Sunday, November 4, 2012

61. "Shadow of Night" by Deborah Harkness

Harkness, Deborah. Shadow of Night. New York: Vicking Press, 2012

581 pages.

Reviewed by J. d'Artagnan Love

Shadow of Night is the sequel to the much enjoyed A Discovery of Witches (click link to see my review). Shadow of Night picks up where A Discovery of Witches left of with Matthew and Diana traveling back in time in search of the elusive Ashmole 782. They traverse through sixteenth-century England where Diana works to find a mentor to help her develop her magical powers and she and Matthew meet many interesting people, including several important historical figures you are sure to recognize. The story has several twists and surprises and so many characters Harkness must provide a character list at the end of the book in true fantasy-fiction form.

This series is set to be a trilogy and I've heard rumors that there is already a movie series in the works. This is just a rumor, though--I'm not sure if it is actually true. One thing I do believe is that this series will make better films than they do books.

I do not mean this in a bad way. Harkness has a knack for description. The way she describes a scene is so clear and detailed, it is hard to not have a clear picture of what her vision is. It also doesn't leave much room for imagination. This is a personal preference and not necessarily a reflection of Harkness' writing. I like books that a leave a little wiggle room for the reader. I am more involved in a book that allows some breathing room for my imagination to play. I develop a closer relationship with a book when some details are left to my own devising. Harkness' writing doesn't allow for this. Every minute detail is nailed out providing great material for a potential screenplay.

Personal preference aside, the books was mostly enjoyable but not something of great literary prowess. I don't think it is meant to be anyway. The goal of this series truly seems to be aimed at entertainment rather than enlightenment. In comparison with the first book in the series, I like the story in Shadow of Night better but I like the writing in A Discovery of Witches more than in Shadow of Night. If you read this one, let me know what you think!

3 darts out of 5
Bookshelf Project Status: None (belongs to a friend)


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