"The Book of Life" Book Review

Updated on September 15, 2018
Victoria C Cook profile image

Reading is one of many passions Victoria has. She is always one of the first people her friends ask when in need of a good book!

Spoiler Alert!

This is a review on the third novel in the "All Souls Trilogy" by Deborah Harkness if you have not read the first book, "A Discovery of Witches" or the second "Shadow of Night" please click on the titles listed to be taken to my previous reviews on each novel.

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. Its the one that is most adaptable to change.

— Deborah Harkness

"The Book of Life" Synopsis

Diana and Matthew have now returned home from Elizabethan London to continue on the warpath that they left behind, but now things have become more urgent. Diana is pregnant with Matthews children and the quest for Ashmole 782 is more president than ever. Meanwhile, the pair is juggling an insurmountable amount of trouble while trying to find the cure for blood rage and exterminating one of Matthews demons from the past. No matter where they go, trouble finds them. All they want is to eventually co-exist as a somewhat normal family but first, they must solve what seems to be an endless cycle of problems.

Sometimes we just have to throw caution to the wind and trust the people we love.

— Deborah Harkness

What I Loved About This Book

  • Everything has a purpose. In my previous article, I was a little peeved about a decision Diana's character had made. I had genuinely hoped that Harkness would later give a reason for why she made this choice... and boy did she. In the masterfully developed tail, everything has a reason and somehow someway comes full circle. Even small plot points from the first novel come into full perspective in the final book that I didn't even think about until it was mentioned. What's also wonderful about her tying up the loose ends in her final book is it's not done lazily, it appears thoroughly planned and brilliantly executed!
  • It's funny. Harkness never fails to lighten the mood with either some witty banter amongst characters or one of Diana's moments of human-like pondering. The humor in her "All Souls Trilogy" keeps the reader engaged and comfortable. It also enhances the reader's ability to fall into the story and not want to crawl out until the book is done. In these moments the characters feel the most real, definitely enhancing my connection to the story.

The thought of what vampire blood might do to a mosquito population was deeply disturbing.

— Deborah Harkness
  • Exciting. When things in this book become intense, you will be sitting at the edge of your seat flipping through the pages as fast as you can humanly read for the only option is to know what happens next. No exceptions.
  • The End. By this point as the reader, you have now dedicated approximately 1400 pages of reading to your life, the end of this book better be good! Well, it was. The last 100 pages of "The Book of Life" were mesmerizing.
  • Intense conflict
  • Heart-wrenching moments
  • Love
  • Family

The biggest pro in the ending for me though the fluffy family stuff was nice, was how it wasn't a complete happily ever after kind of end. Something happens that leaves Diana feeling uneasy and that made a HUGE impact on the conclusion of the story. As well leaving it open-ended for a possible continuation to Matthew and Diana's love story.

2 Problems I Had With This Book

  1. Dry moments. This was the most boring of the three novels. In "A Discovery of Witches" what originally got me hooked was how much a roller coaster ride the drama was. Just when you thought it was getting slow boom something riveting happens. The second book "Shadow of Night" was much the same but I was much more enveloped in the characters and their development it never felt boring and still had those moments of nail-biting excitement you can't put the book down. The third however almost lost that consistency towards the middle of the book. It was not long but many of the key elements that make these stories so enjoyable did get lost in the shuffle of Harkness's need to over-describe.
  2. A poorly tied loose end. One of the major plot points in this series is what secrets does the manuscript Ashmole 782 hold. This is the first question in the entire trilogy and honestly though the conclusion to the answer is ok, it was also a bit anticlimactic. So yes we do find out some information about the mysterious secrets but it left a little to be desired.

4 stars for "The Book of Life" by Deborah Harkness

Get Your Copy Here

The Book of Life (All Souls)
The Book of Life (All Souls)

A story filled to the brim with love, war, and mystery. Don't miss out on one of the best romances of this generation!


The "All Souls Trilogy" is by far one of my favorite series I've read. Great for the new adult reader, its a story of love and desire, fear and fate, witches and vampires that leaves every checkmark on the fantasy book lovers list marked. I highly recommend "The Book of Life" and all its siblings.

It's Becoming a Tv Series

This amazing trilogy is coming to your big screen, check out the video below for a preview of what to expect!

Questions & Answers


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      • aliveandfree profile image

        Sarah Cook 

        16 months ago from Wasaga Beach

        I want to read these books, and I can’t wait for the series!


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