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The Book of Life: All Souls, Book 3 | [Deborah Harkness]

The Book of Life: All Souls, Book 3

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

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  •  
    Spirit Wandering Maine Highlands, USA 07-24-14
    Spirit Wandering Maine Highlands, USA 07-24-14 Member Since 2013

    Interested in books that help one's spirit move beyond the ordinary.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I loved the opening book BUT..."
    What disappointed you about The Book of Life?

    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.


    Has The Book of Life turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When Diana releases the last of her fear and comes fully into her power.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The author hasn't lost her colorful writing ability but didn't direct it into powerful plot development.


    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia 07-22-14
    Patricia 07-22-14 Member Since 2012

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disappointed"
    What did you like best about The Book of Life? What did you like least?

    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.


    Do you think The Book of Life needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    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


    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Loren 07-28-14
    Loren 07-28-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "too many loose threads in this weaving"
    What did you like best about The Book of Life? What did you like least?

    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.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    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.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    was a bit disappointed in Galloglass in this book, don't understand why he didnt sound the same as last book.


    Could you see The Book of Life being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    I'll definitely give Deborah Harkness one more try if she writes again... however.... i'll go in with a grain of salt.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicole K. SF Bay Area, CA 07-25-14
    Nicole K. SF Bay Area, CA 07-25-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good but flawed."
    Where does The Book of Life rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    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.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    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.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carrie Houston, TX, United States 07-18-14
    Carrie Houston, TX, United States 07-18-14 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    "Can't wait to listen a second time!"
    Would you listen to The Book of Life again? Why?

    Absolutely! Have been fascinated with this trilogy since the first book came out.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Jennifer Ikeda’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    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.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    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!


    Any additional comments?

    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?

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Troy Brandon, FL, United States 07-19-14
    Troy Brandon, FL, United States 07-19-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "So worth the wait!"

    Unlike the other books that, although wonderful, are a little slow. This book cooks the entire way. A fantastic ending to an incredible journey.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elkay Annapolis, MD 08-01-14
    Elkay Annapolis, MD 08-01-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hopes Dashed"

    I really enjoyed A Discovery of Witches, and although I didn't like Shadow of Night quite as much, I had high hopes for The Book of Life. This book has gotten fantastic reviews, so it obviously works for most people. If you loved both of the previous books, you probably don't need me to tell you that you'll like this one, too. BUT. If you were beginning to have some doubts by book 2, you might want to save your money (or your credit) for something else.

    Characters move from city to city, discuss the incredibly urgent danger they face (but don't do anything about it), bicker, travel, drink tea, and discuss how possessive Matthew is about Diana. There is a seemingly endless review of vampire family politics and legal issues, and there is a huge cast of characters, although most of them are superfluous to the plot. Somehow Ms. Harkness made this all work in the first two books, but it felt to me like she had lost the rhythm and pace of the story in BOL. There is too much telling, not enough doing; too many plot points that go nowhere. There are many conversations that cover ground that has already been tread and retread in earlier chapters - I felt totally bogged down for the first 18 hours or so of listening.

    I so wanted to enjoy this book! I found the first two difficult to put down, but this one was all too easy to set aside. The ending was fine, but I'm still not sure it was worth the tedious slog through 20+ hours of listening to get there.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Holly Prosper, TX, United States 07-28-14
    Holly Prosper, TX, United States 07-28-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    5
    3
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    "Inconsistent"

    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.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Val Roanoke Rapids, NC, USA 07-22-14
    Val Roanoke Rapids, NC, USA 07-22-14 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disappointing!"
    Any additional comments?

    What started as an interesting, compelling trilogy with the first two volumes has ended in a flat, dull, confusing, and disappointing read. I cannot get through it, so I'm done with it.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Todd Jones Jonesboro, Ar United States 07-17-14
    Todd Jones Jonesboro, Ar United States 07-17-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This one was such a great disappointment."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Was there a minimal page limit or something. For the most part large sections of the book seemed to do nothing more than filler. Case in point personally the entire first part starting right after they leave Sept-Tour the first time and until Chris is introduced (or as I think of it the Madison part) should have been dropped. There was really no point to it as It does not add any real substance to story nor does it advance the characters growth.If you can make it throw the Madison doldrums the rest of the book is sadly only ok. Had it not been in an audio format I never would have finished it. As it was I keep having to back up to re-listen to a part because I had grown so bored with that I was not longer paying attention.


    What was most disappointing about Deborah Harkness’s story?

    Not very well written also if there was an editor they should be fired. For the most part I keep saying fine a plot line and get on with it. The book skidders from one pointless location to then next dragging us alone with a slow boring weak plot so that you lose interest in the story..


    Which character – as performed by Jennifer Ikeda – was your favorite?

    Jennifer Ikeda was wonderful she did a GREAT JOB but by far Galoglass was my favorite.


    Was The Book of Life worth the listening time?

    I hate to have to say this but no not really, Not a good story and I really hate that because I really liked the other 2 books a lot. This one was a great disappointment.


    Any additional comments?

    It never really has and spirit to it and the final battle we have all been waiting for is so anti-climactic, I mean I was left asking THAT’S IT, after 2 books that’s it that is the ending. After all the bad guy(s)/gal(s) have done that is what happens to them, that is there pay back...well ho hoe hum and gods how freaking dreadfully dull and then after the end the real end I was left asking hay what about **** and what happen with ****.. there are several characters who you are left wondering what the hell happen to them. All and all poor story.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
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