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.
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
Book of Life is the third and final book in the All Souls Trilogy, this review will contain spoilers about the other books in the series.
I’m going to start out by saying that I had the same issues with this book as I have the other books in the series. Too long, too much, too textbooky at times. After such a long time period between the second book (Shadow of Night, released 7/2012) I forgot so much stuff except the basic plot. I should have reread the book before I dove into this one but I didn’t. I had forgotten most of the characters and why they were important.
Also, I feel like this could have been condensed greatly. Too many historical times and places and people for me to keep straight while I’m also trying to keep all the characters straight. Not that I don’t love history (I do! Trust me I do!) but I don’t want a history lesson in the middle of a fictional novel. Does that make sense?
Okay, on to what I like. Pretty much everything else. Matthew and Diana are back from the past, she’s pregnant (twins!) and her beloved Aunt has been murdered. They are still trying to stay safe from other jealous witches, and the Congregation, a group of nonhuman creatures organized to rule and set laws, who want to punish Matthew and Diana for their union.
Not only that but there were some very violent deaths while they were in the 1500s that look like they were caused by a rogue vampire, one that may be connected to Matthew.
Diana is still learning what her amazing powers are capable of, while trying to navigate the traditions and expectations of being a vampire’s wife. Matthew’s family adds in some serious complications where Diana is concerned. There is a bit of a “who is king of the castle” fight.
They continue to search for the missing pages of the Ashmole 782, as becomes a vital part of saving their lives. Their adventures in this book take them all around the world as the hunt for historical manuscripts, and try to save the family they are building together.
I feel like I can’t say much else for fear of spoiling the entire book. This seems like a pretty short review for a 576 page book, right? Well, like I said there is a lot added into the book that I feel could have been left out.
At least all the secondary characters have a distinct personality and once you finally remember who is who you love them all over again. If you’ve read the other books in the series, you’ll like this one just as much. If you haven’t read them, the last book is finally out so you can enjoy the series without the long breaks.
I recommend to anyone that likes the supernatural (vampires, witches, etc) and also loves history.