Review: Shadow of Night

Shadow of Night
Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The very first thing I have to say about this book is: If you write a novel and decide to put in phrases in different languages, DO NOT USE GOOGLE TRANSLATE to get it. Ask someone that actually speaks the language! I was SO ANNOYED after a while with the horrible attempt at writing German in this book, I nearly stopped reading. It distracted from the story flow and generally made me very angry, that a writer has so little regard for language! A writer no less, that seems to have such wonderful control over the English language! I love to read Mrs. Harkness’ style of writing. Unless it is in another language! German is my first language and I really felt it was very disrespectful to mangle the sentences to a point where I -as a native speaker- could not make sense of the German words and had to read the translation in the book to understand. I blame not only the author for this, but also the editor. Ask someone for God-sake!

The story was not bad, if you ignored the prolonged ramlbings in parts of the book. It certainly lacked the fast pace of the first book. I got a bit tired of the constant power-struggle between Diana and Mathew. I don’t want to give away the plot or put spoilers in the review. Let me just say that some of the actions and reactions in this part of the trilogy made me sad and I felt they were a little bit out of character. Mathew always is going on how he wants to protect Diana and then he treats her like that. It is constantly implied that he felt responsible for his other mates and how he just is so overprotective blah blah and then… oh well. I also got kind of sick of Diana playing the clueless female a few times.
The time travel was very badly handled. There were so many things happening that could not have been explained away, specially with the age-appropriate Mathew disappearing when the modern one showed up with Diana in the 16th century. This implies the “old” one will come back when they leave and will have a heck of a time explaining it all, never mind that most people will wonder where his wife went.
All these changes they made must have influenced the future at some point. I cannot believe it didn’t. I wanted to like this book so badly, hence I kept on reading. I do hope that some of the characters that looked so incredibly boring and superfluous in this book will come to have had reason to be there when the next book comes out.

I liked that there were not too many of those tedious repetitions of stuff that happened in the first book, I know they have to be there to a degree, but I really feel that Mrs. Harkness has struck a wonderful medium between making sense of things going on now for someone that may not have read the first book and not boring readers that have to death with redundancies.

I will read the third book in the series when it comes out for sure, but I certainly will not go out of my way to get it as soon as possible, as I did with this copy after I read the first book. I will get it when I can. Which is sad.



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