Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness – Book Review

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2)Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This follow-up to The Discovery of Witches is mostly as-expected: a great paranormal/ fantasy with a moderate literary bent. Due to the time traveling nature of this sequel, there is also a lot of historical detail, which was interesting and mostly well done. (Daily living covered, but glossed over what was really on my mind… they had “relations” several times, and she can’t shave her legs… or bathe?) Eek.

My biggest nitpick about this book is the lack of romance. Not that there was a ton of it in the first book, but at least the tension between the two main characters was enough to keep the embers burning in that one. For a good chunk of this book (mostly the beginning) they felt like an old married couple– one long-since “comfortable” with each other. And they haven’t been together nearly long enough for that!

Granted, they eventually connected on a more personal level, by figuring out that honesty and communication is what will keep their relationship healthy, but the emotional side of things doesn’t mean that the physical parts have to suffer. If anything, that should have sparked a few moments. But it didn’t. The little bit of intimacy between them felt rushed, forced and (dare I say it?) shoved in after-the-fact to please readers looking for a bit of steamy-goodness by some well meaning editor.

Perhaps my recent risque-trilogy reading has clouded my expectations, so don’t let my thoughts scare you off from reading Shadow of Night. As far as the magic and fantasy goes, Harkness once again delivers some creative and interesting concepts with this follow-up book. And I’m certainly curious to see where the next book takes the story arc!

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