The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness | Book Review

The Book of Life (All Souls #3) by Deborah Harkness published 1 July 2014

Bringing the magic and suspense of the All Souls Trilogy to a deeply satisfying conclusion, this highly anticipated finale went straight to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. In The Book of Life, Diana and Matthew time-travel back from Elizabethan London to make a dramatic return to the present—facing new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home, Sept-Tours, they reunite with the beloved 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.

How was it?

I have a strange relationship with the All Souls Trilogy, the first book A Discovery of Witches could have easily finish in my DNF list if it wasn’t for the television adaptation. My advice for that one is “put down the book and pick up the remote (first).” As I’m writing this, Shadow of Night, which I guess season two of the show will be based on has yet to come out, however my experience with the book was smoother despite the same problems. I like it enough that jumping into this third one did not seem so daunting – I did have to re-watch season one of ADOW to read book two.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives, it is the one that’s most adaptable to change.”


In Shadow of Night, I half suspected that I zombie read*, spoiler alert, the passage where Emily died but I was relieved to see that I didn’t. The way she died gave me an idea of what the congregation found out about what Matthew and Diana were doing, so that created some tension and angst, but it was all in my head. I created that tension and that angst because nothing came of it. The killer learned nothing.

My God, the lies Matthew and Diana tell makes no sense most of time, they appear to exist to add more words on the page. 

There are so many inconsistencies in this book and in the series as a whole, that it’s sometimes difficult to look past them. The author seems to go with what’s the most convenient with no regard with what was established before. At some point I really started to question if my love of the show was enough to suffer these books. 

A bad series that I like? My feelings for this series and this book are confusing. I wouldn’t really recommend it but I like it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

*Zombie reading: reading something without really processing any of the words on the page. One often wonders how they got a particular section, with little to no recollection of what came before, after zombie reading.

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