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Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (PWBR00170)

Picture of a frog reading a book while sitting on a lilypad with transparent background

Plot or Premise

Cover: Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

A witch and a vampire hide out in 1590 Europe while she learns to control her powers.

What I Liked

After timewalking from present day, Diana has to learn to live in Elizabethan England, adapt to the customs of the day, and attempt to blend in. Lots of historical figures pop in and out, friends of Matthew in the “School of Night”, and she feasts on the living history. But it is only when she is at Sept-Tours that the book really brings the same sense of place that the first book did. She learns about the nature of her witch powers from a coven, and her family grows in size, including a nephew named Gallowglass.

What I Didn’t Like

The sense of place that was so common in each of the locales in the first book is not as vivid, except in Sept-Tours with Philippe (Matthew’s father). In addition, the book drags on and on in places with hardly anything happening relative to the mystery of magic, rather than just politics of the day, yet there are two fairly important events regarding children that are practically ignored as commonplace (with seemingly no emotional impact at all). There are also major happenings that happen elsewhere in time, and you only hear about them as throwaway news, including the death of a significant character.

The Bottom Line

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