Summary from Goodreads:
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 thirty-eight foreign editions, A Discovery of Witches andShadow of Night have landed on all of the major bestseller 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.
Like the previous two books, the Goodreads feedback is showing that you either love it or you hate it. Honestly, I think it’s because a lot of the nuances are going over peoples heads – from what I have read. There is a lot of history in these books, a lot of characters to follow, and a lot of complex ideas – I’m not saying the people who are complaining about these things are stupid . . . but maybe they have some attention issues? Reading a lot of the reviews irritate me, I feel like a lot of the things people seem to dislike are the things I liked the most, did we even read the same story? It’s a tale of self-exploration, fighting for a common good, dedicating oneself to a cause/relationship, and it’s awesome!
So much happened in this book! Admittedly, I was bored for a little while in the beginning, not until Matthew and Diana separated – Matthew to go to New Orleans to bring Marcus’s children to heel and create his own separate vampire clan apart from the rest of the de Clairmont family, and Diana’s return to London to finish her mission with the Book of Life did I feel like it really picked up. I appreciated the decline in awkward sex scenes and more use of the suggestive ellipsis. I thought Chris was a fun character, Gallowglass remains one of my favorites of the series (though I did not like his pinning over Diana, he’s better than that), and the reintroduction of Jack was fun – I think it really helped Matthew and Diana cope with the loss of their life in the 16th century.
There is way too much in this book to really talk about, but I think what struck me most was the transformation of all of the characters, in the little over a year that the story takes place in. Matthew is so much more cheerful, he’s more comfortable in his skin, and he seems finally able to accept both the dark and light sides of himself. Same can be said for Diana, she and Matthew really are perfect for each other, both push each other and are always there no matter if they fail or succeed. Then you have Ysabeau and Baldwin – both characters who had a deep seated prejudice to witches, and were firm believers in the covenant (the pact made to keep the creatures separate from each other), but by the end of the series, thanks to Matthew and Diana and their growing network of supporters, they come around to believe in the disband of the covenant and support their family no matter what. This is really the core of the books message I think, and it’s done really well.
Overall, a great finale to the series. I would be interested in anything else Harkness wrote too.