July 10th couldn’t come fast enough. I had waited over a year for the sequel to The Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I re-read the first one in June to remind myself of the details of the story line. Finally it came. I almost didn’t want to start it once it was in my hands, as it would be over far to soon. Re-reading that last sentence it sounds like I am describing a first kiss! So I was really excited to say the least.
Once I got the kids to bed, I began reading it. The characters came flying back at me, my anticipation was so great. The first few chapters dragged a bit. I couldn’t keep up with new characters, I didn’t feel the intense love of Matthew and Diana. I got scared. What if it didn’t live up to the first book. I got worried. What if I don’t love this book?
Then it was all okay. I don’t know at what point of the book it happened, but it did happen. I fell in love with the sequel. The Shadow of Night became a book worth reading in its own right. I would be lying if I said it captured me in the same way exactly, but I think that is because I identify better with the modern-day Diana and had a hard time with her restraints in Elizabethan England. She really comes into her magic which is nice to read. I also love how she was able to do some alchemic experiments and got to meet the Queen. Lovely.
Matthew was different going back to 1590. He wasn’t the perfect Matthew that we fell in love with in the first book. He seemed to have less confidence, less passion, was less sure of his future (which is irony in itself!). This could be frustrating at first, but if you think of him as a person who has lived for centuries, but who has never had a true loved one it makes it easier to see him. He is learning how to be a husband, a true partner and he has never had to do that before. The newness of the situation of him and Diana unnerves him.
Reading some of the reviews of Shadow of Night on Goodreads, I see that some had issues with the time travel aspect. I think thet all the links were taken care of. The only time I thought things got far-fetched was when Diana meets (not wanting to spoil here) a family member. That was a rough story line to take for me. Not the idea of it, but how the relationship was handled seemed to stiff.
I gave Shadow of Night five stars on Goodreads. I loved how the story continued to develop and went places I had never dreamed it would go. It is an intelligent, well-written book that cannot be rushed through. I actually went back and re-read the first few chapters again to try to understand the new characters better, since I had a rough time with them the first time around.
If you like vampires and witches, smart writing and history this is the series for you!