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Sunday, August 10, 2014

{ARC Review} The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness, the final book in the All Souls Trilogy

Book Title: The Book of Life
Author: Deborah Harkness
Publisher: Viking Adult, Penguin
Publishing Date: July 15, 2014
Length: 564 pages
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

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.

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 This was a fantastic ending to the All Souls trilogy. The book is now available, but I was granted a galley copy courtesy of the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. This is it.

After discovering Ashmole 782 with Diana in A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, and then traveling back in time with Matthew to 1591 in SHADOW OF NIGHT, Matthew and Diana have returned home. Diana is now the blood-daughter of Phillipe, a powerful witch in her own right, and mated to one of the most powerful vampires.

I want to go on and on and talk about every little action of the plot, but to do so would snatch the joy from your own reading. I do my best to keep things spoiler-free. So here's my best attempt: I think you will be pleased at the action, the plot, the characters, Diana's development, Matthew's development, and the fact that there are a few characters from the past who return. There are a TON of characters in this novel and it can be a tad overwhelming at time, especially as they are so masterfully written, you will want novels of their own. (Gallowglass, I'm especially looking at you!) This is one of those rare trilogies where the ending is THE ENDING. As I closed my kindle, I sighed with satisfaction, happy with the ending, happy with the growth of power and family and friendships and camaraderie and trust.

I expected certain things to happen after Diana "loses" her weaver's threads and was not disappointed. This book was a little more violent, each action building upon the previous, until you get this giant crescendo. And after that crescendo, the notes fall back to their places in harmony. This isn't just a story of a witch and a vampire who fell in love; this is a story about humanity, family, what builds us up, what breaks us down, and to think before we act. Thoroughly enjoyed as much as the other two books and will be happy to reread this trio sometime in the future, all back to back.