One Book – Two Views: The Book of Life

By Deborah Harkness

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy, #3)

Reviewed By Shotanagini & Cocktail Phoenix

Shotanagini Review:

I loved, loved, loved the First Book, Discovery of Witches. I thought the Second Book, Shawdow Of The Night was just a filler…leading us to The Book of Life.
The Book of Life was just…okay.
We had some really awesome moments….and some really “could have done without” moments.

Starting out…It was sort of confusing, as I had read The Shadow of the Night over a year ago, and I really didnt remeber where we left off…took me a handful of pages before I realised we were in the future and not the past.
More secrets are put out in the open, one being that Matthew was the Family assassin. Which in my opnion, didnt really even factor into the story.

To to Major part of the Story:
Diana is pregnant with vampire/witch babies, Benjamin, Matthews “child” is trying to figure out how, and if he can make them himself…by any means necessary. The hunt is still on for The Book of Life, The Vampires are trying to find the “cure” to the Blood Rage…and a mess of other assorted things.(Too much going on)

My favorite parts of the Book were infact the parts about the Book of Life. I loved the Hunt, and the Mysteries, and the effect once all tbe pieces came together. Diana merging with the Book Itself, and becoming the Book of Life, taking in all its power and secrets. This book should have centered more on this aspect, as this is what drew me in on The Discovery of Witches.

Other Aspects:
The Vampre/witch babies were intriguing, but we didnt get to learn to much about them…maybe the author will incorporate them in some latter Books.

Benjamin was crazy…but he IS a vampire, what did we expect. He has the power to kill, and he uses it.

Okay, it was a little sicking with the part when Matthew and Diana has to separate for a few months in order to get everything done…its like they were stuck together, and they didnt want to let each other out of their sights, it was killing them to be separated??Real life, when do you get to see your spouse 24/7. It happens all the time, and none of us plays the “woe is me” part.

Special Note:
Gallowglass is WAAAYYYYY better then Matthew, Diane…Maybe you should wake up and smell the roses!

Cocktail Phoenix Review:

The first book took me by surprise. “A Discovery of Witches” sounded like the kind of book I’d enjoy, a bit of paranormal with a little mystery and a touch of historical, and it did not disappoint. On the contrary, I enjoyed the book a lot and regularly found myself putting off doing other things in favour of reading.
The second book, “Shadow of Night”, retains the attention to detail and the amazing descriptions that put the reader right there with the characters. Nevertheless, it had some slower moments that could have been omitted and the characters seemed to get a little far off track.

Starting “The Book of Life”, I was a little thrown at first. It had been a year since I read the second book in the trilogy and the third book picks up right where the other one left off without preamble. It took me a while to get back into the swing of things and remember who all the characters were.

The Plot
The hunt for the missing pages of Ashmole 782 as well as the book itself are still on and take up a far larger part in this book than in the second one. It’s the mystery of the book and the scientific research in the genes of the various characters that pulled me along for the most part, making me curious as to what it all meant.

Then of course, there was the hunt for Benjamin, who was a well kept, if somewhat open (for those who knew where to look), secret in the de Clairmont family. Other secrets may well have been left unsaid as they didn’t play as important a role.

The intrigue surrounding the book of life is quite interesting, especially the resolution. I’m still unsure of what to exactly make of it but it seems fitting that it should have happened that way.

A lot of the story remained unsaid however, paving a potential path to a future book regarding the Bishop-Clairmont family.

The Characters
Diana and Matthew remain consistent on who they are and who they are developing into and it’s interesting to follow their struggles with whatever they have to face. Even more interesting though are Gallowglass and Jack. I liked both those characters quite a lot in the second book and I was happy to see both of them returning in this one, though I did not think I’d encounter Jack again.

The rest of the Clairmont family are likeable to various degrees. While I wanted to slam Baldwin repeatedly into a wall, he had good reasons for his behaviour, for the most part anyway, and he simply did what vampires have been doing for centuries, namely he did what was necessary for the family. And truth be told, I do quite like him despite everything.

The twins were an interesting addition. The outcome of what they were was predictable of course, but it was still an interesting part of the plot. And there’s definitely a lot of potential for more stories to come.

There were quite a few bits that could have been skipped and Diana and Matthew were sometimes a little extreme with their separation anxiety. Possessiveness aside, vampiric instincts aside, it was a little over the top sometimes. Especially considering how Gallowglass’ feelings were almost completely skipped over and the guy has to be suffering a lot in the last 400 or so years. Jack, too, has suffered a lot, not only because he has been waiting for Diana and Matthew to return for 12 years but because of everything Benjamin has done to him afterwards. And it is largely brushed off as well with the exception of a few interesting scenes between him and Matthew. Granted, the trilogy wasn’t about those characters but with all the other details that have been included, it would have been nice to see a little more about them – or maybe that’s just because I really like those two.

A Side by Side Glance of the Series:

Shotanagani’s Average for the All Souls Trilogy


Cocktail Phoenix’s Average fro the All Souls Trilogy


A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)

Shotanagani rated 4.5 stars, Cocktail Phoenix rated 4.5 stars

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy, #2)

Shotanagini rated 3 stars, Cocktail Phoenix rated 3.5 stars

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy, #3)

Shotanagini rated 3 stars, Cocktail Phoenix rated 4 stars


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