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The Book of Life: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy) Paperback – May 26, 2015
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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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
“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.”
Top customer reviews
Anyone who knows me knows I am not into vampires. Okay, I watched Vampire Diary for a while but it was because of the witch more than anything else. So had this not started with A Discovery of Witches, and had my cousin not recommended it, I might not have gotten into this series. And the witches sure do kick b*** in this series, so I wasn't let down.
Even writing this is giving me a sense of remorse that it is over. Gosh, what a sentimental mush brain, huh? But how else can I tell you how good this series is?
I do have a complaint about the whispersync of this book. For some reason, it would skip over the bottom of each paragraph. But that didn't stop me. I just signed onto my Audible and played the story from there and read it on my tablet. Yeah, I had to turn pages, but I hardly noticed as the story moved me forward.
I noticed that there were the slightest threads left undone. Nothing drastic, but it had me hoping there would be more to this series. Oh, and the last couple chapters felt rather anticlimactic, but I wasn't complaining. It just gave me more time with the family. This was the perfect read for the Halloween season, but it would hold its own over any other set of days too.
Do read it! I think you'll enjoy it, too!
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.
Back to present time, Diana and Matthew have become the reluctant ambassadors of change in an era where old traditions threaten to destroy their new family, an assortment of vampires, witches, demons, and humans; plus, two new “half-breed” members that are supposed to be incapable of existing.
This installment takes the concept of a family tree to bold and expanded new levels. Family members can be connected to one another in so many ways, but as blood ties begin to connect the characters of this story, it’s clear that Diana and Matthew are more powerful than anyone ever realized.
Harkness has done a stellar job of introducing a few new and unexpected twists to this already complex story, and then delivers the perfect complex wrap up at the end. This installment finally allowed both Diana and Matthew to come to terms with who they are, how powerful they are, and then let them define their relationship on their terms. I love the dynamic of their relationship. They both cling to each other for completion, but neither of them is so dependent that they can’t stand on their own and do great things.
I love that Matthew, not only embraces and accepts Diana’s role as a powerful leader and force to be reckoned with, he acknowledges to others how he’s happy to support her. They are a wonderful example of how a modern couple can be both traditionalists and still act as equals. Matthew is the head of their family, but everyone knows that Diana is more powerful and is a great leader within and outside the family. The family dynamics in this story are more than enough to start and drag out discussions for years to come.
Then there’s the cultural impact of this story. "Racial identity has no biological basis-" is the line that sums it all up.
There are so many surprises in this story; some terrifying and some delightful. I can’t put it all into words.
Recommended to fans of this series, fans of paranormal, open-minded people, and I still stand firm that this is a great couples series to the very end.