Review: The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness


The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3)

by 

561 pages

Published July 15th 2014 by Viking Adult 


After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the 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. 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 remember how much I enjoyed the first two books in the All Souls Trilogy and I feel sad. The long detailed descriptions charmed me in a way I cannot describe and I loved the general slow pace of the story. It is rather confusing how the same things I loved about the rest of the series made absolutely annoyed with it conclusion.

Reading a massive book of more than 500 pages requires devotion. For you to be engaged in the story, it has to make you feel that it is worth finding out what happens. However, the majority of this book seemed rather pointless to me. The answers I had eagerly waited for were unsatisfactory and sometimes even not given. It saddens me to admit the only reason I made the decision of finishing the book was my stubborness. I simply did not wish to abandon a trilogy when I had passed a quarter of its final book. 

Since two years had passed since the publication of the previous volume, I was rightfully afraid I would not remember the characters and plot. This was not the case. All the important characters and key story elements were still there in my head, waiting to be triggered by reading page after page. But I must say the author didn't make it easy for me. So many new characters were introduced and old minor characters re-entered the story that confused me to no end. 

All the action takes place in the last 10% of the book. The rest of it? Boring conversations between characters, irrational decisions being made, dragging the story to the point where I just didn't care anymore. 

What probably saved a little of the book was the author's obvious writing talent. Everything sounds wonderful, the book is very well written in terms of language use... but it's just that. Like the delicious-looking fake cakes you see in sweetshops - they are not edible so rather pointless when your mouth is watering.

Some people seem to have enjoyed it, so if you want to know how the story ends, you should give it a try.

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