Friday, 17 February 2012

Book Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman.


Product details:
Publisher: Atom.
Release date: January 19th 2012.
Paperback, 434 pages.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Ages: 12+
Source: Received from publisher for review.

It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up.  When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love.  When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead.  His girlfriend Adriane, Nora's best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora's sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

Complex, cryptic and captivating, Robin Wasserman’s The Book of Blood and Shadow is an intelligent and intriguing work, rich in historical detail and brimming with the kind of page-turning plot twists that demand reading late into the night. Fans of The Secret History will love this tale of blood and alchemy, secrets and death, all set against the mystical backdrop of Prague.

Life can change in the blink of an eye. High school student and Latin scholar, Nora Kane, knows this better than most.  With her home life in ruins following a family tragedy, Nora finds her solace in study, undertaking a Latin translation project along with best friend Chris and soon-to-be love interest, Max. But what begins as a safe haven soon turns into a nightmare, leaving Chris dead, Max on the run, and Nora in fear of her life. With time running out, and a shady secret society hot on her heels, Nora must solve the mystery of the seven hundred year old Book of Blood and Shadow and clear the name of the boy she loves.

The Book of Blood and Shadow starts with a bang – we know from page one that there has been a murder - but after this the pace slows as we learn of the long hidden secrets contained in the letters and manuscript that the teens have been working on.  Nora soon learns that these secrets are bigger than anything she could have imagined, and that there are people in the world who will kill for them. As her search for the truth leads her to Prague, it turns out too that everyone in Nora’s world from, from Chris’s girlfriend Adriane to his cousin Eli, have secrets, and its up to Nora to figure out, who, if anyone, she can trust. And the answers aren’t always as clear-cut as you might think.  This is a clever book that will demand your attention from start to finish with its intricately constructed plot, intelligent prose and myriad of plot twists that are both complex and genius.  

If there’s one qualm I have in regards to The Book of Blood and Shadow, it’s that the characters and their voices are not entirely relatable. Nora stands alone in her world, her parents don’t have a big part to play in her life and her voice, for me, was not realistically teen. This is, explained by circumstances in her background, but in places I had trouble thinking of this as an entirely YA book.  With its complex plot and sophisticated prose, The Book of Blood and Shadow has major crossover appeal, although I think it is perhaps suited more to the older teen than the younger set.




20 comments :

  1. Wow! I never saw this one before but it does sound amazing! I like and prefer YA books that also appeal to older readers as well!! I like the complexity this story apparently has - so thank you for featuring it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have the old ARC without the pretty cover. Can't wait to start reading it and buy a finished copy!!!

    stop by my review of THE OTHER LIFE? :)

    http://lindsaycummingsblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/arc-review-other-life.html

    ReplyDelete
  3. I really like the cover of this story and your review makes it sound so mysterious! I love that it's a clever book, I actually prefer books aimed towards the "older teens" and this book sounds amazing. I can't wait to read this book and delve into its plot twists! Lovely review. x

    ReplyDelete
  4. this sounds really good! i don't think i've seen it unless the US cover is different.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup - you guys have a different cover! http://www.goodreads.com/book/photo/11378763-the-book-of-blood-and-shadow

      Delete
  5. I really like these kind of books & I probably already have it on my wishlist, but I really want to read this one. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have never heard of this, but it sounds like something I'd enjoy. It sounds like something Dan Brown would write, but for a younger audience. Thanks for sharing this one! I'll definitely check it out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely Dan Brown for a younger audience. I haven't read him, but I've seen the movies of the books! :)

      Delete
  7. I really struggled to get into this! I want to give it another go because I'm not sure if I was just distracted with other things. Great review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope you like it next time round. It took me a while to get into it too!

      Delete
  8. I think I need to read this one!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I like the sound of this, because it's the sort of book I really want to see more in YA. Yet at the same time I'm worried about the teen voices being truly realistic, like you were. I think I'll still check this one out but I'll be prepared for that!

    The Cait Files

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ooh! This one sounds really, really good. Fab review :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I can't wait to read this one. I haven't read anything by Robin Wasserman and I have such good things about her. I loved The Secret History. This also sounds a little like The Rule of Four (another awesome secret society/mysterious ancient document/manuscript type book.)Great review, I am even more intrigued:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Rule of Four sounds good!! I must check it out!

      Delete
  12. Fab review, I love the cover for this one and can't wait to get around to it, glad you enjoyed!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I just saw this one on NetGalley and got really excited! Being an older reader of YA, I kind of like that Nora seems a bit older with the absence of her parents, but having said that I absolutely understand how it could also be a drawback. Can't wait to give this one a try, so glad you enjoyed it overall Leanna!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Omg I'M reading this one soon and i'm so excited it sounds amazing. I have seem mixed reviews from my GR friends but I still think I'll be really enjoying it. I actually like that the character sounds older (I find a lot of YA novels, the "teenagers" definitely don't sounds like when I was a teen O_O). Awesome review Leanna!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I definitely loved the plot - so carefully crafted and clever! I do agree that the teen voice wasn't entirely realistic, though. Nora's mannerisms and just the way she thought about stuff...I wasn't entirely convinced. Still really liked it overall though. Fab review! :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Great review! After seeing this cover on your website, I immediately went to UK Amazon to buy it. lol So glad it's good! I can't wait to read it. Hmmm...kinda bummed the voice isn't YA realistic. Still, I'm looking forward to cracking the spine on this one! Great review :)

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it!

If you are a book blogger and have taken the time to comment, I will make sure to come visit your blog and return the favour. :)

Please note: This blog is now an award free zone. Thanks to everyone who has awarded the blog in the past.

Related Posts with Thumbnails