Monday, October 13, 2014

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

 Title: The Book of Life
Author: Deborah Harkness
Read by:  Jennifer Ikeda
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Length: approximately 24 hours (19 CDs)
Source:  Kewaunee Public Library – Thanks!

 The Book of Life is the third and final novel of the All Souls Trilogy.  The Trilogy tells the story of Diana Bishop, a Yale history professor that stumbles across Ashmole 782 or The Book of Life while doing research in England and sends creatures such as witches, demons, and vampires after her.  One of these vampires is Matthew Clairmont, a science professor at Oxford.  The attraction between the two is undeniable and they go against the covenant that prohibits marriage between different creatures.  Breaking this covenant makes many wonder about the separation of creatures and also sends others after them for breaking the status quo.

The Book of Life continues the story and brings Diana and Matthew “back to the future” in the current day.  They are reunited with their beloved family and friends from book 1 (A Discovery of Witches) and I must say I vastly enjoyed seeing these characters again.  Diana is pregnant with Matthew’s child and this brings a whole new set of problems into the mix.  First of all, how can a vampire and witch have a baby?  This is also against the covenant of creatures. This also brings into play Matthew’s “bad seed” son Benjamin who has had an obsession with having a baby with a witch for hundreds of years.  He wants to know how his father did it and wants to possess Diana and her offspring himself.  Matthew and Diana and friends must stop Benjamin from his continued torture of creatures as well as change the minds of the convent on the separation of creatures.  They are all still looking for The Book of Life as well and the answers to how creatures came about and how they can reproduce together. There is a lot going on!

Overall, I loved how the entire trilogy showed Diana’s growth from an academic who thought she had no powers, to a witch in training in Elizabethan London, to a powerful witch that can defend her family and take on the covenant in book three.  I loved her transformation.  I also loved that although Matthew is protective, by the end it is Diana who is protecting him and saving the day.    This is an awesome trilogy and I highly recommend it.  It has fantasy, romance, and historical fiction.  It is just the right set of books for someone like me.  Also if you are a fan of the Outlander series, I would recommend trying this trilogy out.

I listened to the audiobook version of this novel as I did for books 1 and 2 as well. Jennifer Ikeda is a wonderful narrator with a unique voice for each character.  Her narration greatly enhances an already intriguing story and makes it a true listening pleasure.  This was a perfect book to listen to with Halloween approaching, but it’s a good book to listen to any time of the year.

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