Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

It's been awhile since I have enjoyed a trilogy or even a series as much as I've enjoyed the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness.  And finally, we have come to the end of the road.  The Book of Life is the final thrilling novel in the adventures of Matthew Clairmont and Diana Bishop; one   a 1500 year old vampire and the other a contemporary witch who denies her powers.   They  meet over the mysterious Ashmole 782 at Oxford and fireworks happen.  

Before I begin my review, I'm going to tell you one thing:  if you haven't read any of these books, I'm not going to give away anything.  You really do need to read the books!  

In this final novel, it continues right where Shadow of Night ends.  Diana and Matthew are back at Sept-Tours, along with a cast of characters that have become deeply involved in the lives of Diana and Matthew.  You'll find yourself smiling as you meet them all again.  Deborah Harkness brings characters to life in such a way that they seem very human--even the daemons and vampires!  There are no one-dimensional people in this world; all are fully three-dimensional characters that are hard to forget.  

The one thing that kept returning to my mind as I read this book was the treatment of marriage.  It's been a very long time since I've read a novel where the romance part of marriage wasn't at the forefront, and often the story stopped once the marriage happened.  But with Matthew and Diana, I am amazed at how their relationship plays out over the trilogy.  Yes, Matthew is a vampire, and Diana is a mortal witch.  Their relationship is based on true, deep, lasting love.  It is full of respect, protectiveness, and the knowledge that there is simply no one else for either of them.  They learn secrets about each other, yet accept both the good and the bad.  It's a relationship to be admired and aspired to for anyone looking for love. 

With that said, wow what an excellent book!  I will admit it took me about 50 pages to get in the swing of things remembering characters, but after that it just continued to build in excitement and action until the thrilling conclusion.  And Diana is kick-ass.  She becomes the most amazing, vibrant woman--truly a lioness, which Matthew uses as a term of endearment.  The arc of her development from a restless and unhappy professor to a woman of power is very well done and another favorite part of this trilogy.  Bravo, Deborah Harkness!  

So--I don't tell you much.  I'll leave that for you to discover as you hunker down this July and read the further adventures of Matthew and Diana.  You will not be disappointed.  All is neatly tied together, questions are answered, and you are left feeling a bit bereft after finishing the last sentence.  Yes, I've actually sighed a number of times after I've finished and put the book down!  

Rating:  9/10 for a brilliant conclusion, well-developed characters, and story arcs that answer all questions.  

Available today!  Tuesday, July 15th in the United States in Hardcover, E-book, and audio.  

And the winner of a hardcover copy of The Book of Life is…….

Kate!  Please email me your address!


  1. I pre-ordered this book months ago. Very excited this morning when I received notification it was ready to download. I had seen your emails leading up to today about this book so I came over here this morning to see if you had a post on it, and you do! So happy to see it was worth the wait!

  2. My daughter and I have been waiting for this book and actually marked the release date on our calendar. Thanks for the great review. I can't wait to get started!

  3. just want to get this now

  4. I can't wait to read this!
    New to the book review club, would appreciate your feedback on - http://goo.gl/FDWN0W
    Do add me via G+ :) Would def want to stay updated with your blog!