The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
A Novel (All Souls Trilogy)

78%

39 Critic Reviews

While The Book of Life was not the A-level read for me that A Discovery of Witches was, it was still much better than Shadow of Night.
-All About Romance

Synopsis

The highly anticipated finale to the #1 New York Times bestselling trilogy that began with A Discovery of Witches
 
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.
 
With more than one million copies sold in the United States and appearing in thirty-eight foreign editions, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night have landed on all of the major bestseller lists and garnered rave reviews from countless publications. Eagerly awaited by Harkness’s legion of fans, The Book of Life brings this superbly written series to a deeply satisfying close.
 

About Deborah Harkness

See more books from this Author
DEBORAH HARKNESS is a professor of history at the University of Southern California. She has received Fulbright, Guggenheim, and National Humanities Center fellowships, and her most recent scholarly work is The Jewel House: Elizabethan London and the Scientific Revolution. She also writes an award-winning wine blog, goodwineunder20.blogspot.com.
 
Published July 15, 2014 by Penguin Books. 564 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Horror. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Aug 03 2014
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for The Book of Life
All: 39 | Positive: 35 | Negative: 4

Kirkus

Above average
on May 17 2014

There are few surprises, but it’s still satisfying to travel with these characters toward their more-than-well-earned happy ending.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on May 19 2014

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.

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NPR

Below average
Reviewed by Genevieve Valentine on Jul 17 2014

Harkness' style feels strained here, perhaps as a result of trying to scale a mountain of plot (her nonfiction has an effortless confidence that's reflected in some of Shadow of Night's most charming moments, but is largely absent here).

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LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by Paula L. Woods on Jul 17 2014

"The Book of Life," like its predecessors, is ultimately grounded in the abiding love of two creatures the world tries to keep apart...

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All About Romance

Above average
Reviewed by Heather Stanton on May 01 2014

While The Book of Life was not the A-level read for me that A Discovery of Witches was, it was still much better than Shadow of Night.

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The Bookbag

Good
Reviewed by Ani Johnson on Jul 01 2014

Nearly all the regular characters we've grown to love or hiss at throughout the series are here at the end including a couple of delightful surprise reappearances...This is definitely an exemplary end to an exemplary series.

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The Boston Globe

Above average
Reviewed by DANEET STEFFENS on Jul 22 2014

My only gripe is that the narrative becomes disconcertingly jumpy toward the end. Despite that, there’s clarity and resolve in the denouement, as well as a perceptive acknowledgment of the real secret to survival.

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Watermark Books And Cafe

Good
Reviewed by Wendy Ward on Oct 03 2014

There's plenty of action, suspense, an awesome plot and endearing characters to keep you turning the pages and reading well into the night!

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Curious Book Fans

Good
Reviewed by collingwood21 on Jul 24 2014

I think I enjoyed Shadow of Night more than this book, but then I don’t hide the fact that I am a sucker for a good time travel story. The Book of Life was worth waiting for...

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Bookshelf Bombshells

Above average
Reviewed by Lacy LeBlanc on Aug 04 2014

You definitely won’t be intellectually stimulated, but as long as you have a drink in your hand and some waves in front of you, you won’t be too disappointed.

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SF Crow's Nest

Above average
Reviewed by SarahBruch on Aug 21 2014

Overall, I really did enjoy this book but felt that the ending was a bit anti-climatic, there didn’t seem to be a massive battle or huge revelation as things were revealed throughout the book. This is not to say the book wasn’t good, because it really really was good but don’t expect a massive explosive ending.

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The Young Folks

Good
Reviewed by Gabrielle Bondi on Jul 15 2014

While the adventure is fun and thrilling, I realized that I read this book and trilogy because I cared deeply for these characters, which makes The Book of Life all the more satisfying and bittersweet.

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That's What She Read

Excellent
Reviewed by Michelle on Jul 17 2014

The Book of Life is the type of series finales about which fans dream. It has everything readers want plus more than they could imagine. Ms. Harkness does a superb job answering remaining questions and providing as much Matthew and Diana as fans need.

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http://caffeinatedbookreviewer.com

Good
Reviewed by kimbacaffeinate on Jul 15 2014

Brilliantly crafted a Book of Life was the perfect ending to this breathtaking trilogy. Fans of witchcraft, romance, history, and suspense will soon find themselves lost within the pages of the All Souls Trilogy.

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http://skrishnasbooks.com

Good
Reviewed by Swapna Krishna on Jul 14 2014

The story of The Book of Life is satisfying, bringing the overall series to a conclusion, but it also stands on its own two feet. This book is not just about tying up loose ends; Diana has her own adventures, and it’s clear that her work is just beginning.

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Jenn's Bookshelves

Good
Reviewed by Jenn on Jul 16 2014

Harkness doesn’t just throw together answers to questions and tie together story lines that have weaved through each of the books. She reveals the answers slowly, providing truly intellectual and well thought out answers to any unanswered questions.

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Reading Lark

Good
Reviewed by Nicole on Jul 17 2014

The Book of Life doesn’t just tie up the loose ends of the first two books in the series, it introduces new characters and plot lines of its own.

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Beth Fish Reads

Good
Reviewed by Beth F on Jul 14 2014

I love Deb Harkness's world with its blend of science and fantasy, which makes me want to believe that more than just humans walk among us. The Book of Life is a great ending to one of my favorite trilogies.

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http://twimom227.com

Good
Reviewed by VampBard on Jul 23 2014

I enjoyed watching further character development, and the way the characters interacted with every single one having a purpose.

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Popcorn Reads

Good
Reviewed by MK on Jul 15 2014

Deborah Harkness is a masterful author and The Book of Life just reinforces that for me...I'm dying to see where her imagination takes her next.

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Book Chick City

Excellent
Reviewed by Claire Maycock on Sep 24 2014

Although this trilogy can be challenging at times, taking in a large cast of characters, some complex scientific ideas and multiple time periods, it thoroughly repays the reader’s careful attention.

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Rated Reads

Above average
Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim on Oct 03 2014

Despite my minor feeling of being unsettled, I am still mostly happy with the series. Definitely recommended reading.

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Kathy Takes on Books

Good
Reviewed by Kathy Davie on Sep 23 2014

I like how Harkness ended this. It’s ambiguous enough that it could truly be the end, and yet, she’s included all sorts of possibilities for the future.

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Drey's Library

Good
Reviewed by Drey on Jul 14 2014

I loved the intricate story Harkness has woven, with its mystery, romance, time-travel, otherworldly denizens, and character personalities.

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No Charge Bookbunch

Above average
on Jul 29 2014

If you have read the first two books, you will appreciate how cleverly Harkness uses history and ancestry to bind the story.

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At Home With Books

Good
Reviewed by Alyce on Jul 21 2014

Her stories prick my imagination, and I could spend hours contemplating possible character histories and futures, and that is one reason why I like her books so much.

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The Lostent Wife

Above average
Reviewed by Lydia on Jul 21 2014

Yes, there were moments still when things were pushed a little far, and the relationships were a bit strained (so much testosterone between Gallowglass and Matthew) beyond the borders of reality, but overall, THE BOOK OF LIFE was a fun, satisfying read that kept me up until the wee hours of the morning.

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The Novel Life

Above average
Reviewed by Stacy on Jul 15 2014

If you’ve been reading the All Souls Trilogy series I can safely say you will thoroughly enjoy The Book of Life. If you haven’t started on this series, why the heck not?!?

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Karan Brooks

Good
on Aug 06 2014

While I found the initial chapters a little confusing (often the way between books in a trilogy) once Harkness hits her stride, so does the reader and there were parts of the book I couldn’t put down.

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I Was Angelized 1st

Above average
Reviewed by Angelized1st on Jul 30 2014

Harkness did a wonderful job designing the mystery of the manuscript and Diana and Matthew’s connection to it. In fact, she did such a good job that it seems obvious that Harkness must have planned out the entire story arc before ever writing the first word in the first book. All of the pieces connected well, and no loose ends were left dangling.

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Feathered Quill Book Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Feathered Quill Book Reviews on Jul 07 2014

Ancestral locales are back, teams are built, passion is raised ten-fold, and the cast of characters tie things up in an exciting conclusion!

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Life by Candlelight

Good
on Jul 15 2014

If you are looking for a highly entertaining vacation read, these books are for you! BOOK OF LIFE comes in at over 570 pages and I finished it in two days. I couldn't put it down! Very fun books!

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Between The Pages

Good
Reviewed by Daisy on Jul 21 2014

I loved seeing it all come together, though at times I was kinda wondering if maybe Diana wasn't a bit too good to be true, BUT I could put that aside and just enjoy the book, so it was all good.

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Notes of Life

Good
Reviewed by Glyn Blythman on Jul 15 2014

There is sadness, pain, separation (both temporary and permanent), truth, revelation, terror and ultimately an ending which in some ways is also a beginning. A beautifully written, fitting end to a wonderful trilogy.

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A Fantastical Librarian

Good
Reviewed by Mieneke on Jul 24 2014

I adored The Book of Life and I really and truly hope this is not the last we’ve seen of Diana, Matthew and their family. And Harkness seems to have allowed an opening for her to return to this world, even if this book wraps up the story arc of the All Souls trilogy quite well.

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whatchYAreading

Above average
Reviewed by Caitlin on Jul 15 2014

Other than feeling that one important point wasn’t really addressed in this book, though I can’t really say which without spoiling things, but other than I was very happy with how all the loose threads came together to a close in this one.

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Rex Robot Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Stefany on Jul 17 2014

All in all I really really enjoyed the book. It had some twist, turns, exciting moment, shockers and DUH moments. For the most part, it was what we were waiting for, but I’m really hoping that some of the minor loose ends get a follow up book.

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http://thewindypages.com

Above average
on Jun 30 2014

The ending is satisfying, the story fulfilling. I am not shy to say I do have a horrible crush on Matthew, vampire, reader, wine lover. Honestly, I’ve never gotten a great feel for Diana...

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She-Wolf Reads

Good
Reviewed by Lee on Jul 16 2014

Harkness leaves his story, and a few other small details, open enough for me to hope (pray?) for another book. The Book of Life is a fantastic conclusion to a wonderful trilogy.

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Reader Rating for The Book of Life
89%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 6557 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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Breeann Tatham 23 Sep 2014

The trilogy is amazing! If you love the supernatural, romance, history, and mystery, then this is a story you'll enjoy! One of my favorites!

Lauren Hortum

Lauren Hortum 7 Apr 2015

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Breeann Tatham 23 Sep 2014

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