Friday, September 7, 2012
Shadow of Night
During my "break" from blogging I read A Discovery of Witches. This was book one of the All Souls Trilogy and book two has recently been released, Shadow of Night, which I finished today. First, let me give you a little background from A Discovery of Witches before I delve into Shadow of Night.
This story revolves around Diana Bishop, a professor, historian and witch...who doesn't really want to be a witch. She prides herself on not using her magic until one day she is searching for a manuscript in the Oxford library, Ashmole 782. Little does Diana know that this manuscript has been missing for years and she's the first to lay hands on it since it's disappearance. After Diana thumbs through the bewitched text, she banishes it back to the stacks believing she can call it back another day for further research. However, the next day creatures (specifically daemons, vampires and other witches) are everywhere within the library, fascinated by Diana's every move. Each is waiting for Diana to request for Ashmole 782 yet again. The creature that captures Diana's attention the most is Matthew, a geneticist and vampire.
The two butt heads initially, but then develop a friendship...and later, more. What romantic relationship within a book doesn't start with a little tension? The rest of the book develops this relationship and their desire to find Ashmole 782 (which Diana can no longer recall from the archives...it's lost yet again).
What is so alluring about Ashmole 782? This manuscript appears to hold all the answers to why each type of creature exists and their link with each other, humans included. In a world where witches and daemons are unable to procreate as much and vampires are less able to change humans, this could be a revelation. And the irony that Matthew is a geneticist as well as Diana's love interest? How convenient.
At the end of Discovery of Witches, Diana and Matthew are timewalking (one of Diana's witch abilities) back to the late 1500s in order to flee scrutiny and threats in the present. Because, of course, their love that crosses creature lines is highly frowned upon...among other things. They will attempt to hone Diana's witch skills (which are laughable) and find the current un-bewitched copy of Ashmole 782.
That is the quick and dirty summary without going into too much detail and ruining the almost 600 page book for you. I LOVED this book, along with 95% of my book club.
Shadow of Night picks up right where Discovery of Witches stops...no summary, no wrap-up...it just starts right back up. I did thumb through the last 100 pages of Discovery of Witches in preparation since Nicole had warned of this abrupt beginning. I think that helped a little, but for the first 100 pages of Shadow of Night I was still trying to catch up and remember all the specifics of the previous book. Really and truly, when the third book comes out, I will just start right back at the very beginning and reading all 1,500+ pages right through. Because these are books that I really have enjoyed and will be happy to reread.
Shadow of Night is the true definition of the middle book in a trilogy. It does precisely what you think it's going to do, with some great twists and turns throughout. You know that Diana is here to really develop her witchy skills (and she does) and find the current copy of Ashmole 782 (I won't tell you that one ::wink wink::).
What do I think the real premise of book two is? Matthew. You learn so much about his character and what makes him who he is. Oh yea, and his relationship with Diana does take that next logical step (or two). There are a number of from-real-life cameos, obviously fictitious in storyline, but entertaining nonetheless. At the end of this book, the two are headed back to present day after determining that they're ready.
Obviously, the final book will involve them wrapping up the drama that unfolded in book one now that they're fully "prepared." And perhaps having to deal with some drama that was created in book two? I honestly can't wait to find out when the third book will be released.
I feel that these books could be appealing to a couple wide arrays of possible readers. One, are you an adult that loved Twilight, but would like something a bit more...ummm, adult? This is the ticket. Two, do you like reading the occasional fantasy novel, but detested how juvenile Twilight was and want some more complex? This is the ticket. These books look at fantastical creatures unlike any book I've read before, in that the creatures are actually trying to figure out how and why they're here.
Have I mentioned that the movie rights have been purchased for this trilogy? Can we say, "Yay!" and clap our hands? I think so!