- Non Fiction
The Book of Life: (All Souls 3) by Deborah Harkness
List Price: £16.99
Hardcover: 592 Pages.
Published: 15 July 2014 by Headline
The exciting third installment in the ALL SOULS trilogy following the No.1 internationally bestselling A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES and SHADOW OF NIGHT
A satisfying conclusion to the trilogy
The first thing to say to any potential reader is that this book will be impenetrable for anyone who has not read the first two - it is clearly the third part of a three volume serial and knowledge of what has gone before is vital to understand this book in its fullness. I had actually not read the first two for some time and I was rather floundering in places - an up to date knowledge is necessary. Having said that I can also say that this is a worthy final volume in this series all of which I have enjoyed immensely.
The author elaborates on some of the plot themes from the first two books and reintroduces some of the characters but she also tells a new story in this book as well as rounding off the whole trilogy. This is really a thriller as Diana and Matthew try to find their enemy before he can do them damage as well as prove to the supernatural community that much of what they
have thought about their history is wrong and is stifling their future. Woven in with this is Diana and Matthew's story as they return from their time in the past, deal with Diana's pregnancy and try to save the lives of their friends.
The author doesn't make many wrong moves in this complex and engrossing story. It starts slowly but stick with it as it begins to pick up pace to a very satisfying conclusion. Lots of threads are woven through the story and there are many themes here - if you enjoyed the way in which the first two books are written you will love this too. This is the type of book that lives with you after you have finished it and I know that I still have some questions about some details which means that I want to reread all three books as soon as possible. The only thing about the book that I found disappointing was the relegation of the women to second place in the story - even when women have a major role in the story they are fighting for the life or status of a man - there are very few instances that I can remember when two women even talk to one another and when they do it is usually about men ! If you can live with this - and on reflection I can - then this is a book which has much to offer the reader.
I highly recommend this book and this trilogy for those who like complex plotted and thoughtful fiction which also engages and entertains. I thank the publishers for letting me have a free copy of this book via NetGalley in return for a review.
by Debra Found
Outstanding Conclusion to a Brilliant Series
This is the third and final book in the "All Souls" trilogy which began with "A Discovery of Witches" and continued with "The School of Night".
I fell in love with this series right from the first few pages & have enjoyed the first two books on several occasions since they were released. I was slightly apprehensive about the third book - would the standard continue or would it prove to be a disappointing ending? The high standard was definitely continued in this book and it was a real joy to read. Warning!!! You will not want to put it down.
The story continues after Matthew and Diana arrive back in the present day having spent the previous 8 months (and entire book) in Elizabethan England. The author does not give us a blow by blow account of what went on whilst they were away but highlights those things we need to know. The action starts right from the first page and continues throughout. Intermingled we have the historical threads which have been so important as well as the scientific research into the genes of Vampires and Witches. This is a clever book which provides you with a good meaty, action packed plot whilst at the same time providing sound evidence to back it up. This isn't a book where you need to suspend belief, it is all too believable!
Most of the old friends are back and their characters develop throughout the book.The ongoing family loyalty situation with Baldwin really allows the reader to try to understand the different pulls of loyalty and actually liking someone! Matthew continues to struggle with his dark side of blood rage and over protectiveness of Diana whilst Diana continues to grow as a witch to reach her potential. Marcus is back with his love interest, Phoebe, who objects to Holbein's in the bathroom and adds several light moments. Ysabeau is changing as a person as is Sarah. Fernando is another wonderful new character - a gay vampire.......
Before I read this book I went back and re-read the first two in the series. As all three are quite sizeable it took up my reading time for a while especially as I struggled to put any of them down! Bringing the details of the first two books freshly into my mind before tackling the third was an excellent idea and I highly recommend it. There are lots of small comments and events which didn't seem that important at the time which slot into place in the third book. These aren't necessarily vital to the whole story but are useful to enable the reader to get the best from the book. I was very grateful that I had spent the time reacquainting myself with the series before reading this third book. If you haven't read the first two books at all don't even contemplate reading this, it just won't make sense - go back and start with "A Discovery of Witches" before progressing through the series.
This trilogy has been wonderful since the very first page and continued to be until the very end. It is an exceptionally well written series with great plots and fantastic characters. I am feeling their loss now that I have finished the book! I highly recommend this series.