Shadow of Night: All Souls Trilogy Book 2 – Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2)

My review is more of a three and a half. This sequel to the Discovery of Witches is very different from the first and may be a bit difficult for readers to get into. The first half spends a lot of time getting to know Matthew’s, now Matthew Royden’s, friends in the School of Night. It also spends a lot of time with Matthew and his friends acclimating Diana to what it means to be female in old England. The beginning is hard to stomach for those of us who got used to a strong Diana in A Discovery of Witches. She is not strong in the beginning, partially because she is learning her surroundings from Matthew which reinforced the strong gender roles of that time, the second reason is Matthew’s friends don’t spend a lot of time with women. Diana does reassert herself later, but it grates on your nerves, and quite honestly I think it is meant to. The problem with this is there is so much of the history of old england and gender roles it may turn off some readers before they get to the part where she finds her place in old England. The other problem is for all the set up the history seems a bit basic for Harkness’s level of knowledge.

When Diana goes to France and meets Philippe, Matthew’s father, it gets much better. It’s intriguing and Diana finds her voice. Diana’s study of magic with the witches of London is likewise fantastic. It is a good book. Get through the first third of the book, you still have to read it for reference to the rest of the book, but it is worth it.

I read this the first time and waited to write a review because I felt somewhat disappointed. This I’m sure is partially my fault because I was so excited for it. I listened to Jennifer Ikeda’s version recently to try to see if with time I could give it a more fair review. Jennifer Ikeda does a fine job though I did not like her voice for Gallowglass at all. She does not take away from the story, however. I have to say the book is much better after having taken some time. I love the appearance of her father, her interaction with the London witches, Philippe and Diana’s relationship. There is much to savor. It is a good read and I look forward to the third.


About Steph

As C. S. Lewis said, “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” I am an indiscriminate reader. I can find a way to enjoy almost all books. I find they are like people – you can find something endearing in almost every one of them. I love to write reviews. I hope you enjoy them and find them useful. View all posts by Steph

4 responses to “Shadow of Night: All Souls Trilogy Book 2 – Deborah Harkness

  • mblaylock4

    Like you, I was so very excited for this sequel to A Discovery of Witches. I pre-ordered it and everything. Unlike you, I never finished it. And not to say I haven’t given it a good effort – I’ve tried 4 times! It simply cannot hold my interest; instead, I look at it as work and all enjoyment fades to the background. I get the sense you kind of feel the same way, but perhaps are more diligent in your reading than I have been as of late.

    Liked by 1 person

    • stephswint

      It was a rough read for me. The second half is much better but it was a drastic change from the first book. I do think the third will be good and this is necessary to the read for it. I don’t know if I built it up in my mind. I listened to an audible the second time and it helped. I might recommending going the audible direction because sitting and reading it was really rough.

      Liked by 1 person

  • “The Book of Life” – Deborah Harkness | Bookish

    […] a couple of months and read it again. I figured out what bothered me.  You can read my review here, (Shadow of Night) if you are curious, and i think it has more to do with it being a second book in a trilogy than […]


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