bloodFirst impression suggests that Robin Wasserman‘s Book of Blood and Shadow has a lot of similarities to Jennifer Donnelly’s fantastic Revolution:  a modern American teen girl whose brother has been tragically killed; a family torn apart by their overwhelming grief and inability to deal with the loss; finding solace in the letters (journal) of a seemingly inconsequential teen girl hundreds of years ago; and discovering clues to a long-forgotten mystery.   In The Book of Blood and Shadow, high school senior Nora thought she was signing up for an easy honors extra credit project – working with an eccentric Medieval Studies professor translating old Latin letters – but what she soon finds is that these letters are the key to a mysterious old book that may hold the secrets to contacting God directly.

When The Book of Blood and Shadow opens, Nora’s best friend Chris has been brutally murdered, his girlfriend Adrianne is catatonic and covered in blood, and Max, Chris’ quiet, sweet roommate, who has stolen Nora’s heart, is missing.   Even though everyone suspects that Max is the murderer, Nora knows that there’s something more sinister going on and rushes headlong into a dangerous underworld full of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, following the trail of blood no matter where it leads her.  Ultimately, she and Adrianne end up on the dark, secretive streets of Prague where her enemies are not who they seem to be, and everyone even remotely connected to The Book has been driven mad by the promise of  a machine will reveal all of God’s secrets to humankind.  Since there is no one Nora can trust in this deadly game, she must use the medieval letters, her wits and cunning, and a fair amount of luck, to unravel the secrets that people will kill for before she’s the one who ends up dead.

Readers who enjoyed books like The DaVinci Code and movies like The Ninth Gate will feel right at home in this shadowy world of occult magic, intrigue, and murder.  While Wasserman does create a mystery full of false leads, dead ends, and sinister secrets, overall I felt the plot and pacing to be so frenetic that there was no time to feel anything for Nora or any of the other characters.  If you’re looking for non-stop action and intrigue, The Book of Blood and Shadow is a solid choice.   Plus, a little Latin now and again never hurt anybody!

  • Posted by Cori

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