13 December 2012

The Shadow of Night - Deborah Harkness

I read A Discovery of Witches in September and it was a lot of fun even though I got upset about the potential for vampire/witch sexytimes and then irritated that there wasn't enough. Consistency!

SO. The bane of trilogies is usually the middle book, in which a zillion expository developments happen but there's little actual movement toward the final book. For examples, see Tolkein's The Two Towers. (There are some exceptions to this, I know). In this middle book, Harkness attempted to alleviate the perennial problem by sending her characters back into the late 16th century. You know, the time of Elizabeth I and Shakespeare!

And this guy!
I didn't flag this book very liberally - mostly it was with quotes that made me laugh on the plane to and from Hawaii for a quick weekend trip with my dad. It turns out it's a 6-hour flight to and from Hawaii, which is longer than from San Francisco to NYC. I knew the Pacific was vast - after all, I lived within sight of it for half my life, and within quick driving distance for the rest of it - but I didn't know it was THAT far to Hawaii. This fact is vaguely embarrassing; I'm a born-and-bred Alaskan, which means I learned very early to sneer at Texas for being 1/3 the size of my state and at most maps for making us look so much littler than we actually are. Hawaiians and Alaskans have a "we're not one of the Mainland/Lower 48" bond, and we're kinda snooty about it.

Y'anyway, this was pretty solid plane-and-beach reading. Harkness didn't hesitate to toss in Major Historical Figures [like Diana Gabaldon does (except for Bonny Prince Charlie)]. The only major figure from London of the time period we missed was Shakespeare, and I'm not entirely sure why she didn't toss him into the mix.
Does anyone miss AngelFire right now? Just me? 
But there were some great moments. Diana starts explaining the modern obsession with vampires to her vampire husband, and he gets thoroughly disgusted by the violence. Then at another place, Diana is feeling sad about an event:
"Tomorrow?" I frowned. "I'm in no mood to make magic, Goody Alsop."
"I'm in no mood to go to my grave without seeing you weave your first spell, so I shall expect you when the bells ring six." 


I'm going to distract you from the not-enough-criticism by putting up some Hawaii pictures. I hope you don't mind.

I went on a helicopter tour of the volcanoes!* 

And then an hour later we went on a submarine tour of the reefs!

This is my new boyfriend. He likes to give kisses, which is more than I can say for the last guy.

*Our helicopter pilot was smokin' hot, but I couldn't work up the nerve to take a surreptitious photo. Also, even though I was with my dad, people tend to think we're a May-December couple.
And half the time when we mention oh-so-casually that he's my dad, they make that "I'm so not judging!" face, which is INFURIATING. Anyway. No pictures of the hot helicopter pilot. Alice understands that I already suck at sneaking photos of people. 

THE BOOK! There is a book in this post. And it only gets 7.5 out of 11 sixteenth century playwrights for plot, etc., but it gains an extra Smutty Delaney for the married characters having actual sex, bringing the total to two out of four.