Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

After two checkouts from the library, I have finally finished The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman. I found the first 100 pages great. But sadly, the last 2/3rds of this read dragged--hence the double check out. But in the name of YAF and WS, I persevered.

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 (GoodReads).

                 The Book of Blood and ShadowThe Book of Blood and Shadow

           Which cover do you like better? I like the bridge version, since it fits the plot. That face is odd.

Level of Originality: 6. As a history nerd, I love the idea of mysteries surrounding archival research, like A Discovery of Witches and The DaVinci Code. I find these stories are detailed and original in how they weave history, conspiracies, and a bit of the paranormal. If you like historical fiction, you might want to get a hold of this, since a fair amount of the book is "excerpts" of  a centuries-old diary.
Level of Absurdity: 4. I know a plot that involves high schoolers solving a centuries-old mystery while on the run in Prague SHOULD be high on the absurd charts, this well-plotted story saved me from eye rolls.
Level of Paranormal Romance: 3.  Chris is great but dead for most of the book, Max is a snore, and Eli  has NINJA skills and tattoos. Clearly my fave boy in the book is Eli, although he is not strictly a love interest. I was not taken with Max nor do I think he is much of a "Prince Charming."
Level of Harry-Potterness: 4. A couple points here reflect the castles of Prague (which reminds me of Hogwarts, yay), but the writing didn't grab me. The reason is I prefer the Prague of  The Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I was drooling over how gorgeous and Gothic the city is in Laini Taylor's beautiful prose, but here the city remains gritty.


  1. I really loved this one, but agree that it sort of dragged towards the end. I think what made it dull for me was the overabundance of the letters and historical stuff. Other than that, loved it. I like that you compare it to Daughter of Smoke and Bone; I liked seeing the other side of Prague in Book, the dirty, gritty side as opposed to the pretty side in Daughter. Either way, made me want to go there!

  2. Tattoos and ninja skills? I wanted to read this already, but now I'm sold.


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