Thursday, July 24, 2014

THE BOOK OF LIFE by Deborah Harkness

Deborah Harkness

            The Book Of Life is the long awaited third, and final, installment in the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. And, it was definitely worth the wait.

            As with the first two books, The Book Of Life picks up where the last book, Shadow Of Night, left off. Matthew and Diana have returned to their present and are reunited with their family and friends at Sept-Tours. Life after their return is very busy for Matthew and Diana, and they are quickly immersed in a myriad of crises, including the Congregation and children, love and loss, and the missing manuscript. As with their lives, the book moves at a very fast pace – perhaps too fast, as it sometimes feels as if there is too much development too quickly. This was particularly disconcerting to me after Diana gave birth; her post-birth pace and actions are so discordant with my own experiences as a first time mother.

Nonetheless, Deborah Harkness doesn’t disappoint. Like the first two books in the trilogy, this book contains history, great character development, and fine detail beautifully painted by her words.

The Book Of Life also differs from the first two books in the trilogy. It has more of an “otherworldly” feel to it. Whereas a description of the first two books might include an aside – “oh, and there are witches, vampires, and daemons” – in this book, creatures are more central to the plot.

            Reading The Book Of Life was a bittersweet experience. It is an excellent read and was wonderful to be re-immersed in Matthew’s and Diana’s world. However, it brings with it the disappointment of the end of the adventure. Mixed with this is some frustration, as not all of the outstanding questions have been answered – not all of the loose ends have been tied up.

            What stands out about The Book Of Life, from beginning to end, is the myriad of strange bedfellows brought together by the changing times. And, there is no doubt – The Book Of Life is magical!


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