I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Series: All Souls Trilogy #3
Published by Viking Adult on July 15, 2014
Length: 23 hours and 52 minutes
Genres: Demons, Fantasy, Vampires, Witches
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Also by this author: Shadow of Night
The highly anticipated finale to the #1 New York Times bestselling trilogy that began with A Discovery of Witches
After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.
With more than one million copies sold in the United States and appearing in thirty-eight foreign editions, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night have landed on all of the major bestseller lists and garnered rave reviews from countless publications. Eagerly awaited by Harkness’s legion of fans, The Book of Life brings this superbly written series to a deeply satisfying close.
All Souls Trilogy
Spoilers from the first two installments!
Since the beginning, we’ve followed in the steps of Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont as they seek out a lost manuscript called Ashmole 782, otherwise known as The Book of Life. In A Discovery of Witches, we watch the duo fall in love and setting aside Matthew’s exceedingly over-protectiveness we’re introduced to a most interesting world where vampires, witches, and daemons manage to exist in our modern world. In Shadow of Night, we’re taken back through time to 1590 Elizabethan London to continue the search for Ashmole 782 and for an individual to help Diana control the plethora of power she now possesses. And with this installment, the All Souls Trilogy finally comes to a close. Diana and Matthew are back in the present day, continuing the seemingly endless search for the book that has become key to unlocking the mystery of the supernatural races and also ensuring the futures of Diana and Matthews unborn children.
While the plot was far easier to follow than Shadow of Night, where there were so many characters (and many historically accurate figures) that it required a glossary for them alone, The Book of Life was still convoluted and overly verbose. We have the continued search for Ashmole 782, much scientific research occurs in hopes of finding a cure for Matthew’s blood rage which he hopes was not passed down to the twins, an incredible amount of supernatural politics headed by the group known as the Congregation, and to make it even more labyrinthine we have a rogue vampire on the lose who is raping witches in the hopes of impregnating them. Oh, he’s also Matthew’s son. I honestly felt as if that whole “bad seed” storyline could have been dropped completely. I didn’t feel the addition of some supremely evil character had to be included to up the ante; it would have been just fine without.
What I did enjoy though is that this isn’t your typical fantasy taking place on some made up world. This is right here on Earth and the way in which it’s written makes the possibility of magic and supernatural beings all the more plausible, mlike how Harry Potter made me want to believe in magic. I’ve always appreciated how Harkness was able to incorporate so many supernatural creatures without it sliding into cheesy territory; the historically accurate detailing always made these stories feel of the highest quality. Watching Diana grow into her magic was wonderfully done as well and I loved the detail given to her spellcasting. While I felt the Life was unreasonably elaborate and the ending left little in the way of surprises, it was still satisfying to see Diana and Matthews story come to an end.