The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

July 15th, 2014 Kimberly Review 123 Comments

15th Jul
The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness
The Book of Life
by Deborah Harkness
Series: All Souls Trilogy #3
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

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.

The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness has been an absolute favorite. Matthew and Diana’s love affair and quest to find Ashmole 782 has taken us all over the globe from the past to present day. It shares a passionate romance to rock the ages and a quest filled with danger, magic and lose. I have laughed, swooned, pounded my fists and wept. As I embarked on my journey with The Book of Life, I did so hesitantly and hoped Harkness would protect my heart. I needed have worried my final visit with the Clairmont’s, and Diana Bishop was everything I hoped for and more.

One-hundred-percent spoiler free review.

Our journey in The Book of Life takes us from the Clairmont’s ancestral home Sept-Tours to the Americas, London and more. Matthew is dealing with his blood rage. Diana is continuing to learn her skills as a witch and tensions are high with the council.  Now more than ever finding Ashmole 782 and its missing pages is imperative.  Harkness weaves a tale full of suspense, tension, darkness, and danger. Then she cleverly weaves in romance, magic, and hope.  The characters surrounding our couple were unique and added depth to the story. I adored them from the villains to their closest confidants. The growth we see Diana is truly a thing to behold as she embraces who she is. Matthew is noble, and his love for her unending.

I am in awe of Deborah Harkness and her vivid imaginations. The Book of Life, as well as the rest of the series, is beautifully crafted from the imagery to the character growth and emotions. I have heard others say parts could have been omitted, but I would not trade one word, one scene, one kiss. The movie rights have been purchased, and if they are able to bring even a fraction of the magic to the big screen, I will be delighted. The novel while well over five hundred pages flew by as I slipped into this world. Attempts to savor it were hopeless as I found myself needing just one more chapter. It was a deeply satisfying journey and one I won’t soon forget.

I was quite curious as to how Harkness would solve many of the obstacles Diana, and Matthew faced and in the end I found it to be brilliant, and satisfying. I closed this with mixed emotions. I was deeply pleased with the outcome but sadden to part ways with these characters and their world.

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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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

123 Responses to “The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness”

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I adore this series Melissa, and yes while I was sad it ended the third book was wonderful!

  1. Victoria (aka Zemfirka)

    Oh, oh! How did I miss your review!? It’s lovely Kimba! And I’m happy you enjoyed the final adventure with Matthew and Diana (I did too and I will certainly miss these characters). 😉

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I am so glad you loved it too Victoria. I will miss them.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Maybe you will win and it will motivate you. Good luck Steph

  2. Vilia

    Aww. I need to get sick so I can spend a day in bed just reading this. Harkness’ books are loonnng.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Now see to me they weren’t long enough! Even when I tried to savor them 🙁 Boo

  3. Tabathia B

    Yes I am excited that the final book is here but sad to see it end

  4. Kay

    I agree with you 100% – a great ending to a great trilogy! I bought this book on my e-reader at midnight the day it came out and read it in less than 24 hours. It was captivating. I love Diana and Matthew and their world and everyone in it. I’m not sure the book was what I was expecting, but heck if I care, it rocked my world.

    I’m nervous about it being made into a movie. What if the cast is bad or they mess it up? At the same time I’m also thrilled!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      :snort: Well if you win maybe you can gift it to a friend 🙂

  5. Christine

    I’ve heard such amazing things about this series–I really want to start reading it! 🙂

  6. Pat

    Great review! I read the first two (a long time ago), and I’m looking forward to this one. I’m glad you loved it! Again, love the look of your blog!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Thanks Pat, enjoy this was a wonderful final book 🙂 So glad you love the blog!

  7. Siiri

    This cover reminds me of Shades of Earth by Beth Revis 😀 Yay for a perfect read! Can totally understand your hesitant feels prior reading. I love feels and a good character-driven story with lots of growth. I’m glad the pacing suited you too 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Thanks Siiri, this has become one of my favorite trilogies ever!

  8. Carolyn (Book Chick City)

    I keep reading such great reviews about this series. I read book one and although I enjoyed it I thought it was a bit slow and didn’t feel the need to continue the series. But now I’m jealous – everyone is loving it. I may have to go back and have a re-read and see if my views have changed over the years.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Ooo I loved it hard Carolyn. All the little details made me giddy. LOL

  9. Kara S

    Now that I’ve heard so much about this series, you better believe I’m waiting with baited breath! 😉 I’m a shameless reader-out-of-order sometimes with series…

    • kimbacaffeinate

      *blinks* No…I can do companion books out of order, but trilogies never!

  10. Jessica

    Awesome! Glad you loved it. My copy just showed up on my doorstep last night, and as soon as I reread book 2, I’ma hit this like a HAMMER. A Hammer, Kimba! Great, spoiler-free review 😉

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Nail it Jessica!!! I tried to savor it..LOL Epic FAIL!

  11. Ginny

    I have listened to the whole series on audio so you can bet that I grabbed book 3 yesterday as soon as it was available! And yes I’ve already started listening and it’s fantastic. I am so excited that movie rights have been purchased. WooHoo! I didn’t know that so I’m super psyched. 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Enjoy, I wish I could binge read a series, but I need at least a few weeks in between.

  12. Paij Slater

    I am so glad you liked it. I didn’t even know about this series until I started seeing The Book of Life around. I had to look it up, and I am so anxious to read it. I wish I could read all the things I want to read RIGHT now…hehe! Too bad I cannot read three books at a time 😉

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Enjoy Paij, it’s like Harry Potter for adults 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Oh it is wonderful Terri..a strong story and fantastic finish 🙂 enjoy!

  13. Livia

    Sounds SO good, and I’ve seen a lot of love for this read 😀 Wanna try it out so bad. Also, much love for the totally spoiler free review 😀

    • kimbacaffeinate

      You are welcome and I hope you love it Livia 🙂

  14. Lark

    Good review, Kimba! I loved it too! Oh, the feels!!! And the thrills, and the suspense… as you say, she’s an incredible writer. Like you, I’m sorry to leave the world, but wow, what a great series closer! (PS. Did you have as hard a time as I did writing a review that said what you wanted to without giving anything away?)

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yes I did Lark. First I wrote it and let it all out, then I removed deets, and kept the feels. LOL It was hard, but I didn’t want to take anyone’s experience from them. So worth it.

      • Lark

        Me too. I was going to quote one of my favorite lines (which wouldn’t actually have spoiled anything, if I was careful), but I decided, no, it’s better to let people enjoy finding the humorous bits all on their own.

        This is one of those books I’m tempted to turn right around and read again – or better yet, re-read the whole series in one three-day-long binge. I wish I could spare the time!

  15. Cyn209

    heard nothing but great things about this series!!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!!

  16. Angie

    The author is coming to my local bookstore and I am thinking of going and getting these books signed for my husband since he loves them so much!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      That would be an awesome surprise! I think it is fantastic he loves these..the history, magic, romance, time travel, was all wonderful!

  17. Tanja

    I have heard such amazing things about this series that now I cannot wait to read it. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Great review, Kim 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Enjoy Tanja, this is one of my favorite trilogies.

  18. Vikki

    This certainly sounds like a series I need to put on my ever expanding TBR pile!! Great review 🙂

  19. Lauren

    Yay!!! I’m so thrilled to hear you loved this too! I just read Ali’s review and now I can’t wait to get my copy to the beach. I always like to read her books slowly because I love the writing, so I need time to savor it. Awesome review!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Ooo this will be delightful on the beach Lauren!

  20. Melanie Simmons

    Can’t wait to start this one. I’m going to listen to it on audio. Waiting on the library to get their copy in. I’m number one on the waiting list when they come in. Great review.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Woot…enjoy. I am anxious to hear about your feelings particular the audio.

      • Melanie Simmons

        I listened to books one and two and enjoyed them. While the narrator isn’t one of my favorites, I think she does a good job and works well with this series. I pick up my copy from library tomorrow. W00t!!

        • Melanie Simmons

          Just to give you the update. I loved the audio. The ending to this series was great, though I will miss all the great characters that Harkness has created.

          • kimbacaffeinate

            Oh you are so sweet for coming back and telling me Melanie! I am totally going to start buying the audio versions.

  21. Kris

    I haven’t read this series, but it sounds like a must read! It’s exciting that the movie rights have been purchased. I hope that the movie delivers the magic that you’re hoping for. If done well, it will be amazing to watch on the big screen!!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Just the Aunt’s magical home alone will be amazing on the big screen. I like to dream who they will cast as Matthew.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Agreed, the books are massive at over 500 pages, but to me they were over much to soon

  22. Megan

    I have the first book in this series, but haven’t started it yet. Glad to hear you’ve enjoyed this series!

  23. lupdilup

    Beautiful review! I’m so excited the trilogy closed strong just as I imagined and expected. I’ll be listening to this one soon!
    Thank you Kimba!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Enjoy Loupe. How are the audios? This is a trilogy I would like to listen to

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This is wonderful Brandi, I hope one day you read them

  24. Anita Yancey

    Yes, I am waiting on The Book of Life. It sounds like an amazing read.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Enjoy is one of my favorite trilogies.

  25. Braine Talk Supe

    Thanks for the spoiler-free review because I am reading this now! I’ve procrastinated long enough, the length is intimidating my ADD tendencies. but today is a great day to read this.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Now see to me these are too short..LOL Read on and enjoy!

  26. Rita

    Wonderful review! I read the first book, and have the second on my kindle. I need to stop getting tied to reviews so I can make time to read the hefty second book. I would love to read this one! I enjoy Diana and Matthew’s unusual but satisfying relationship.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Here is my advice, continue to read your arcs, but each night read one chapter of the second book once you are hook allow yourself one or two days a week that all reading time is devoted to it. I try to do only review books during the week, and my own on Fri/Sat/Sun. It makes me a happier reader.

      • Rita_h

        Understood 🙂 Actually I only have 2 more arcs left, then I am free for however long.

        I am behind in my reviews for my own books (not arcs) due to a very busy week “in real life”. I’m considering just giving up on these, since I don’t want to review every single book I read. I just feel guilty because I read books and promise people that I will put up a review soon, and then… I don’t. Hmm, I will need to decide what to do soon. Thanks for some advice.

  27. Candace

    I started the first book but it was bad timing. I’m just struggling with reading this summer so I set it aside for the time being. I’m so glad you loved this one!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      You are still in a slump. Have you tried an audio?

  28. Jenea

    I can’t wait to catch up on this series! It sounds like it ends amazingly. Great review!

  29. Rebe

    I am excited about the Book of Life! I can’t wait to see how the trilogy ends up.

  30. Berls

    I’ve been seeing a lot about this trilogy lately – I guess since the ending is just coming out. So glad that you enjoyed the last book – a great ending really matters to the overall feel of the series/trilogy. I’m going to add the whole thing to my TBR now that it’s done and has the thumbs up 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Enjoy Berls, I want to try them on audio next go round.

  31. Laurel-Rain Snow

    I haven’t read the previous books, but I am intrigued now. And this book is not my usual genre. But it does sound like something I just might try.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      This blends romance, paranormal, and historical fiction magically!

  32. erinf1

    I’m just starting book 2 so I’m really looking forward to this newest book! Loved book 1 and I can’t wait to get caught up 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      That is awesome Erin, I am so glad you are enjoying them

  33. Carl

    I’m very much waiting for The Book of Life, like about a billion other people. No pushing or shoving you guys, we’ll all get one. Thanks

    • kimbacaffeinate

      LOL, This is one I would stand in line for Carl

  34. kindlemom1

    We are review twins today! And YAY! We both loved this one. I am so sad it is over but so happy with how it all ended too.

  35. Judy

    I have book 1 & 2 on audio and have been waiting on book 3 so that I can get started. Whenever possible, I like to “stay in the moment” with series. 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I have heard wonderful things about the audio Judy! I hope to listen to the series one day myself.

  36. Debbie Haupt

    All I can say Kimba is AMEN sister! To everything you said and more. I’ll be posting my review today too!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Sweet, I look forward to your thoughts Debbie 🙂

  37. Carrie

    Oh good! I gotta have this book. I got the other two and according to this 5 cupper, I’ve got to read it too. Great review. I have a hard time being completely spoiler free. It’s tough when I get babbling about a book. 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It was hard writing the review, but I didn’t want to spoil one moment for anyone else

  38. Mary

    I’ve seen the first and second books around and KNOW I need to read this series, especially after you say the ending is just as good. Hopefully, if it does actually reach development stage, it’ll be a great movie, too!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Ooo I have my fingers crossed on the movie development..I want to see the aunt’s home brought to life.

  39. Anne

    I have such bittersweet feelings toward this book (and I mean that in a good way!). I have grown to love the characters so much and I can’t wait to see what happens. At the same time, I’m not ready to say goodbye.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I felt the same way Anne, but Harkness was gentle with us 🙂

  40. Katherine

    I’ve been wanting to read this one since I saw the cover though I didn’t know it was a trilogy. Looks like I’ll go back to the beginning. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the 2nd but it sounds like the 1st and 3rd are strong enough to make that work!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      The second book goes back to the Elizabethan era, I personally loved all of the attention to detail, and traveling through Europe. If being able to close your eyes and see rooms, events, and places unfold before your may like it as well.

  41. Rashika

    I added this series to my TBR ages ago but put it on my might-read shelf instead after being intimidated by the length. You have me sold though. I think I am going to need to get my hands on a copy soon! 😀

    Lovely review, Kimba!!

  42. Nick

    It’s always the best feeling when you’re able to close the final book in a trilogy with a complete sense of satisfaction. It’s very rare, especially with a lot of YA trilogies that I’ve read this year, but when it happens, it makes me want to jump out of joy and delight! 🙂
    I am so pleased to hear that this was such a great read for you, Kim. I’ve seen the first book at my library, and I think I need to pick it up. I love the sound of Diana and Matthew and the author’s vivid imagination.
    Lovely review, Kim! 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      *nods* and pushes you out the door. “Go, go to the library”

  43. Melliane

    You know one day I’ll have to try book 1. I have it in French but I confess it’s big so I haven’t read it yet. Big books tend to stay there, it’s also why I haven’t tried the JR Ward series (in French they are actually quite big). But I’m glad to see it’s awesome! I’m curious. great review.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Ooo I hope you has so many wonderful elements and magic!

  44. Diamond

    Great review 🙂 glad I could read it with no spoilers. I am really in love with this series too! I love the world and Diana and Matthew are such an adorable couple. I love their story, I’m sad it’s only 3 books but glad the movie rights have been picked up! 😀 I’ll definitely watch the movie

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yeah it was important to me that I convey my feels, but let you all experience the wonder for yourselves. Thanks Diamond I hope you love it too!

  45. Trish

    I’m so glad that the final book was just as good as you hoped it would be. And now that the trilogy is complete, this series is very high on my to read list. It sounds great, I love the mix up of witchcraft and historical fiction :). Lovely review Kim.