Sunday, August 5, 2012
SHADOW OF NIGHT by DEBORAH HARKNESS
SHADOW OF NIGHT
Shadow of Night raises a dilemma for me. How can one review the sequel to a book that she considers to be the best book ever written? The best book ever written cannot be bested – even by its own sequel.
But Deb Harkness comes very close in her sequel to A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night. Very close.
Whereas A Discovery of Witches ended with Diana and Matthew beginning their trip to Sixteenth Century Elizabethan England, Shadow of Night begins with the end of their trip to 1590.
Shadow of Night has a panoply of interesting characters. Some are those we met in A Discovery of Witches and are further developed – for example, Philippe. Others are new – for example, Gallowglass. Some of the characters we expected to find turn out to defy our expectations – for example, Marlowe.
Diana and Matthew develop a great deal in relationship to their marriage. As Diana struggles with being a woman in 1590 England, Matthew struggles with the complexities of his former life.
Shadow of Night seems to move at a faster pace than A Discovery of Witches, so fast that at times it feels chaotic – not a logical, linear plot development like A Discovery of Witches. But then, it has to. With all the demands and dangers that Diana and Matthew face in 1590 England, trying to stay ahead of the turmoil and threats requires a much faster pace than the more familiar Twenty-First Century.
But Shadow of Night, like A Discovery of Witches, is both mesmerizing and surprising. It is a pleasure to join Diana and Matthew again in their world. And once again, Harkness has succeeded in making the learning of history fun.
While Harkness hasn’t bested the best, she has come very close. Shadow of Night is indeed bewitching. And, she leaves us eagerly anticipating her third installment in the All Souls Trilogy.