Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
Release Date: April 10, 2012
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
 
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.com
 
This book is being touted as a DaVinci Code-like story, and it definitely did have that same feel to it.  I had some trouble getting into this book though.  I think the problem, for me, was that the story just started in the wrong place.  There was so much time spent with Nora and her friends, the other main players, conducting their research, which, granted, was at the heart of the central conflict.  And I did get that these things really needed to be revealed in order for the rest of the story, the danger, and the conflicts to make sense, but I felt like these things could have been revealed a bit differently.  I would have liked to see the story start at the moment of Chris's death.  The author could have then gotten us immediately into the danger, peppering in some flashbacks, perhaps, in order to acquaint us with what's happened leading up to this scene.  The way it was done though slowed things down for me more than a little. 
 
I liked Nora as a character, and I loved Chris, but I wasn't crazy about Max or Adriane.  Adriane and her attitude often really got on my nerves.  My favorite part of the story was the mysterious guy that follows them to Prague.  When they met him is when my interest was really captured.  He was interesting, mysterious, and I knew there was more to him than we were led to believe.
 
One aspect I really did enjoy about the story was the treasure hunt-like clues and search.  That really got me involved in the story and kept the suspense going. 
 
All in all, after a slow start, the story eventually grabbed me and the story delivered.
 
 
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