Friday, April 6, 2012

Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow

The Book of Blood and Shadow
The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 Stars!
GoodReads Synopsis: 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.

My Thoughts: This was my first Robin Wasserman book. I’ve had a few of her others on my “to read” list for quite a while, but just never had the time. Now that I’ve read “Blood and Shadow” I’ve moved some of her other books higher up on the list and am on the lookout for those that I don’t have!

Wasserman created an incredible renaissance world where men tried to create a bridge between God and Man. The amount of research that she had to do to create this world and make it as credible as it was had to be staggering…and has blown my mind! I hesitate to use other books to describe this, but am going to anyway. This felt like a YA “Da Vinci Code”…and I can hope Dan Brown lovers will give this wonderful story a try.

We have Nora, a high school senior, who is fluent in Latin, thanks to her Latin Professor father. Nora is incredibly smart if a little na├»ve. She’s not had much experience with boys even though her best friend is one. She has a tendency to hide behind the death of her older brother…sometimes she uses it as an excuse to try something new, and other times as an excuse to not try something. She is tasked with translating some letters from the daughter of the man the rest of the team is researching. It’s through these letters that she feels a kinship with the author and is able to start picking up on nuances that lead the team in the right direction.

The story is incredibly complex, and I must say I was confused a bit in the beginning. I read the first 4 chapters about 3 times to makes sure I understood who the characters were. Maybe I was having a “bad brain” day. My only other real complaint is that some of the letters from Elisabeth got a little long. There is so much mystery and intrigue in this story, and the pace is fast. Get on and hold on!

This is the second book I’ve read that has a lot of the story taking place in Prague, the other being “Daughter of Smoke and Bone”, by Laini Taylor…and both these authors have done such a wonderful job of describing the beauty therein that I’ve added it to my bucket list. It sounds like such a wonderful and beautiful city!

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