Thursday, June 20, 2013

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

This book is so fun!

Shadow of the Night is book 2 of the All Souls Trilogy.  I haven't read book 1 - but didn't have a hard time following the story.  Basically, this novel is about a love affair between a witch and a vampire, Diana and Matthew.  But, they're on a quest for a lost enchanted book and use time travel to go back to Elizabethan England to find it.  Throw in a taboo for relationships among their types, and that Matthew's friends in the past were the School of Night, a shadowy and mysterious group made up of the time's great (subversive) talents such as Christopher Marlowe and William Shakespeare.

To me, this premise sounds a bit silly and is so complicated that only a very good writer could carry it off.  Harkness is such a writer.  I'll admit to floundering through the first few pages and wondering at how anyone could presume to turn some of these famous historical figures into characters.  But writers do it all the time and its whether the character is believable and interesting that ultimately carries the day.

Harkness knows the time period well, which helps.  And she tells a good story.  Anytime witches and vampires are thrown into the mix, along with time travel, a reader has to be willing to suspend disbelief.   To me, the time period is an interesting one and I enjoyed being thrown into a different time period by such a knowledgable writer.  And that's the real skill of the author...taking what we know a little about...and creating a believable and engaging related world.

My goal this year was to read more "new" book,s and outside my normal genre.  I don't usually touch anything like this one.  But I still enjoyed the book so much I'll be buying book 1 and reading it eagerly.

A worthwhile read and not nearly as light as one might assume.  But, to go back to the beginning in time of this post, so fun.

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