Book Review: The Book of Life

the book of lifeI waited and waited and waited. And then the book was published. And then I waited and waited for my copy to come in from the library. And when it finally did, I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t pick it up for a week. Then I picked it up and couldn’t put it down for nearly 3 days. Then once I got to the final few chapters, I took a pause for some schoolwork and classes, and then I finally (finally!) finished it Wednesday night. And I haven’t decided 100% how I feel about it yet. I guess that will come in the ratings.

In case you aren’t aware, The Book of Life is the third book in the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. Think of it like Harry Potter mixed with Twilight for adults mixed with history and blood. That’s basically the relative sum of the series. This book is the culmination of everything that we have been waiting for. We are re-introduced to some wonderful characters like Chris and Miriam plus a couple of surprises that were definitely pleasant. And we get to meet new characters which is always fun!

I’m going to be as vague as I can be but if you haven’t read the other two books, I recommend that you stop reading this review immediately.

Diana and Matthew are married and mated and come back with a pregnancy and a bounty on their heads. It’s all great fun. Until we learn the devastating circumstances of Emily’s death (not a spoiler! we knew she died at the end of the last book). And understand what a blood bond with Phillipe really means to the rest of the family and for Diana’s future.

This book offered some unique third person writing intertwined with Diana’s main point of view. It was a definite twist and suited the story quite well. It didn’t feel forced like some other books I could mention. The writing was a little less than amazing this round thru. I found myself rereading certain passages and still not understanding. Some of the interactions with the goddess were a bit hazy and a few events at the end. And there was a lot of scientific talk which went a bit over my head.

I did, however, enjoy the colorful cast that was welcomed back into my brain with open arms, even if I had to ask for some tips on remembering who exactly they were. We see new sides to many of them and histories that are revealed become very tangled and intricate. People are involved that you wouldn’t suspect.

There were lots of minor plots happening alongside the major one and it got a bit tangled or lackluster in some places as the glamor wore off in places. The love story wasn’t as involved as the other books and while there were some emotional moments, they weren’t overwhelming. Some points, I just drifted along in the words and in others, I held the book so tight, I was afraid it might break.

This book is the summation of many events including dealing with the Congregation, why Diana and Matthew are able to conceive children together, and a past that comes haunting. If you enjoyed the first two, obviously you will read this one and I recommend it. Although the novel didn’t tie up as many threads as I expected it to and it sort of lead in a “maybe there will be another” direction at the end, in my opinion.

Goodreads rating: 4 stars

My personal rating: 87

  • Writing style – 7
  • Plot – 9
  • Dialogue – 9
  • Personality of Main Character(s) – 10
  • Love story – 8
  • Invokes emotion – 8
  • Synopsis accuracy – 10
  • Consistent level of interest – 8
  • Stays on topic – 9
  • Accuracy of genre/genre blending – 9
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One comment

  1. I had a lot of the same thoughts, I enjoyed it, but it just wasn’t up to par with the first two. And I hated that Gallowglass and Diana thing, he’s one of my favorites and I just thought it wasn’t necessary.

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