana about her magic, try to get a look at Ashmole 782, then head back to the present to face the Congregation. Of course it doesn’t happen quite like that, as Matthew’s past wraps them up in courtly intrigue, family ties, and the people around them.

Matthew and Diana are in the past for pretty much the whole book, which disappointed me a little. I got a little attached to some of the secondary characters in the first book, so I missed them in this one. The past was interesting, and it was fun to see Diana get all excited to meet or run into all these historically famous people. She also gets to meet a lot more of Matthew’s family, which was sometimes a good thing and sometimes kind of sucked. There are little glimpses of the present-day, mostly via newspapers, but that was nice. A lot more good things happen, but I don’t want to spoil anything.

Like I sad, definite second-book syndrome here. Even though I still flew through this book in a short amount of time, it dragged in large sections. Some stuff goes on and is discovered that will play a big role in the third book, but mostly this book was a lot of filler. Like Diana spending weeks trying to learn how to fit in during this time period, and Diana spending tons of time playing around with alchemy, etc. I kind of wanted to shake her, because she definitely didn’t make learning about her magic and finding the book a priority. I was also a little sad that Matthew was always busy doing Matthew-stuff, cause it didn’t leave much time for their still-new romance to develop a little more.

On the plus side, more great characters emerged (Gallowglass!!) and a couple new bad guys. The slowness of this book at least pretty much ensures that the last book will be epic and action-packed. I wish there was a title or release date for the next book, but there isn’t yet. Can’t wait to read it!

Anyone else read it and agree with the second-book syndrome thing?


Sarah Says: 3 stars





  1. Actually, I thought that this one far surpassed the first book. Yes, the plot doesn’t go that much further, but the writing itself is vastly improved. I think part of it is that the incessant details about Diane’s yoga pants and every little part of her day bothered me a lot in A Discovery of Witches, but in the past the details felt more relevant and helped make the world more vibrant.


    1. LOL YES her yoga pants were mentioned constantly in the first book! That did get a little annoying. I think there was just overall too much detail in this one too. And I was sad that they had less time together in this one than they did in the last book. Instead, the author put in that thing about the blood & forehead kisses and that seemed like kind of a copout way to make it seem like they were closer together without actually spending more time together.

      Ahhh I don’t know. I’m being whiny. It was still a good book, but I can’t wait for book 3!


  2. It definitely suffered somewhat from second book syndrome! I was also really annoyed at Diana at times because she wasn’t focusing on what they were actually in the past for and just kept on doing what she should not be doing at all: making her mark on a time period she shouldn’t be in.
    I agree that it dragged at times, though I did still really enjoy it! I wish the third book would hurry up and get here, cause I’m expecting an EPIC showdown! Also: GALLOWGLASS! Isn’t everything just better with Gallowglass? 🙂


    1. Yesss! Gallowglass kind of snuck up on me, but he ended up being on of my favorite characters. But otherwise, yeah Matthew and Diana kind of took their sweet time in the past. They very obviously should have gone to a different time period, and certainly not directly to Matthew’s past! I thought it was kind of odd that she didn’t timewalk to a past in which she could have met some of the other Bishop witches, they might have been able to help her.

      Anyways, can’t wait for the third book! Yay!


  3. That’s too bad you didn’t like this one as much! I’ve been wanting to read the first one for a while now — I’ve heard awesome things about it! I think I would be disappointed, too, if the romance was lacking in book #2 — that’s one of the reasons I love reading certain books! Give me romance!

    I still want to check these ones out … they look great!


  4. I agree with second book syndrome. I have read ADOW many times and I was so very excited for SON to be released. Sadly it did not grab me the way ADOW did. I found it pretty insane that they are taking their time in the past when they know what awaits them in the future. They had to rush out of the present and then lollygag in the past? They did a good job on some of the parts of SON but overall a big dissapointment for me. I did not like the snippets of the present we got either. Like how did Em die? If they can time walk why not go back to the time before Em died? Seems like a waste of a good character, but maybe it will play into the third book?


    1. EM YES!!! I was so confused at the end when they said that she died. I wonder if they’ll try timewalking to save her in the third book? Diana doesn’t even know yet, so maybe she’ll try it. Poor Em, I liked her 😦


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