Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review: Blackwood by Gwenda Bond

by Gwenda Bond
Published: September 4, 2012
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Available: Amazon


On Roanoke Island, the legend of the 114 people who mysteriously vanished from the Lost Colony hundreds of years ago is just an outdoor drama for the tourists, a story people tell. But when the island faces the sudden disappearance of 114 people now, an unlikely pair of 17-year-olds may be the only hope of bringing them back.

Miranda, a misfit girl from the island’s most infamous family, and Phillips, an exiled teen criminal who hears the voices of the dead, must dodge everyone from federal agents to long-dead alchemists as they work to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony. The one thing they can’t dodge is each other.

Blackwood is a dark, witty coming of age story that combines America’s oldest mystery with a thoroughly contemporary romance.

For some reason I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed Blackwood. I wasn't expecting to not like it, so maybe it was because it had been a while since I requested it and downloaded it that I'd forgotten what it was that had intrigued me. Whatever it was, I'm glad that I finally sat down and read it.

Blackwood manages to walk a fine line between creepy and creeping me out. I hate ghost movies and books, simply because to me of all paranormal activity it seems most likely. When Bond first introduces the paranormal to the book, the main character Miranda believes that she has hallucinated it, yet she doesn't need to suffer thinking that long, because Bond moves the plot along quickly. The fast pace doesn't let up much and it made for a really fast read. I finished in one sitting of maybe 3 or 4 hours.

Miranda is an outcast in her small town. She is harassed and bullied, yet she is not a victim. She hits back (verbally) and doesn't wallow in self-pity. I liked that she stood up for herself when she felt like it and ignored the bullies when she didn't. Phillips was a bit harder to connect with. I felt that when in his perspective it was further removed from him than when in Miranda's perspective. There seemed to be so much more to his character than we get to see and I wish Bond had revealed more about him.

The one thing that kept me from absolutely loving this was the lack of depth in Miranda's dealing with her father's death. She alternates between being sad, devastated, and coming forgetting about it. Considering he was an inattentive, negligent, alcoholic father, I could have believed her lack of emotions at certain times, if it had been consistent.

Overall, Blackwood was a good read, and I think it has potential to appeal to some male readers as well since it alternates perspectives and the focus is on the ghost mystery and not some insta-love.

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