The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

It’s been a few hours since I finished reading The Book of Life, the last installment in the All Souls Trilogy and I can say that it was absolutely fantastic!

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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 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.

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Oh yeah, I’ll be the first to admit that the first installment, A Discovery of Witches didn’t wow me in the least, but it was different enough, and it had Matthew Clairmont – and that was enough for me to at least give Shadow of Night a chance. And that one I really enjoyed. So once again, the first book in a paranormal-ish/fantasy-ish series is a “world established” type book. Fine.

The trilogy basically deals with finding out what Ashmole 782 is, finding its missing pages and determining once and for all the origins of Vampires, Witches and Daemons. After establishing it is in fact The Book of Life, realizing there are 3 pages torn from it, and setting out to find them, going as far as traveling back to 1950, Matthew and Diana are once again in our day and age.

The Book of Life brings them face to face with an enemy from the past, and while trying to find the missing pages of Ashmole 782, they have to also deal with Diana’s pregnancy, the Covenant, The Congregation, and one blood raged vampire seeking to destroy his father, his father’s children and discovering the secrets of the creatures origins. Just the thing everyone is after. Only he wants it to serve in his vendetta.

While some new characters are introduced, even if we knew them by name only before, and new twists and turns, with the tiniest seeming details revealed – the story becomes better and better as the pages keep turning.

There are some very heartbreaking discoveries in this book, one of those (which I was so sad to realize didn’t really find resolution… maybe a novella, Deb?) is Gallowglass secret.

It is clear that each and every line in the book was carefully thought of and crafted to serve the plot arc, and every change in direction of their quest was deliberate and definitely contributed to the characters’ progress.

I think any detail I give about the story might spoil, or even hint towards a spoiler, which I REALLY don’t want to do. I can definitely say that you should read this trilogy if you are even remotely interested in the genre. Yes, the books are long. Yes, there are tons of details. But hell yes – it’s freakin’ awesome.

When you combine otherworldly creatures with magic, time-travel, vendetta, unexplainable disease, a love story, secrets and kickass writing – you just can’t go wrong.

My rating: 4.5star

Yes, I’m petty and I took off 1/2 a star because I need Gallowglass to be happy.

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* I received a copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you.

My life has been a series of left turns that nevertheless took me in the right direction (though it didn’t always seem so at the time). I went to college to be a theater major and ended up studying the Renaissance. I went to grad school to become a college administrator and loved to teach so much I became a college professor instead. I thought I wanted to be a Tudor-Stuart historian, and found myself a historian of science. I started blogging because a friend needed help on a project in 2006 and am still blogging about wine today. I started writing a novel in the fall of 2008, and it became a New York Times Bestseller in February 2011: A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES. The second volume in the All Souls Trilogy, SHADOW OF NIGHT, came out in July 2012 and debuted at #1 on the NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller’s List. What’s next? The final volume of the trilogy, of course: THE BOOK OF LIFE, coming July 15 2014 to the US, UK, Canada, and Republic of Ireland.

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