The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness – 5 Stars


The Book of Life

Cover art thanks to Goodreads, click on it to visit book’s page there.

Book three in the All Souls Tilogy

I own a copy of this book.

Book Synopsis (from Goodreads, but it doesn’t really read like a synopsis to me…):

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.

My Review:

All things must end. No matter how we might love them or wish for them not to…they end.  I am going to miss Diana, Matthew and the rest of the Clairmont clan desperately.   Re-reading books one and two and now having finished the last I am left with a hollow feeling and will be missing my friends over the next few weeks as I adjust to life without them.  I know I will be able to visit them when ever I wish, but I won’t get to hear of any new adventures in their lives.  I hope the life they live after book three is full of joy and love.  I wish these characters the best and thank Ms. Harkness for sharing this world with us.

So I’m sure you are not surprised one bit that I gave this book five stars,  I could have told you before it started that I would be rating it thusly.  Harkness would have had to deviate pretty far from her earlier books to make me rate it less.  Book three did have a different feel to it thou, much darker…grittier. In this book the war is on between the creatures.  The Congregation is determined to make Diana and Matthew pay for their crimes and we finally learn who has been pulling all the strings over the past centuries (spoiler free review people).   We see this family come together and learn to function and trust one another.  We also get some vengeance on or justice for some pretty nasty characters and crimes from the first two books. We also see the world of creatures come together to stand behind the Clairmonts and demand change as well.  Many of the secrets that have been kept for way to long come out and we get to see the marvelous strong creature that Diana becomes.  Matthew sacrifices much, but in the end I feel he is a stronger character for it.  What is it they say what doesn’t break us makes us stronger.  Both Matthew and Diana’s limits are tested throughout this story and in the end I am pleased with the people they become.

This is a complex world and I have been thinking of who might enjoy reading it, as a librarian is wont to do.  I think adults who grew up reading and loving the Potter series would enjoy this one.  Both are complex worlds full of magic and at its core a battle of good over evil and change.  I also think lovers of Dan Brown’s books will also enjoy this one for its real history that is woven into the story and their shared complexity.

All stories become a part of us.  Great stories teach us, change us and help shape our personalities, are examples of how we could be in the face of adversity.  I’m glad I read this one.  I hope that a piece of it stays with me always and I can call upon it when I need to do what is not easy, but what is right.  It is a beautiful story and I am better for having read it.


5 thoughts on “The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness – 5 Stars

  1. I enjoyed your review. I read the first book a while back but I’d have to re-read it again before moving on. I remember so much happened in the first book and the fictitious world is quite complex. Maybe one day, I can get around to reading the trilogy. Glad you enjoyed it!


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