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The Book of Life: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy) Paperback – May 26, 2015
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Dedicated scholar, reluctant witch, and seasoned time traveler Diana Bishop returns to wrap up the wildly popular All Souls trilogy. After a supernatural “meet-cute” in A Discovery of Witches, and a time-traveling adventure in Shadow of Night, Diana and vampire/scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present, continuing their pursuit of magical alchemical manuscript Ashmole 782, aka The Book of Life; but before the secrets contained within the manuscript are revealed, Diana and Matthew must navigate the peculiarities of their essentially forbidden union. As the stakes grow increasingly higher, they prepare for a showdown in the demon world that could have direct—and possibly dire—consequences for their own families. Harkness herself proves to be quite the alchemist as she combines elements of magic, history, romance, and science, transforming them into a compelling journey through time, space, and geography. By bridging the gaps between Harry Potter, Twilight, and Outlander fans, Harkness artfully appeals to a broad range of fantasy lovers. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: With the first two volumes in this trilogy selling more than one million copies, and the movie version of A Discovery of Witches currently in development, the conclusion of this paranormal adventure is guaranteed to fly off the shelves. --Margaret Flanagan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Weaving an extraordinarily rich story of magic and science, history and fiction, passion and power, secrets and truths, Harkness delivers an unforgettable and spellbinding finale that's not to be missed.”
“Juicy and action-packed.”
“Pure escapist summer fun.”
—Jodi Picoult, Parade
“The epic and erudite vampire-witch romance comes to a thoroughly satisfying conclusion in the action-packed All Souls trilogy ender.”
“A stirring, poignant saga.”
“The charm in Deborah Harkness’s wildly successful All Souls trilogy lies not merely in the spells that its creature characters cast as they lurk pretty much in plain sight of humans, but in the adroit way Harkness has insinuated her world of demons, witches, and vampires into ours. . . . From the novel’s poignant opening, Harkness casts her own indelible spell of enchantment, heartbreak, and resilience. . . . She is terrific at bringing her magic world to life, maintaining a fast-paced, page-turning narrative.”—The Boston Globe
“This trilogy is a superlative example in a subgenre you could call realistic fantasy—think Harry Potter but for grown-ups or Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. Witches, vampires, and daemons exist, along with time travel. But this world also is recognizably ours, not a wholly made-up setting like George R.R. Martin’s Westeros. When done well, as it is here, this sort of fiction provides characters who are recognizably human in their desires and actions even if most of them are creatures with supernatural powers. Through them Harkness succeeds at the hardest part of writing fantasy: She makes this world so real that you believe it exists—or at the very least that you wish that it did.”
“Harkness has immersed and spellbound readers with her alternative universe. . . . Her ambitious melding of scientific and historical detail is inventive and brings surprising depth. . . . The Book of Life brims with sensuality, intrigue, violence and much-welcome humor.”
—Los Angeles Times
“Secrets and mysteries are finally revealed in the entertaining and satisfying conclusion. . . . The entire trilogy is a delightful plunge into the world of magic, witches and vampires, where love breaks all rules and happy endings are possible.”
“There is no shortage of action in this sprawling sequel, and nearly every chapter brings a wrinkle to the tale. The storytelling is lively and energetic, and Diana remains an appealing heroine even as her life becomes ever more extraordinary. A delightful wrap-up to the trilogy.”
“Harkness herself proves to be quite the alchemist as she combines elements of magic, history, romance, and science, transforming them into a compelling journey through time, space, and geography. By bridging the gaps between Harry Potter, Twilight, and Outlander fans, Harkness artfully appeals to a broad range of fantasy lovers.”
“The witch Diana’s and the vampire Matthew’s quests to discover their origins and confront the threats to their star-crossed union tie up as neatly as one of Diana’s magical weaver’s knots. . . . As in the previous two installments, there are healthy doses of action, colorful magic, angst-y romance and emotional epiphany, plus mansion-hopping across the globe, historical tidbits and name-dropping of famous artworks and manuscripts. . . . It’s still satisfying to travel with these characters toward their more-than-well-earned happy ending.”
“The adventure never lets up. . . . History, science, and the unpredictable actions of paranormal characters with hidden agendas all swirl together to create a not-to-be-missed finale to a stellar series.”
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THE STORY: Having returned from the past, witch and historian Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont have to face both new and old dangers as they try to discover the importance of the Book of Life. Their lives and the lives of their unborn children are at stake as Diana and Matthew have to face old enemies and rely on old friends.
OPINION: I enjoyed this ending to the trilogy and Diana and Matthew's story even when I didn't necessarily like all the answers. The book suffers somewhat from expectations which were built over two very long and detailed books. Perhaps the answers could never truly satisfy the expectations, but I loved seeing how these two characters grew and changed and made a family for themselves.
THE BOOK OF LIFE finally answers the question that began in the first book: what is the Book of Life and its connection to Diana. In this book, the entirety of what Diana and Matthew have been building in the prior two book finally come to fruition. This story is is one about tolerance and building a family and being open to change.
I enjoyed the progression of the relationship between Diana and Matthew and how both of them accept and love all the parts of one another. There are few easy answers in this book which was good.
I certainly enjoyed seeing many of the characters in the series come together in the solution. The book ends with peace and joy and hope in the future.
WORTH MENTIONING: This book returns to the interesting combination of magic and science that was the hallmark of the first book in the series.
CONNECTED BOOKS: THE BOOK OF LIFE is the final book in the All Souls Trilogy. This book is meant to be read as part of the trilogy.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.
What it's all about...
This book is the third and final...I believe...book in this series. I have read and loved them all. Well...let me rephrase that. I loved the first one, admired the second one and am passionate about this one. Deborah Harkness ended this trilogy beautifully. There is no way that I am going to go into every part of this massive book. Just know that you need to read these in order or don't even bother. If I had my preference...knowing what I now know...I would have waited until every book was finished. There was a longish gap between the middle book and this one...long enough to make me slightly forgetful of all of the vamps, daemons, witches and humans involved. I found a cheat sheet and I was able to get a renewed grip on each character. The series began with the present time, the second book had Matthew and Diana living in the 1590's hanging out with Will...yep...that would be Mr. Shakespeare and the final book has everyone back to the present time...still trying to find all the pages that belong to The Book Of Life and all the mysteries within. There are surprises in this book...Cora...the fire dragon...Jack...the son from the 1590's and so much more. And at times I have to remind myself that I am reading about a vampire and a witch...who have fallen in love...against all odds. There is such a gentle stirring romance in this book...Edward from Twilight pales compared to Matthew. But...Diana is the heart and soul of this book. This book was unbelievably beautifully written...it was tense and sad and scary and at times it took my breath away.
What made me truly enjoy this book...
The writing...the complexity of the world these characters live in...the houses, the cars, the scope of Matthew's wealth and power and the knowledge that he would give it all up for Diana.
Why you should read it, too...
If you love books like this...historical fantasies? I guess that is what this is...this series is amazing...you will love this book!
My thanks to NetGalley and Amazon for my copy of this book.
Aside from that, the story was captivating and difficult to put down. Harkness develops her characters well, and the reader finds it easy to identify with them and care for them. The book was brought to a satisfactory conclusion although there is the possibility that Harkness could continue the storyline at some point if she chooses to do so.