Thursday, August 21, 2014

Review: The Book of Life

After waiting almost two years for this book, I was so excited to finally have it in my hands.  In the months preceding its arrival, I went back and reread most of the first two books.  I fell in love with Matthew and Diana all over again.

Synopsis from Amazon
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.

My Review:
I had at first worried that it would be hard to get back into the story after such a long wait but this wasn't the case at all.  I fell right back into the book and all of the original anticipation and excitement returned right away.  I read well into the night until I had no choice but to put it down and go to sleep.

Diana is a power to be reckoned with right from the beginning.  Her fierce love for her family, both old and new pushes her forward.  Her transformation as she learns more and more about her true power as a witch was fascinating to read and completely unique.  I loved the weaver threads and how they worked and was also thrilled to see Diana finally accept what she was and begin to put her fears aside.  When she fianlly sets her power free, I felt like I was in a movie theater and couldn't take my eyes off the page.

The plots were all equally engaging.  I prayed for our characters to find a cure for blood rage, that the babies to be born safe and healthy, and for Matthew to successfully create his family, and of course, for evil Benjamin to be destroyed. I have to say that Benjamin was the cruelest of villains and I had chills when reading the scenes where he was committing his crimes.  He was truly frightening.  I could feel the family's fear as if it were real and dreaded the moment when he would do more than just threaten to re-enter their lives. Creating such an effective villain is tough so hats off to Deborah Harkness for making such a dark creature.

The setting was just gorgeous no matter where our characters traveled.  Sept-Tours, London, the college campus, the library.  Every place was described perfectly, with just the right amount of detail.  It makes the reader want to travel to these destinations as well.  I wanted nothing more than to step right into Sept-Tours and experience the towers and the great rooms within, to see the ghosts, and tour the halls.

The characters and their bonds with one another are what make this story so engaging. Characters from all of the books are present and the main group are all loyal friends or family to Matthew and Diana.  I was thrilled to see a few characters from Shadow of Night who I thought were gone for good.  To see such a diverse group of family and friends go to such lengths to protect one another from harm, no matter if they were human or creature, was lovely.

This book was just as bewitching as the first two and if I had the time, I would have read it in one day. Although I am sad to see it be over, I know that I will be re-reading these books in the future and sharing them with my kids once they are old enough to read them.  The whole series gets 5+ stars from me.  Thank you to Deborah Harkness for such great stories. I can't wait to see what you write for us next.



  1. I haven't read any of the books in this series, though book one has been on my list FOREVER. After such a great review, I guess I should move it up the list... Thanks for sharing :)

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

  2. I have been following this series since a Discovery of Witches was first released. I haven't read TBOL yet, but I'm hoping to buy it soon. I'm so glad that you liked it and that it held on to its magic. I loved Matthew and Dianna and I was so hoping their story wouldn't fizzle out. I'm so excited to read this book, the ending in Shadow of Night floored me.
    Monique @ Mo_Books