Book Review: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy)

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Published July 10, 2012

*There are spoilers for A Discovery of Witches ahead.*

Summary:  This book picks up just where A Discovery of Witches left off — Matthew and Diana have been forced to flee the present because the Congregation doesn’t approve of their interspecies relationship. Though she performed the spell, Diana wasn’t sure what time they were traveling too until they got there. Elizabethan England is everything that Diana hopes it will be and more. Because it is her area of study at Oxford, she easily becomes wrapped up in experiencing life in the past and in historical inquiry. However, it’s not all fun and games in the past (and really what fun would that be for a book?) Matthew and Diana have jobs to do while in the 1500s: they must find Ashmole 782 and Diana must learn to control her magic. All of this becomes more complicated when Matthew quickly reverts to his not-so-nice sixteenth-century behaviors in the past! Everyone in the present (Ysebeau, Sarah, Marcus, etc) quickly notices that by going back the two disrupted the timeline.

Rating: 5/5
It should come as no surprise that I loved this book as much as Harkness’s last! Her characters are believable supernaturally, something that is not generally the case in the “Twilight” era. Diana is the scholar that I always wanted to be and I too always dreamed of going back to Elizabethan England. Everything that Diana and Matthew experience in the 1500s feels new and exciting, which is mostly due to Harkness’s own research interests. Deborah Harkness, like her fictional counterpart Diana, is an Elizabethan scholar. She wrote The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution. I was taken with not only the historical setting but also the complex ways in which Harkness weaves together her characters. She knows so much about their back stories that it sometimes took me a little while to catch on to how certain people were connected (and it was a good thing!). I love a little challenge, and a history lesson, with my book.

Shop Indie Bookstores

Blogger’s Note: I received a review copy of this book from Viking

Check out my other book reviews:

Advertisements

Book Review: The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood


The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood

Published July 2, 2012

Summary: The Bellwether Revivals takes place mainly at King’s College, and the surrounding area. (Don’t you love it already?) Oscar Lowe is an outsider who works in a nursing home nearby who falls in love with the privileged medical student. As he dives into her world he realizes that the life on the other side isn’t always as beautiful as it seems.

Bechdel Test?: Unfortunately no. The book is from the perspective of a male character (Oscar) and he primarily interacts with other men. Iris and Jane, the two females who show up the most, don’t really talk to each other with Oscar around.

Rating: 5/5
It has been a long time since I’ve read a novel in which the prose was as beautiful as The Bellwether Revivals. Wood’s words are more than beautiful, they’re enchanting and brought me so deeply into the story that I forgot the time of day. I loved the mix of not knowing whether there was a supernatural element or whether there was just paranoia and delusion. The unreliable narrator of Oscar Lowe, coupled with the psychoanalysis provided by Dr. Herbert Cress, I was on my toes the whole time trying to figure out what would happen next. Honestly, if you only read one book this summer make it this one!

Shop Indie Bookstores

Check out my other book reviews: