Sunday, September 14, 2014

Review: The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3)

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 Book of Life, by Deborah Harkness, is the final book in the All Souls Trilogy. Historian and weaver witch, Diana Bishop, and vampire scientist and de Clermont family assassin, Matthew Clairmont, return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Sept-Tours (France), they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches with one significant exception. In addition, Diana returns to the present as a pregnant mother-to-be with twins! The search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency as new threats emerge. The safety of the twins is of utmost importance as Diana and Matthew struggle with ancient traditions and a dangerous nemesis from the past who desires nothing but revenge and destruction.

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.

I really enjoyed the All Souls Trilogy series. Although I was never a fan of British literature, Deborah Harkness brilliantly combined old prose and modern language that introduced readers to the world of Diana Bishop, a spellbound witch-turned-professor who stumbles upon the world of the supernatural, time-travel, and eventually her true calling. Although her stubborn personality sometimes annoyed me to the point of headaches, I could sympathize with her position. She was walking down a path with risks and unknown future. Readers will be overjoyed and surprised to learn the secrets of Ashmole 782 (I would have never imagined the outcome to turn out the way it did but it fits the plot). There is a strong theme of interracial marriage throughout the book and how people prevented such relationships due to fear and ignorance of the unknown. A basic knowledge of early modern European history (roughly 1500s to 1800s), especially the Elizabethan English era, is also highly recommended to understand the jargon and appreciate the symbolism throughout the books. Finally, I hope that this book trilogy becomes a film franchise. As long as it stays true to the book, it has the pieces to become a successful hit like The Hunger Games and Divergent. For more information about the All Souls Trilogy, please visit Harkness' official website. I cannot overstate this enough -- this is a fantastic series and start from where it all began in A Discovery of Witches!

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