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    Published on July 11th, 2012 | by BookCrack

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    What We’re Reading #1: Paranormal Romance Fans Shadow of Night is here!

    Paranormal romance junkies rejoice!  Why? Because today’s the day Book 2 Shadow of Night: (An All Souls Novel) by Deborah Harkness hits shelves/ereaders. *Squee* Confession #1: This series is about as close to a historical romance as I get. Infact, it’s the paranormal/fantasy series I keep jumping up and down and telling my author/reader friends to try that only read HR. They say I’m just trying to get them to come to the dark side. *Sigh* They may be right, but it’s their loss!

    In case you hadn’t heard, Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy is a smart, deeply imagined PNR series about a long-lost alchemical manuscript inadvertently called up from the depths of the Oxford library by a reluctant, scholarly witch who has suppressed her powers (one, who just happens to be a Bishop, a direct decendent of the first woman executed in the Salem witch trials) AND last but not least the tall, dark and handsome vampire with questionable motives who steps in to *ahem* procure and protect the manuscript her. So the plot? Folks seem to love it or hate it. Either way-

    I was SO IN.

    I mentioned the remarkably intelligent, handsome, protective and slightly controlling VAMPIRE, right? If by chance you have vampire fatigue *gasp! wincing with eyes closed* dear reader, hang in there with me. Matthew Clairmont will win you over. Trust me.

    NORMALLY I like my adult romances to build a whole heck of a lot quicker, and be more…err…descriptive. And, yes, that was my stance long before I met <b.Mr. Fifty Shades</b>. But, there’s something about this series that’s just DIFFERENT enough that I love it. Some folks are still saying it’s “Twilight for adults” others a fantasy/romance for the “Harry Potter generation”, but with such a developed back story so steeped in history I think Book 2 will put an end to all that conjecture.

    Having said all this, I’ve gotta back-track and give some more advice for the uninitiated: First, you REALLY should read Book 1 if you haven’t yet. And, here  comes <b>Confession #2:  It took a few recommendations from friends who had their hands on an ARC before I dove into the vampire/witch love story that was Book 1 (A Discovery of Witches).But after a few pages I was HOOKED. Secondly, being that Book 1 is a bit of an undertaking at 594 pages, it didn’t hurt that I read it over a long weekend on my winter break. The latest in the planned trilogy Book 2 Shadow of Night weighs in at 584 pages. I’m nearly at the 50% mark and I can’t help thinking about those few reviews on Amazon and Goodreads that said Book 1 or 2 are a “one-sitting read”.

    “Yes, I see that you are behaving like a prince, but that doesn’t mean you won’t behave like a devil at the first opportunity.”

    One-sitting read? Fifty Shades of Grey perhaps or On the Island but either of Harkness’ books? IMHO I don’t think so. It’s not a quality issue. Far from it. I will admit, fellow readers, that Night’s smitten witch and vampire come together at a very slow burn but they still managed to have me sighing (in a good way) midway through Book 1. Maybe I just liked having the history and mood to ponder a bit more. Maybe I wanted to pretend I was having a literary moment. (Alright, stop rolling your eyes!) Either way, by the time Book 1 was named an Amazon Best Book of the Month I was already telling my HR and PNR loving friends how much they too would love the mystery that is Ashmole 782 (book that holds the key to immortality) and the unprecedented love affair between the plucky, scholarly witch Dr. Diana Bishop and the captivating 1,500 year old vampire, Matthew Clairmont, whom she turns to for protection against the magical brethren that begin to torment and hunt her.

    I know I seem to be making a lot of concessions, but that doesn’t diminish how much I really am enjoying this series and how glad I am that I stuck with it. The world Harkness imagines in both books mixes history and magic, mythology and romance into a uniquely imagined world where the natural and supernatural are in a delicate, dangerous balance and a powerful relationship like the one blossoming between our witch and vampire is forbidden to exist. Pssht. Like that should stop them. Needless to say, in Book 1 when Diana finds her desire for Matthew and her magical prowess are growing beyond her control, things got GOOD.

    Magic is desire made real

    -Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches

    In  Book 2 Shadow of Night (working for NO spoilery here) Diana and Matthew- well, let’s just say their relationship has deepened and each has an increasingly personal mission that causes them to travel back in time to 1590 Elizabethan England: Matthew to find the ever elusive Ashmole 782, which he has been hunting for over a century because he has come to believe it may hold the key to why the vampire population is dwindling in modern times, and the orphaned Diana to find a magical tutor/mentor powerful and knowledgable enough to school her in the ways of the wizarding world. Okay, so maybe it has a few things in common with Harry Potter after all. All I can say at this point is I’m in it for the long-haul and I can’t wait to see how this one turns out!

    Spoiler free comments welcome!

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