Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I kept going back and forth between wanting to give this book 3 stars and thinking that there are enough things I like about it for 4.
I don’t like time travel stories. I just don’t. Not that I wouldn’t want to try it myself, I just don’t like reading about it.
There were also too many details in this I’m still not sure how I feel about. The treatment of time travel and things they can and can’t change felt…strange. Balancing somewhere on the border of ‘wrong’ and ‘maybe okay?’. The discussion of children, when they considered a lot of points but not the ‘maybe not while we are on business in the 16th century?’ idea. Too many characters left in the air. The representation of history and language use (I’m glad none of them are languages I work with, so I remain blissfully ignorant of any mistakes that there might be).
On one hand, I know that I would like this book even less if it had more drama/action/dangers, but on the other, this one is just too slow and repetitive. They keep repeating the same dance over in over, meeting new characters, repeating same questions and steps, without any real progression… the first book was slow too, but the (modern) Oxford part was the one I enjoyed the most out of the two books combined.
I hated the parts that involved monarchs. They were disgusting. These were the times where I contemplated skipping forward and thought I’d have to give this book 3 stars.
Other than that, even though this book is long and slow, and irritated me on more than one occasion, there’s still something about it that kept me firmly in it’s world and didn’t even really let me skip through the least favourite part. And that is why I put 4 stars after all. There is still something I really like about this world and the feeling, the taste, of this series.
(Though I’ll have to wrestle with a lot of apprehension before I’ll be ready to pick up the 3rd book and finish it.)