Listen free for 30 days

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

Fall under the spell of Diana and Matthew once more in the stunning climax to the All Souls trilogy, following A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night

A world of witches, daemons and vampires. A manuscript that holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future. Diana and Matthew - the forbidden love at the heart of it. 

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 in France they reunite with their families - with one heart-breaking exception. But the real threat to their future is yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on a terrifying urgency. Using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the palaces of Venice and beyond, Diana and Matthew will finally learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

©2014 Deborah Harkness (P)2014 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The Book of Life

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,299
  • 4 Stars
    389
  • 3 Stars
    128
  • 2 Stars
    32
  • 1 Stars
    18
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,051
  • 4 Stars
    372
  • 3 Stars
    115
  • 2 Stars
    25
  • 1 Stars
    20
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,050
  • 4 Stars
    342
  • 3 Stars
    131
  • 2 Stars
    42
  • 1 Stars
    15

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Great story... dreadful narration!

Would you try another book written by Deborah Harkness or narrated by Jennifer Ikeda?

There's no question that Harkness can spin a yarn... even if she gets tedious at times and the historical inaccuracies make me wince. When she writes a new book though I'll probably give it a try.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

She murders every *single* accent that isn't her native American. English, French, Spanish... and her idea of Scottish nearly took my skin off. And considering huge swathes of the trilogy are set in Europe IT HURTS. Why on earth don't publishers actually get these people an accent coach? Consider carefully whether to buy these audiobooks if you're British (and don't say I didn't warn you).A further bugbear are all the mispronunciations. Laboratory rhymes with lavatory apparently. If you're narrating and aren't sure how to pronounce an unusual word, surely you should CHECK rather than just having a wild stab?

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Poor narration

Bad accents really spoil the pleasure of this third instalment, for example we are clearly told that a character is Scottish, he then displays an Irish accent whose lack of authenticity hasn't been matched since Dick van Dyke's Cockney accent in `Mary Poppins' !

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

OK, but not as good as the first two books.

Would you listen to The Book of Life again? Why?

I keep trying to, to see if I missed something the first time round. So far I haven't managed it.The story just seems to be an awful lot longer than it has to be. The birth of the twins goes on forever, and all the prissy angst about swearing during labour just made me yawn.

The narration is also hard going at times. The Scottish accents are absolutely dreadful. No Scottish person ever sounded anything like Gallowglass or Hamish. These characters appear more in this book than the first two, so the voices need to be listenable or it's hard to focus on what they're saying, not how it's being said.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I like Sarah for her refusal to be anything other than herself. Down to earth and feisty. Diana seems to spend a portion of this book being cowed by Matthew which is annoying after her earlier determined independence.
We get to know Gallowglass much better and he's a more integral part to the story, had he sounded 'right' I think he'd have been my favourite.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Not really.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No

Any additional comments?

I really enjoyed the first two books, I am disappointed that The Book of Life is slower, and less gripping. It's not a bad book, it just didn't live up to my expectations.
I'm left wondering what happened to Hancock too, no mention of him at all.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Unfortunately disappointing

I was so disappointed with this book. Having loved the first two in the series, this one just left me frustrated. There were even times when I threatened to give up.
Whilst I am usually forgiving of the odd weak point in a story line (and for my favourite books and characters, I can turn almost blind to weak points), I found myself picking gaping holes in this plot line from the start, and it left me extremely frustrated

(I had listened to the first two books in the series again, immediately before starting this third book - so I was all wound up for a great conclusion, with the characters and plot and problems fresh in my mind).

I'm trying not to risk any spoilers here, but I feel the need to rant a little.....1) what happened to all the secrecy and avoiding the Congregation of the first two books - in book three, there seems to be a tendancy to share the problem /issue with all and sundry? 2) The blood rage thing just goes on and on, and there's just no consistency in its manifestations?? 3) How many houses are they going to flee to - and is it all just to display the family's enormous wealth, portrait and porcelein collections? Boring! 4) The whole Baldwin thing - yawn again - no consistency, again..... 5) Gallowglass - from being such a central character in this book - what happens to him??? And as for Matthew walking into a trap - come on!!!! The man is ancient - he should be a little more cunning!

Nope, I'm afraid this book failed outright for me. I think the author had a handful of good, exciting scenes, and a sound enough conclusion to the whole thing......but the meandering, waffly route she took through those scenes, just weakened the whole book. Individually, there were a whole host of good ideas they were just all strung together badly. The only two characters who held it together consistently, and who I felt were true to their characters throughout the series, were Sarah and Isabo.

If you're a fan of this series....maybe you'll be less critical than I am, and will enjoy it. And maybe if you aren't expecting too much, you won't be disappointed.....Good luck.

30 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

True to the book and presented beautifully

Would you consider the audio edition of The Book of Life to be better than the print version?

The atmosphere I thought could only come of the page while reading and yet here the sight and sounds filled my time and brought this adventure to a fitting conclusion.
The tone of the narrator carried the emotion and timing as much as the words adding even more to what I considered a perfect book to begin with.
Thank you for the experience made whole.

What other book might you compare The Book of Life to, and why?

The grave minder these books are more than just " get on the supernatural bandwagon" they have flesh and substance, sorry about the pun but they are individual gems in their own right not just let's churn out similar themes and make cash until the vampire ghost trend moves on

What about Jennifer Ikeda’s performance did you like?

Beautiful

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I always wanted to be a fly on the wall when Chris learnt there were other things than students and tutor at university
Reading the book I laughed a lot
Hearing the same section I gasped laughed and cried

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Want another book in this series!

Any additional comments?

I have thoroughly enjoyed this 3 book series. I am really going to miss the whole lot of extended family characters of vampires, demons and witches, along with the humans of course!

The story has kept me interested from Book 1 and unusually, I enjoyed the historical detail that was incorporated as it was not overdone and did not getting boring.

My only disappointment is that it has finished - hoping there will be a Book 4!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great book

one of the best book that I have read a pitty that there isn't anymore of this story caring on

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

the narrator is truly awful

i really wanted to read this because the story of the preceeding books were ok but i struggled to cope with the awful pronunciations and dreadful accents of the narrator. in the end i quit having spent most of my time correcting her speech. it was torture. a real shame.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it!

After watching the first and second series on tv of the discovery of witches I just could not wait for the third series to come out next year. I downloaded the book straight away and within 2/3 days have finished listening. Completely had me hooked. Going to download the fourth book and after that, the rest of them. I will start again.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

wonderful long listen!

last in the trilogy! I will a few empty days to mulled over before I can start a new book. Great characters & well read.

1 person found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Livianna
  • Livianna
  • 09-02-16

Fantastic

The whole series is so amazing I couldnt break in between and i am so sad its finished.
The development of truely complex characters is the best I have ever enjoyed.
it is all emcompasing with references to many history people, events and im sure plenty of other facts that i may have missed but felt a part of them as the story was told.
This was my favorite series of all time and definitely an all rounder for anyone with an appreciation for great writting.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anna
  • Anna
  • 07-06-16

Amazing

This is easily the best audible I've heard by far!! Such a great job done!!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Annemarie Fourie
  • Annemarie Fourie
  • 23-07-19

Loved it!

Excellent writing
Loved the narrator
Wishing the story would continue.
I could feel, taste, see experience emotions in every scenario.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lee111
  • Lee111
  • 24-08-14

Worth The Two Year Wait!

I discovered this series two years ago, I loved the first two audiobooks And yes it's been a long wait for the third book but it was so worth it. Because of how long ago it was I have spent the last last week listening to the first two books. And what a wonderful week it was.

If you like some readers are expecting a full blown old fashioned war, you will be disappointed. The Author was true to her charecters. The vampires are imortal with centuries of political intrigue and manipulation. And the times of old where you go onto a battlefield and slaughter your enemy are long past. Wars are fought with numbers of alies,money and intrigue and being very sneaky. This is a wonderfully woven book, secrets are revealed and most answers given. This series combines my two favorite genres paranormal romance and historical romance. The Author is a History Scholar who has studied the history of science and magic between the 1500's and 1700's so you know you are getting a wonderfully accurate view of history. Especially the second book which was set in the 1590's. I honestly loved this third book as much as the other two. It is a little more gruesome than the other two with the main bad guy being a psychopath. This book is a wonderful journey with unexpected twists and turns to keep you on your toes.

I liked the narrator, thought she did a pretty good job. And honestly all these books are around 24 hours of listening more than double your average audiobook. With all three books I've got 70 hours of wonderful listening. This book is definately worth the credit. If you haven't read the series yet get all three, you'll have the advantage of having the series already finished. If you are already a fan you'll love this one too.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for James O
  • James O
  • 17-05-20

Elegant and beautiful story about magic

Better than “Harry Pottet for adults” which a friend told me about the third in the Discovery of Witches trilogy- fun escape

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Maurice Mc Hugh
  • Maurice Mc Hugh
  • 18-11-19

A good yarn. Thought provoking and entertaining.

Beautifully read and an engaging story.
The 'scenes of a sexual nature' caused a little amusement and embarrassment in our car.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Linda van Steen
  • Linda van Steen
  • 19-09-19

Totally addictive

Couldn't stop listening to any of the 3 books in the series. Hope there will be more.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Monica Erasmus
  • Monica Erasmus
  • 28-06-19

The perfect ending to the perfect Trilogy

Sticking the landing is hard, but Deborah Harkness once again proves to be a phenomenal storyteller.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Miss Valda Petersen
  • Miss Valda Petersen
  • 27-06-19

Excellent!

I thoroughly enjoyed this entire series. Excellent story line. It’s such a pity this is the last book in the series

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 06-06-19

Awesome

Loved it
This was a great book. To read. Will there be more in future.