The Book of Life
With THE BOOK OF LIFE, we come to know Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont even better and get the chance to watch their relationship evolve in the face of every danger possible. While I’m happy that the story has come to a satisfying end, I’m also a bit sad because I’ve enjoyed it so much. So, should you read the All Souls Trilogy? I’ll get to that in a few minutes.
Starting where SHADOW OF NIGHT left off, Diana and Matthew are on their way home from Elizabethan London --- the 16th century if you’re counting --- to Matthew’s family home in present-day France. Everyone is gathered to see them, and all are surprised to find out that Diana is pregnant. What should be a happy moment for any family turns into a “how did this happen?” interrogation, thanks to the house being full of vampires and witches. Not only are they coming home pregnant, they also happen to be heavy on firedrake, which is Diana’s familiar. The time walk was a success. Diana was able to hone her powers --- as it turns out, she’s quite powerful --- and Matthew found a few answers about the possible fate of Ashmole 782.
"With THE BOOK OF LIFE, we come to know Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont even better and get the chance to watch their relationship evolve in the face of every danger possible. While I’m happy that the story has come to a satisfying end, I’m also a bit sad because I’ve enjoyed it so much."
Now that the happy couple is home safe, things get interesting. Needing to find answers and a possible cure (if one exists) to Matthew’s blood rage in the hope of saving their children, the two decamp to New Haven to do more research on the creature genome. Enlisting the help of Diana’s best friend, Chris, a preeminent DNA researcher, Matthew grudgingly gives in and shares some of his pioneering work. Just as the research gets moving, a new family issue surfaces. Jack, Diana and Matthew’s adopted son in the 16th century, turns up a vampire in present-day New Haven with all the ferocious blood rage that vexes and terrifies Matthew. News also trickles out that Benjamin, an abandoned and long-forgotten son of Matthew’s, has resurfaced. Benjamin is crueler than Matthew ever imagined he could be, and now the family needs to stop him before he comes after Diana and Matthew’s children.
While navigating a witch/vampire pregnancy, Diana also needs to step carefully around Matthew’s family, who are not thrilled at the prospect of a witch for an in-law. Thanks to their chance meeting with Matthew’s father and de Clermont family head, Philippe, in Elizabethan London, Diana is now his blood-sworn daughter. This development makes for interesting family discussion as no one wants to defy Philippe’s wishes or follow them. There’s also the small issue of the Congregation, which tried it’s best to stop Diana and Matthew’s relationship and now wants to know all it can about her pregnancy.
If you haven’t read this series and just happen to be looking for some summer reading, you have a contender here. While a series always has its ups and down, and sometimes you can feel a little lost in the story as it meanders, this one has more ups than downs. I finished the series feeling that a bit more could have been explained surrounding some minor characters who I found interesting, but overall I was deeply satisfied with the final story. It’s not just about vampires and witches, but more about love and family and what makes us all related. Even if you’re not interested in vampires or witchcraft, there is still enough to tempt you.
I’m a character person, so give me fascinating people with problems --- the weirder the better, and the happier I am as a reader. In THE BOOK OF LIFE, there are some very good characters to keep you entertained.
So, getting back to my earlier question. Should you read the All Souls Trilogy? Yes, I think you should. Start at the beginning with A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, move on to SHADOW OF NIGHT, and find a comfortable place to sit because you’ll most likely be there a while before you hit this concluding volume. Don’t worry, though. There’s a lot to enjoy.
Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski on July 18, 2014