Sunday, April 8, 2012

Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

The Book of Blood and Shadow 
by Robin Wasserman
Published: April 10, 2012
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Available: Amazon


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.


I had really high hopes for this book. The cover is stunning and just left me with a strong idea of what to expect. The synopsis sounded really interesting. Sadly, for me it didn't live up to my expectations. That's not to say it's a bad book, far from it, but it just wasn't what I expected and that left me disappointed.

What didn't work for me was the constant info dumps. There were lots of them, and if you have no interest in the history of the late 1500's you'll probably do what I was so tempted to - skip page after page of it. Oh, it's well written and it is tied to the plot, but it just seemed to take up space that the book could have done without considering it's 448 page count.

There were good things about the book, and they are what kept me reading. Despite the issues I had with the slow plot, I did enjoy the mystery of what the machine was, what it's purpose was, and who was willing to kill for it. Wasserman also gives us tons of twists and keeps us guessing about who Nora should trust and what their motives were. I just wish the first half of the book had been more condensed, so that the twists came a bit earlier.

Overall, this was a good read and I did enjoy it. I would definitely recommend this for anyone who likes to read about history and in-depth mysteries.

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