Review: Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2) by Deborah Harkness

The last time we saw Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont, they were time traveling back to the 16th century in search of a witch who could help Diana control her powers.

As a historian, Diana is actually pretty excited about being a time traveler, but less excited when she arrives and discovers that she isn’t quite crazy about 16th century vampire Matthew.

Matthew has been a collector of secrets his whole life. Having lives secrets and lies so long, he is not accustomed to sharing things with his wife, though he loves her unconditionally.

Both Matthew and Diana think that once they arrive in Elizabethan England, they will quickly find a witch and find Ashmole 782, the book they have been searching for, and return to the present relatively unscathed.


Matthew and Diana are plunged into a world of spies, magic, and secrets and they meet many unexpected friends and family members along the way.

But the longer they remain in the past, the odds increase that they may actually change the future.

With Matthew’s past lurking in the shadows, they must hurry and accomplish what they set out to do and then return to their own time before anything else changes.

This book was full of things to love! Adventure, intrigue, history, magic, and of course some romance.

I absolutely loved the first book, it was an easy 5 star rating for me. I read the first one super fast and was eager to start the next book. But I have to admit I didn’t read this one as fast as I had hoped and I admittedly didn’t like it as much as I liked the first and here is why.

The time travel angle was a fun plot twist and I thought it added a lot to Matthew’s character that we were missing in the first book. However, I felt that by moving the plot to a completely new setting and period called for more world building. This book introduced a host of new characters and a completely new period in history…..and a lot of time was spent world building and creating back stories etc which was necessary but for me, slowed down the momentum of the overall series a bit.

That’s not to say that this book was any less entertaining and fun to read, it just slowed things down in a way that I wasn’t expecting. I did love meeting some new characters though. I don’t want to giveaway anything away for people who haven’t read the books but let’s just say, I loved meeting more of the Clairmont family.

In the first book, there was a lot of romance and the focus was really on Diana and Matthew. It was nice in this book to focus more on the ‘adventure’ part of their story and get back to finding the book and solving the mystery of the book etc. However, I did want a little more ‘romance’ in this book. For me it just wasn’t as ‘romantic’ as the first book, though there was more sexual contact and professions of love but it lacked romance for me.

I loved that the book took us to a lot of new locations…..France, England and Prague. Having just come back from Prague and having stayed in the castle district of Mala Strana and touring Edward Kelley’s lab…..I absolutely LOVED this section of the book! LOVE LOVE LOVE!

Harkness’s attention to detail not just within the plot or the characters but with the historic references as well is really spot on. I loved that she took the time to explain historic references that were necessary to the story and was careful to orientate the reader within the different locations.

For example, Prague and it’s politics/history is not something very well known to most people….not in the way that people understand Elizabethan England. So I loved that she took some time to explain where Prague fit into this historic period and why it was important to move the characters there etc.

She does a great job at guiding the reader carefully through the story without it becoming boring.

I can’t wait to read the conclusion and find out what happens to Matthew and Diana next! Truly a wonderful installment to a fantastic series!

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book: Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2) by Deborah Harkness

  • Paperback, 583 pages
    Published May 28th 2013 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2012)
    ISBN 0143123629 (ISBN13: 9780143123620)
  • Review copy provided by: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

This book counts toward: NA

  • Hosted by: NA
  • Books for Challenge Completed: NA

Recommendation: 4.5 out of 5

Genre: Witch lit, romance, pararomance, historical fiction, time travel lit, vampire lit, fantasy

Memorable lines/quotes: 

The devil is in the details.

Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.

Do not refuse me because I am dark and shadowed.

Experience was always valuable. Sometimes it was costly too.

The most terrifying monsters always look just like ordinary men.

4 thoughts on “Review: Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2) by Deborah Harkness

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