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Book Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2) by Deborah Harkness ( DAI BO LA HA KE NI SI ) (2013-02-01)

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Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2) by Deborah Harkness ( DAI BO LA HA KE NI SI ) (2013-02-01)

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  • PDF | Unknown pages
  • Penguin (1646)
  • Unknown
  • 8
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Review Text

  • By Amanda Jade on July 10, 2012

    Shadow of Night picks up a second after A Discovery of Witches ends. We join Matthew and Diana in their time jump to the 1500s where their goals are to 1) find a witch to train Diana and 2) find the mysterious Ashmole 782. But instead of doing this and picking up where the story left off, the author gets lost in history instead and the story disappears.Within a few pages the reader is instantly thrown into a crowded and overwhelming sea full of famous literary characters and influential historical figures. In the very first chapter you meet famed playwrights and poets and others who have little to no purpose in the story. As much as it pains me to admit it, this book started out surprisingly dry and dull. I actually had to force myself through it. I rushed through the first book in the trilogy since I loved it so much, but not this one. Sadly, 100 pages into Shadow of Night and the story had yet to move forward. Matthew and Diana hadn't even come close to accomplishing what they meant to do when they went back in time. All they had done at this point is focused on Matthew's affairs during his life in the 1500s. This is when I understood why the book is 600 pages.Now, does that make this a bad book? No. Harkness is absolutely brilliant and her knowledge of history is highly impressive. There were a handful of interesting scenes and moments in the book, however, they had nothing to do with the main story. They were just written and plopped into a spot in the book with no point or purpose. They dragged the book down, dragged it very very far down. I stopped reading many times because I lost focus. Had those pages been removed, this book wouldn't be 600 pages, but half of that, and it would have been much better.Don't get me wrong, I enjoy history, but not like this. Shadow of Night felt like a history textbook at times and not a historical novel. I think the author, with her love for history and teaching (she's a history professor), blurred the lines a bit too much. There needs to be more than dates and historical facts, there has to be a story - a story that moves forward.Luckily, once you get deeper into the book, there is a story and we finally begin Diana's witch training, as well as the search for Ashmole 782. There are quite a few rocky parts in the story, but there were fantastic moments as well. Those fantastic moments saved this book and eventually it got to the point where I couldn't put Shadow of Night down.However, while I was eventually captivated by the fascinating world of Shadow of Night, I was still disappointed overall. I was expecting another novel as amazing as A Discovery of Witches. I hate being so harsh on Shadow of Night, especially since it had many great moments and because I am so incredibly awed and impressed by the author. But the sad truth is that this book needed some extra tweaking to make it truly great. There were far too many issues to ignore - unnecessary characters, sloppy storytelling, far too many random pages that served no purpose, the main male character doing a personality 180 and acting like a bipolar sack of crazy... etc.I do have high hopes for the final book in the trilogy though, especially since a lot has been left unanswered so far. I can't wait to find out how it all ends.

  • By Susan Tunis on September 6, 2012

    At the end of my review of the first volume in this trilogy, I wrote:"That's right, folks. I dragged my little eyes through 600 pointlessly drawn out pages only to discover this book had absolutely no resolution! It ends on a cliff-hanger! I struggled through this mess to get to an end that never came. And THAT is unforgivable. God knows how many volumes Ms. Harkness has planned, but I doubt I'll give her any more of my precious reading time."Given the unambiguous statements above, you may be justified in wondering why I'm reviewing this book. It's because there's something wrong with me. I'm a reader who almost compulsively finishes every book she starts, even the ones I hate. Yes, I know; I should cut my losses, too many good books, etc., etc. I know I should have stayed far away from Shadow of Night, but publishers are so kind to me. They put every new release right into my hands before it's even published. (I know, it's a high-class problem to have.) And with the utter lack of resolution in the first book, the read felt... unfinished. I started reading again.As you'll recall, as A Discovery of Witches ends, Diana and Matthew have just traveled to the past. Early on, Matthew helpfully exposits, "We're here for only two reasons, Diana: to find you a teacher and to locate that alchemical manuscript if we can." Ah, doesn't the dialog just trip off your tongue? What follows is Matthews's reimmersion with his pals from the past, a group known collectively to historians as The School of Night. You'll recognize their names... Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Harriot, Walter Raleigh, and so forth. Bet you never knew Kit Marlowe was a daemon. Explains a lot.Anyway, what followed was an absolutely daunting accumulation of period detail and bastardized history. I obviously hadn't loved the first volume of this trilogy, but compared to the second, it was an absolute page-turner. I found Shadow of Night deadly dull! I got through 40% of the doorstop before I finally gave up. Hooray! Deborah Harkness has cured me of my unreasonable compulsion to finish reading what I start--at least in the case of her interminable trilogy.So readers, please forgive me. After writing hundreds of book reviews, this is the first time I have ever reviewed a book I did not finish. It is also only the fifth time I have awarded a book one star. As I like to say, "If you get one star from me, I REALLY mean it!" Good luck and happy reading to the many fans I know find this series enjoyable. More power to you. I'm done.

  • By Kindle Customer on July 10, 2012

    I loved the first book and pre ordered the second book before I'd even finished the first, and have been counting the days till it showed up on my Kindle. As soon as I took a look at the first page I noticed that the font in the Kindle edition uses a san serif font(A serif font has little tails on the letters so it is easier to read large blocks of text, without getting a headache)The first book used a serif font - as do all the other books on my Kindle. I don't know why anyone would release a book using a typeface that is so hard to read, and as I can't change the style of type in the book on my Kindle I had to ask for a refund. I did this with a heavy heart, and ask that the font style be changed in the future. Because if it is I would happily buy the book and the next one too.


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