Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I didn't dislike this novel any on a re-read. Indeed, knowing what's going to occur in the next novel actually improved the overall plot for me.
I originally came to the conclusion that most of the historical plots were relatively inconsequential. After all, aren't we playing tourists with the time-travel bits? But no. The plots and the carry-through with a large cast of characters both vampire and other feels entirely justified on the re-read.
Other than that, I pretty much squeed all over again because of the mightily researched and loved past of 1590. Add a ton of real personages and give them so much life and verve and it feels like I just nerded out.
And the straight UF experience is only enhanced. :)
Oh, and let's be honest here. It's a romance. No matter how I try to deny it, it's all romance. :)
The inner English Lit fanboy in me went squee many times as I read this one. I was teased and thrilled and thoroughly amused by being plopped into Elisabeth's England and Austria and France, meeting all of the fascinating characters of the time. Shakespeare was always an inconsequential flop in the background and Kit was suddenly thrust into the limelight like I thought he always ought to have been.
The novel took a sharp turn from urban fantasy into historical fantasy, rich and detailed and a pure delight to behold. And yet, we all know language is always going to be a problem so I didn't really mind that late middle English was seamlessly translated into the modern English. It allows us the joy without any of the hardships. Indeed, the whole novel was some of the easiest complicated tales I've ever had the pleasure of staying up all night to read. I loved the first novel, but this one tickled a lot of fancy bones for me.
The plot in this or the previous novel is relatively inconsequential. The people are much more important, and the care and detail put into them is pure magic. Of course, magic is fun while the stormclouds slowly encroach upon the sunny day, but we can feel the raindrops forming and the time for preparation is slipping away.
I'm a big fan of this novel. Magic isn't much of a crutch, but the developments are enough to push the reader through a few of the snags. That being said, I had a great time reading it and have no regrets about the directions it has taken. I'm thoroughly invested.
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