The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

I’m a sucker for finishing book series, especially after reading most of it. Having read/listened to A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night, it was no doubt in my mind to continue on to The Book of Life. It’s the final instalment of the All Souls trilogy.

We find our newly wed witch, Diana Bishop, and vampire, Matthew Clairmont, back in 21st century after their romp in the 16th. They find some things have happened such as one of their loved ones having died while they were away. Also, the many things that changed due to their actions in the past are introduced to us, readers.

Driven by what they found out about Ashmol 728, they work with old allies (some so old they come from the 16th century, largely because they are vampires) and some surprising new ones.

Back track a bit, in Shadow of Night, Diana get pregnant, lost the fetus, and got pregnant again. In this book, her pregnancy is going much better. It’s probably one of the few things going well with all the things happening. Also, in the previous book, we were introduced to Matthew’s vamp-child who inherited his blood rage affliction. He turns out to still be alive which readers can sense very early on before the big reveal.


Of the three books, I had difficulty finishing this one. The two are behaving like irrational teenagers. While Matthew has this blood rage thing to excuse his emotionally driven behavior, Diana doesn’t have an excuse. She’s an adult for heaven’s sake and she’s been made aware of how vampires behave the entire Book Two that getting all worked up about them. It was frustrating to witness! I had to pause the audiobook so many times.

Truth be told, I’d tell people to skip this. But if you want to know what happens to the star-crossed lovers, how they deal with the covenant, and what the truth behind Ashmol 728 is; you’ll have to work through this book to find out. You can find a summary in a wiki page somewhere (hint hint) if you really want to save yourself and your time.

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Leon Parenzo