Book Review: The Book Of Life


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ashley | The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness is the final installment of the All Souls trilogy, a trilogy I have been loyal to since the start. It deals with your typical players – witches, vampires, demons etc – on the search to uncover a secret that witches discovered many centuries ago. We see magic, time travel, tragic deaths, but it’s all written with a renewed energy and these ‘typical’ characters quickly grow into their own beings and defy all the supernatural stereotypes associated with those creatures.

Even though I admittedly thought the Discovery of Witches had some kinks to iron out and had a hard time getting through Shadow of Night, I’m a big fan of this series. Perhaps it’s the fact that these aren’t YA novels, that the characters are older, more mature. That and the fact that while there is powerful love and romance, they are also capable of existing on their own, makes for a far more complex and entertaining tale. Thank you Harkness.

As far as finales go, The Book of Life sheds a lot of light onto the character’s pasts, filling in some blanks along the way. This is always interesting to me, I love reading into layers of a character, seeing how they got to where they are and who they are.  It also, of course, ties up all those loose ends that have been lingering through the other books. Questions are answered, secrets revealed, the Book of Life is thrust into the open and we finally discover what those witches discovered all those centuries ago. It all makes for a great read that had me tearing through pages, hungry for more.

There’s a very heavy scientific element as everyone tries to decipher the DNA build up that [SPOILER] allows Diana to conceive Matthew’s children and what gives Matthew his blood rage. Usually I find such scientific elements bog down the story, but this ended up being one of the more interesting aspects of this book.

We also see our lead creatures interacting more with humans this time around, which is also an interesting dynamic. Harkness has a little fun with these introductions, drawing on pop culture stereotypes and even a Twilight reference, which is amusing.

As always I’m a little wary of Matthew’s control and over protectiveness of Diana. It borders on obsessively controlling (which at least is called out multiple times in the book), but it just makes me really uneasy, blurring the lines between passion and obsession. Thankfully Diana has a strong backbone to stand up to Matthew and be her own person. That’s the only thing that saves this dynamic from being too overpowering.

Hands down, the All Souls trilogy only got better and better as the books went on, The Book of Life being the best of them all. I have been waiting all year for this to be released and wasn’t disappointed in the least. While this is the last in the series, there still seems to be more to this story and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a spin-off series branching out from this, I would definitely be interested in reading more about Diana and Matthew’s children.