[Book Review] The Book of Life

The Book of Life / Deborah Harkness (Powell's Books)

I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book, but I was curious how the story started in A Discovery of Witches and continued in Shadow of Night.  I found the the story up till now interesting and compelling, but it serious pacing issues.  I spent the first two books with a feeling of "come on now, just get to it!"

The Book of Life picked up at with the tension built up at the end of Shadow of Night and ran with it.  The plot and story moved along at an engaging pace and I ripped through this 600+ page monster in a little over a day.  A fantastic improvement over the first two books, resulting in a book I greatly enjoyed reading.

Diana really blossoms in this book.  She has come into her power and grows from a witch without magic seeking to avoid any and all attention, to a personality to be reckoned with all on her own.  The relationship dynamics between characters are well done, with development and growth as they weather challenges.  Additionally growth and depth is added to characters we have encountered along the way as the threads of the story are woven together.

In The Book of Life we follow Diana and Matthew, along with their clan of friends and family, in their frantic search for the pieces of Ashmole 782 and for genetic clues in their own DNA.  This is a story of growth, of discovery, of closure, and of new beginnings.

Definitely read the first two books before picking up The Book of Life, this is a capstone, not a stand-alone novel.  Be warned that the first two books weigh in close to 600 pages each as well, heavy on meticulous detail and moment descriptions, but it all builds up to this solid conclusion.

Advanced Reader Copy copy courtesy of NetGalley; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the final edition.

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