Yes, I know, who wants to read a book about cancer kids. Trust me, you do. You must. This is one of the most profound books I have ever read. Not since Betsy Byars The Pinballs has a book truly changed my life. Green gets so much right in this book. His characters astutely note things like “illness repulses” and “the pain is always there, pulling me inside of myself, demanding to be felt.” When talking about her normal friend, Hazel states that there is “a certain unbridgeable distance between us…friends wanted to help me through my cancer, but they eventually found out that they couldn’t. For one thing, there was no through.” s a chronically ill person, I can say you are bang on Mr. Green. Bang on. But don’t think this book is all depressing because it’s not. You’ll get little gems like, “As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep; slowly, and then all at once,” and a diatribe about “why are breakfast foods breakfast foods?” (Why are they really? It’s a question I’ve long pondered.) Still not convinced? I’ll leave you with this:
“I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”
If you read A Discovery of Witches last year, then I know you’re waiting with baited breath for Shadow of Night. Let me tell you, it’s worth every moment of wait. Shadow of Night is a phenomenal follow-up. Not only do we see Matthew and Diana’s relationship deepen and Diana’s powers develop, we learn a lot about Matthew’s past. He was a part of the School of Night with Marlow, Raleigh, and Harriot, was a friend and spy to Queen Elizabeth I, and knew Shakespeare. After I read Shadow of Night, I went on a major fact-finding spree and was completely amazed at how many historically accurate references Harkness makes to the time period. In fact, there was a Matthew Roydon during this period who actually appears in many of the places that Harkness’ Roydon appears in Shadow of Night. How Harkness can have such a grasp on historical minutia and weave it into a fantastical tale is truly an amazing skill. Now I’m waiting with baited breath for the final installment of this trilogy!