Anticipation for Deborah Harkness’s Book of Life

There aren’t many times when I can’t hold off reading a book–I guess I’m cheap and I was spoiled by early jobs at bookstores and libraries. I have a Kindle Cloud full of books waiting for me–I’m a great bargain shopper on Amazon. I will wait for books on the library’s ebook queue, and I am lucky enough to be privy to quite a few advanced reader copies of books. But there are few that I don’t get my hands on early and I’m not willing to hold off reading.

The third book in Deborah Harkness’s All Souls trilogy is one of those books.

Prior to the first book, I was the mother of young children in a new town. I was reading a lot of Junie B Jones and The Magic Treehouse as well as Goodnight Moon and Moo Baa La La La. So, when I met some friends who seemed to read other stuff, I was happy. They asked if I liked vampire stories. “Well, if they’re good,” I said cautiously.

I should have been cautious. They were talking about the Twilight series.

I read them to fit in a bit, but cringed every minute I spent in the books. Thank goodness they were quick reads, and that I met others (even in this group) who felt the same way.

But this did help me to remember that I liked books about vamps. And demons. And witches. But I needed them to have personalities and brains.

So when I read a review of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness in 2011, I thought it sounded right up my alley. A book about a historian fighting her magic, who falls in love with a vampire? A whole magical world living right here with us?! Sign me up!

I loved that the book was written by a highly educated woman who knew of what she wrote (historically, alchemically, etc.) The first book got me hooked. The second book, Shadow of Night, was released about a year later. At that time I didn’t love it as much as the first one, but it was still really good. I remember thinking that it was a good middle book for a trilogy.

That was 2012. We had to wait two long years for the third book. TWO YEARS! I know (I REALLY KNOW) that writing is hard, and writing a book that will live up to the expectations must be more than hard. But, as a reader, I still get antsy and impatient. Last summer we got the title. I think around February it was available on Amazon for preorder. And pre-order I did. I could not WAIT for The Book of Life. But I wasn’t lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of the book, so I was forced to wait.

Knowing the book would be released July 15th (today), I went back and read/listened to the first two books. A Discovery of Witches is just as good as I remember. I listened in the car on the way to and from kids activities this summer. They were as inthralled as I was; the little girl that I drive to day camp with my younger daughter was mad that I was going to listen to it without them. And my older daughter asked if she could listen on her own (there are a few parts still a little too mature for her).

But it was Shadow of Night that surprised me. It was much better than I gave it credit for a couple of years ago. It made me wonder if I should go back and read every book I didn’t like (I will not re-read the Twilight series, no matter what you say). Historical and beautiful, giving the characters a chance to visit those in the past we would not have gotten a chance to meet otherwise. The imagery was wonderful and the characters built on. I have a new appreciation for the middle book.

So I will begin The Book of Life tonight, as soon as I’m done with work and motherhood. I plan to jump in and be absent from my family for a few hours everyday. I can’t wait to see what happens to Diana and Matthew and their search for Ashmole 782. I can’t wait to see what happens with the other ‘creatures’ in the story. All the early reviews are stunning. Fingers crossed and breath bated.

I’ll let you know what I think–promise.



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