The highly anticipated finale to the number-one New York Times best-selling trilogy that began with A Discovery of Witches.
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.
With more than one million copies sold in the United States and appearing in 38 foreign editions and translations, A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night have landed on all of the major best seller 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.
©2014 Deborah Harkness (P)2014 Penguin Audio
Unlike the other books that, although wonderful, are a little slow. This book cooks the entire way. A fantastic ending to an incredible journey.
I really wanted to be able to give this book at least three stars. Having read the first two books, I knew the entire premise ( vampires and witches, genetics, oh my!) was ridiculous and the writing was bad. I hoped to be entertained and amused by likable characters in unlikely settings. It did make me laugh, sometimes at the author’s deliberate humor, but mostly at how bad it was. It was funny. That would usually be enough for me to give a book three stars.
If the book might rate 3 stars for its comedic value, two things knock it back. The audio performance was dreadful. This book was the (hopefully) last book in a series. Ikeda did a great job of creating characters in the first two books. Her voicing went a long way to making those books palatable. What possible reason could there be to change the voices of major characters in the last book? Not only did the voices change, she made two major characters indistinguishable. It was like attending a play and having the lead actor substituted, without reason, by a badly prepared understudy, after the first act.
And, yes, I did know that the marital tribulations of the witch Diana and the vampire Matthew, were a thinly disguised promotion for marriage equality. Not a problem, I’m very much a supporter. But, I dislike propaganda and I hate being preached at. This book had plenty of both. It became tedious.
If you know you are writing a trilogy, why would you not wrap up your story. Instead we were introduced to new characters, new relationships were introduced, and the majority of them were left hanging. What happens with Miriam and Chris? Who and when will turn Pheobe? Will Diana live forever with her new found powers? What happens with Matthews siblings that they keep mentioning but don't always introduce? How was the first vampire made? If Ashmole was made of creature skin and hair, how did new pages appear when Diana was reading it, and who's skin was it? Did Aunt Sarah hook up with Nathaniel's mom? Will Matthew watch his children grow old and die, continuing his immortal torture of losing those he loves? Will he kill himself after they are all gone? The list goes on and on.
Absolutely! Have been fascinated with this trilogy since the first book came out.
The unbelievable amount of detail that was carried through the three books. The idea behind the story. The depth of detail of the characters that allows you to feel like you actually know them.
Didn't, however, like that some prior characters had no, or greatly diminished, roles in this last book - of course, really really miss Emily, but Nathaniel was barely included, and although Sophie is mentioned a few times, she never speaks a single line.
Yes. She's great. Many narrators sound awful when voicing someone of the opposite sex, but this narrator can handle it all - accents, emotions, personalities, genders, ages - and make them all sound entirely authentic and easily differentiated from the other characters during the same conversation.
I actually did - I took a day off of work, listened all day and until about three a.m. to finish it. Couldn't stop!
I was really disappointed with the way she voiced Gallowglass and Timothy in this book. Gallowglass is one of my favorite characters and in SON, he sounded real laid back and had no accent. In this book, he's suddenly a bit uptight and has a Scottish accent even though he's Celtic. It almost made it feel like a different character. Also, Timothy in DOW had such a dizzy and sweet personality, and in BOL, he's a completely different personality, the way she voices him. ... Also, did anyone notice that Sophie had a southern accent in DOW, but then had an Australian accent at the end of SON?
Say something about yourself!
I was totally prepared to love this story, had been waiting as everyone for two years for it to come out, and now I agree with the readers/listeners who were disappointed by the story, as well as the narration.
First, the narration...I don't know about anyone else, but I was annoyed in the first two books, and now so much more so in the third with how whiny Diana always sounds. I found it very hard to take her seriously as a strong independent professor, witch, or teacher. I thought Ms Ikeda did a fairly admirable job in the first two books with Matthew, and Hamish, but this third book had Hamish and Gallowglass sounding the same as each other, sometimes sounding female, and sometimes male, always sounding awful. Not to mention that awful screeching that is Sara...I wondered through the whole book if I would like the story any more if I was reading it instead of listening.
The story as well felt like it had huge holes in the story, so many inconsistencies I could not even begin to count them, and the addition of Phillipes and Em's ghosts was just ridiculous...no point, except to be able to send out a preview of the "First Chapter!!!". I almost quit reading sometime during the interminable boorishness of Diana's pregnancy and Matthews "need" to be in New Orleans sorting things out...seemed a contrived reason to have them apart and bring them back together at the nick of time.
I actually think it would benefit from a follow up book...but not sure I would read it at this point, or listen to it.. I liked the characters of Marcus, Miriam, and Gallowglass, that is until he revealed himself besotted with the whiny Diana
After such a long break from the last book in this trilogy it would have been helpful if the author had included more refreshers from the 2nd book. With so many characters it is almost impossible to remember who is who unless you are a diehard fan who has reread the previous books. I would give the author another chance - the first two books were great.
The narrator's voice did not change much making it difficult to follow who was speaking.
I was REALLY looking forward to the third installment of this series. I started reading two years ago and like many I have been eagerly awaiting this book. Even with my anticipation high, I genuinely feel that I went in with an open mind. Given Deborah Harkness is new to novel writing, and the discrepancies between book one and book two, I was prepared for a few inexplicably changed plot points (such as Phillipes blood song). However I was shocked at the holes left behind, questions left unanswered, stories left unfinished, and blatant use of "hand of god" problem solving technique. In a good novel or series, nothing is written in that isn't useful to the carrying out of the plot. I felt that every single time a problem arose in this book a new character was introduced to solve it.
I desperately wish Mathew could have been the killer instead of the Damsel in Distress. In every book Harkness mentions how dangerous he is... she repeatedly stresses this. Yet over and over he puts himself in to dangerous situations, which always are avoidable, and that come perilously close to his death. Inevitably Diana has to swoop in and save the day. I hated the ending. I wish that ultimately that he had asked Diana for help so they could work together as a team. This should have been a story of Mathew overcoming his ego, as well as Diana her fear.
was a bit disappointed in Galloglass in this book, don't understand why he didnt sound the same as last book.
All i can say is that the writing is so poor in this last book that making it into a movie can only make the plot better. That movie almost has to be better than the book ---something i've long believed impossible. I vote for Mathew Lewis as Marcus.
I'll definitely give Deborah Harkness one more try if she writes again... however.... i'll go in with a grain of salt.
Spoiler alert: Strangling a vampire in a choke hold which actually causes said vampire to turn blue and submit due to not being able to breathe... an undead creature who needs to breathe... The story lost me from that point on.
I was waiting (not so patiently) for this book to be released. Overall, it was good - not amazing like the two previous books in the series. The characters lacked the depth this go around and it affected the quality of the story. Some loose ends still remained at the end and the second half felt rushed. I would have loved a more complete and flushed out ending.
The performance was okay. I love Jennifer Ikeda so much that I will buy an audio book based solely on the fact that she is the reader. The was some serious continuity issues with her characters from the previous books. A big one was Gallowglass. I cringed every time he had dialogue. I had to switch over to my hard copy of the novel cause it got so frustrating. Very disappointing.
Interested in books that help one's spirit move beyond the ordinary.
I was drawn to A Discovery of Witches for its theme of magic and its connection to Diana's journey of self discovery. In Shadow of Night, I felt that the author wanted to use the book as a history lesson to readers on her point of expertise-Elizabethan England. I accepted that at the time because I know middle books are often slow. I'm not going to take the time to review each book individually so I will indicate that my rating of Shadow would drop from a five star of the first book to a three star. I also wasn't too disappointed with Shadow because I hoped that The Book of Life would be a wow, wrapping up the series with a bang and returning the story to the powerful level I had seen the author capable of in Discovery. I saw no indication that it would become merely what I now wonder isn't just a set up piece for a sequel.The background information that was so pleasing in the first book became tedious by the third, with endless detailed descriptions of wall coverings, furnishings, paintings and clothing. Finally, having become attached to the main characters, I think there can be a point of “too much information” about them. The birth of the twins was, for my taste, too much intimate and excruciating detail. I'm sorry to say that I would only give the final volume two stars. While it does tie up some plot points, it leaves significant ones unfinished and even creates new ones. (***spoiler alert ***) Examples of those include the disappearance of Gallowglass, the unresolved question of Phoebe becoming a vampire and the journey of Cora. The Firedrake talks of Diana having “brought the magic back” yet that idea is not more fully developed. I was disappointed that, after all the build up to the Congregation meeting about ending The Covenant, the meeting itself is not covered in the book. The author lost a good opportunity to cover the evolution of the creatures as they struggle to move past old beliefs and learn to deal with each other in new ways. Indeed, there is very little evidence of “old worlds die and new be born” in the conclusion to this series. Diana becomes fully herself but then doesn't use that power after saving Matthew from Benjamin. Indeed, her life seems to go back to her previous “normal” existence as a historian, except for the addition of Matthew and her children. Despite the return of the arrow to her, there is no indication of how she will use her vast magical abilities. Also, there was no progress on the issue of exposing more than a limited handful of humans like Chris to the presence of witches, vampires and daemons. If The Book of Life does turn out to be a set up piece for a future series, I hope the author would use it to explore some of the missed opportunities of this volume. I think the response of a reader to a book directly relates to what he or she is looking for in it. If you are mainly interested in romantic relationships and colorful settings, this is probably the series for you. If you are more interested in magic, lasting character development and the journey of an ensemble cast of characters in achieving an important mission, you may find it less satisfying.
When Diana releases the last of her fear and comes fully into her power.
The author hasn't lost her colorful writing ability but didn't direct it into powerful plot development.
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