New Read: The Book of Life

The Book of Life

After reading Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness earlier this year, I didn’t wait too long to read, The Book of Life, the final instalment in Harkness’ paranormal romance All Souls series.

Having grown in her powers and now pregnant with miraculous twins, Diana Bishop and her husband Matthew must return from Elizabethan England to the present time. However they still have many powerful enemies to contend with; in particular the Congregation are out for blood over their forbidden marriage and they also fear their unborn children. Diana must keep under the radar and surround herself with friends and family. While they look for a way to get their hands on the bewitched manuscript, Ashmole 782, which they hope will finally give them the knowledge to defeating their enemies and prejudice forever.

Through these books it has been nice to see Diana grow as a woman, witch, mother and matriarch. Sadly I am still not that enamoured with Matthew, because of his vampire possessive-ness, so it was great to see them spend some time apart in this book. Giving Diana the chance to shine and she even whoops some ass too! Another powerful element of this book is Diana and Matthew’s return to the present, leaving behind friends and loved ones in the past. While Diana and Matthew’s time walk took only minutes, many of these friends and loved have waited hundreds of years to see them again or have sadly passed away – some really poignant points arose from this.

I continued to love the detailed and immersive style and world Harkness conjured; and all the historical, alchemical, literary and art references and details. I also enjoyed the pace of this book, as the characters whizzed around the world to keep under the radar and to discover the truth. We spent time in the ancient Der Clermont seat at Sept-Tours, France; the eccentric Bishop home in Madison, USA (one of my favourites); Matthew’s grand London townhouse, England; the Congregation’s headquarters in the historical Venice, Italy; and many more fantastic locations. This book truly went international which helped keep me gripped to the end.

The Book of Life was an interesting and satisfying ending to this well written paranormal series; full of history, magic and art. Good read.

Thank you to the publishers for providing a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Have you read this? Or any of the previous books in the series?

Once Upon a Time X – #1

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14 thoughts on “New Read: The Book of Life

  1. I love this trilogy. My favorite was the second which brought the Elizabethan world come totally live for me! I found the conflict in the third a bit predictable, and so a bit of a let-down. But overall, I thought the whole thing was a lot of fun. (I actually enjoyed the romance too :P)

    1. Hello Juhi, thank you for stopping by and commenting – it is always lovely to hear from a new face 🙂 I am really pleased to hear you enjoyed this series too and that the romance was more to your taste.

  2. I read the first two books more than a year ago but for some reason just haven’t felt like reading this one yet. I must try to read it soon before I completely forget what happened in books one and two! It’s good to know that you found it a satisfying ending to the series. 🙂

    1. Helen, many readers seem to have read book 1 and 2 but not got round to the final one. I was lucky I got a review copy of this so I have had all 3 books ready to read in one go – it definitely helped me. If you enjoyed book 1 and 2 it seems right to finish the series off – you might prefer this book as it is back in the present day.

  3. Glad you enjoyed this series – I sort of gave up after No.2 but I might continue on and finish at some point. Matthew kind of irritated me and I think that’s probably why I stopped – the settings and writings were excellent. One day!
    Lynn 😀

    1. Thank you Lynn 🙂 Looking at this posts other comments, you and I are not alone in finding Matthew irritating. It such a shame because as you said the settings and writing is excellent – fortunately I was able to get past Matthew and the possessive romance to enjoy all the other elements; it also helped that I had all 3 books ready to read too 😀

  4. I remember being so excited when I heard about the first book. And I loved it until the romance started. It just didn’t work for me. Until then, I was really dazzled by the author’s story and attention to detail. Your enthusiasm for staying with all three titles makes me want to try again. I will keep this in mind.

    1. Laurie, it is comforting to hear I am really not the only one bothered by the romance in this series! I agree it such a shame because the story and Harkness’ attention to detail is great. If you do give this series another go I hope you able to get past the romance to enjoy all the other great elements of the story.

  5. Sounds like a great choice for Once Upon a Time! 🙂 Heh, good for them to spend time apart! The series is still on my maybe list, but that possessiveness thing would really bother me. Still really like the sound of the world-building.

    1. Bina, with all its magic this was a perfect fit for Once Upon a Time. I can definitely sympathise that Matthew’s vampire possessiveness would bother you…as it bothered me! There are many other things to enjoy about these books too though – it all depends if you get past what bothers you 😛

  6. I haven’t read any of this series, but for some reason, it reminded me of the TV show Grimm! I guess it’s the powerful twins thing (thought it was just one little girl in the show) :p

    1. Hello Eustacia, thank you for stopping by and commenting – it always lovely to hear from a new face 🙂 Yes there is a baby girl with powers in the TV series Grimm, that is probably where the similarities with this book ends though. I am gutted I missed the start of the last series of Grimm – I am now waiting, not very patiently, for it to be repeated!

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