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The Book of Life

All Souls, Book 3
Written by: Deborah Harkness
Narrated by: Jennifer Ikeda
Length: 23 hrs and 53 mins
5 out of 5 stars (224 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The number one New York Times best-selling series finale and sequel to A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night.   

Look for the hit series A Discovery of Witches streaming on Sundance Now and Shudder and coming to television this April on AMC and BBC America.

Bringing the magic and suspense of the All Souls Trilogy to a deeply satisfying conclusion, this highly anticipated finale went straight to number one on the New York Times best seller list. 

In The Book of Life, Diana and Matthew time travel back from Elizabethan London to make a dramatic return to the present - facing new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home, Sept-Tours, they reunite with the beloved 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. 

©2014 Deborah Harkness (P)2014 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Exceptional! Sincerest thanks.

I have read countless books and series set in vampire/witch/demon and other supernatural worlds. This series by far, was the most captivating, riveting, balanced, and well woven adventure I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I was literally transported throughout the entire series. I assure you that I am VERY selective and critical given that I am well travelled, am passionate about history, philosophy, and have deep knowledge of letters and science (linguistics psychology background and I am a neuroscientist) and I rarely if ever, write reviews. I was simply astonished at how brilliant these books are. The craft with which this series was constructed is simply stellar.. Also, how it gets to the very heart of true humanity, both its failings and triumphs is without compare in supernatural fiction. Stellar, just stellar. Thank you for all your hard work and so evident passion for your art. I would also like to "souligner" the masterful performance of the reader Jennifer Ikeda without whom, this rich work would not have come to life as it has done. I say in the 7 langages I speak, BRAVO!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Spell binding

This was a fantastic ending to a awesome series. I enjoyed every word. Ms. Harkness has an amazing way of telling a story.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Perfect ending to the series!

The narrator did a great job and the story provided a great ending to the series.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great story, very repetitive writing.

I quite enjoyed this third installment, considerably better IMHO than the second.
However, I wish the author would get a thesaurus and look up some new alternates
for 'gasp', 'satisfaction', 'respond/response', 'power' and 'control.' Surely there are
some great alternates that could be used.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing Trilogy

Such a great story! The author has created a world so easy to dive into a get lost.

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    5 out of 5 stars

An amazing journey.

I'm a big fan of this trilogy. The relation between Diana and Matthew is beautiful. I love when the author find a way to close the premise and even though it was in the first book. Book with a lot historical facts. The end of this trilogy is a mourning for me but in the good way.

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At last

It took me 4 years to finish this series! Not necessarily because I’m a slow reader, but perhaps more because of the way the life is. Many events and obstacles came in the way. Loosing one copy of a first book, then the second copy being taken/stolen by a lady at a bus stop. Odd indeed.
This series had me in awe, stress, relief, laughter, and many other feels. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I’d say the whole trilogy gets 4/5 stars. There were a lot of good moments in the series. This book being the final one felt more longing and drier just to get to the end. There were moments which gave me a good boost. for that, I’m glad since it’s important not to feel like the story is dragging itself. Glad I stumbled upon this series.

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yet another wonderful book

I have just finished this last book in the series and it was truly excellent! Both the story and the performance were the best I have listened to this year.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Sorry the journey came to an end.

Jennifer does a great job of bringing to life Deborah's characters. I would take the long way home listening intently. Thank you for taking me back in time.

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Breathtaking!

This entire series is must-have for anyone interested in history, fantasy, and fabulous writing! The narrator, Ms. Ikeda, has done a wonderful job of bringing these stupendous characters to life!!! Thank you to everyone involved, and most especially Ms. Harkenss for illuminating so many scenes so well!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Elkay
  • 2014-08-01

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.

64 of 71 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Nicole S.
  • 2014-07-25

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.

29 of 32 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Oli
  • 2014-09-21

Meh

I don't know why this happens, but lately every trilogy I read, the last book has been terrible disappointment. This one less than some and still it left me wondering wtf?!
Characters were inconsistent, story wobbly and the ending blah. Oh well, Ill just stay away from trilogies from now on, but if you enjoyed the the first two books and must find out what the hell was the book of life, prepare for a mild, if not stronger disappointment.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Kathryn
  • 2014-07-18

So little magic, so much dull soap opery.

What would have made The Book of Life better?

If the main character did magic more then once every few months the story would have been much better. She is so whiney and weak, I found myself rolling my eyes over and over. I enjoyed the first book, patiently waited out the second but this one…so much minutiae about the different ways different vampires might think about what someone else might do. If you are interested in fantasy stories about magical creatures this isn't a good choice. It's more of a drawn out soap opera that happens to have some magical creatures in it.

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

Not really, I hoped it would be a fantasy book but it isn't.

Did Jennifer Ikeda do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Yes, the narrator was good.

What character would you cut from The Book of Life?

Honestly, Diana. She spends so much time dreading, thinking, whining, and then more dreading. She is supposed to be this incredibly powerful witch but almost never does magic. Is it so much to ask that we have a story with a strong confident female character who doesn't spend all her time worrying and doubting herself?

27 of 30 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Loren
  • 2014-07-28

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.

27 of 31 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2017-11-21

Looking for magic, look elsewhere

I found this series to be slow and hard to get into. I finished it only because I have a need to know how to plays out even though I found myself caring little about any of the characters. if anyone else is looking at this series as anything other than a love story, I say move along. I came for witches, magic, vampires and the like... and really only this book of the three even had an actual antagonist.

I enjoyed the narrator through all three, but the material was forgettable.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Spirit Wandering
  • 2014-07-24

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.

34 of 41 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Patricia
  • 2014-07-22

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

25 of 30 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • LAMB
  • 2016-07-13

Great main story but the romantic crap is too much

Main story is good but in a lot of ways this is a romance novel in disguise. The performance is pretty good except for I think the drama is a little too strong. And the heroine who is supposed to be so brave and true is actually quite whiny and wimpy

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Richard D. Shewman
  • 2014-08-03

Best of an excellent series

I was hooked on the AllSouls series from the first chapter of the first book. The story and characters are engaging. The details, both historic and scientific, are credible. The dynamic of the relationships among the characters is honest and contributes to building characters that seem real; people you would really like to know. Even the villains are believable in their own psychotic way.

Thus, when i began listening to Book of Life I worried that the author might not be able to recreate the same rich experience as the first two books. Shame on me for the lack of faith. This third book in the series soars. It is the best of the series, fulfilling the promise of the first two books and then some. My only frustration with the book is that this is supposed to be the finale of the series. I want more!

The narrator is excellent with a full range of voices that bring the characters alive and contributes to the overall experience of the story.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Marie
  • 2019-06-10

Stunning finale ! Une conclusion éblouissante !

Breathtaking ending of a captivating story, thank you Mrs Harkness ! And I would like no other than Mrs Ikeda’s voice for reading further books of that wonderful author :) Looking forward to reading/hearing plenty of other stories from that wonderful team.
Une fin à couper le souffle pour une histoire captivante, un tout grand merci à l’auteure, Mme Harkness ! Et je ne voudrais aucune autre voix que celle de Mme Ikeda pour ainsi donner vie à d’autres livres de cette merveilleuse auteure :) J’ai hâte de lire/entendre encore tout plein d’histoires de cette merveilleuse équipe.

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  • Ekou
  • 2019-03-08

One smudge on a good story.

Lackluster final fight but overall very good story and impatient to read the next triology.