Book Review: The Book of Life

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3)
Published By: Viking Adult
Publication Date: July 15, 2014
Page Count: 576
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: Adult - Fantasy, Paranormal

Will contain spoilers for A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night. 

 This final instalment in the All Souls Trilogy sees Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont return to the present day, after their foray into Elizabethan England. Now in command of her powers (and pregnant with twins), Diana is prepared to retrieve the still mysterious Ashmole 782, also known as the Book of Life, and see what it can tell her about the true nature of Creatures. There are still others after the book, however, and they won’t make it easy for her. In particular, one demented vampire, Benjamin, is determined to discover the secret of vampire/witch conception and will do anything to get his hands on the book, and Diana herself. Matthew, Diana and their extended family must fight for the very right to survive, and to win, they will have to risk everything. 

Harkness, like her main characters, is an academic and this is very evident in her writing style, which at times felt quite clinical. I found this particularly noticeable in comparison with Shadow of Night, which, with its Elizabethan setting, felt much warmer than the first book in the series. Scenes that should have been very intimate, seemed quite detached. This is in no way a criticism, there is a lot of beauty in those scenes, it just struck me as unusual for the fantasy genre. 

 There are quite a few advanced Biology concepts bandied about, and a good working knowledge of DNA would probably be advantageous when reading. I have a basic working knowledge of DNA, and I’m willing to admit that there were some parts that just went over my head. 

 The Book of Life doesn’t just tie up the loose ends of the first two books in the series, it introduces new characters and plot lines of its own. I wouldn’t advise reading it as a stand-alone novel, it is very heavily dependent on the first two books, but it is a fitting end to what has been a great trilogy.

The highly anticipated finale to the #1 New York Timesbestselling 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 andShadow 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.