Word Spelunking

The Book of Blood and Shadow - Robin Wasserman Read the complete and original review at Word SpelunkingMY REVIEW: I’m conflicted when it comes to Robin Wasserman’s The Book of Blood and Shadow. I really wanted to love this book more than I did, but that’s not to say that I didn’t find it an enjoyable and impressive read.High school senior Nora, along with her BFF Chris and Chris’ roommate Max, intern with an odd history professor obsessed with a mysterious and untranslatable book. Nora’s given the task of translating, from Latin to English, the letters of Elizabeth, a young poet who’s been dead for hundreds of years. Nora and Max fall in love and she starts to think that maybe something will go right in her life for once. But then the professor is attacked, Chris is murdered and Max disappears. Nora and Adriane’s (Chris’ girlfriend) journey to clear Max’s name takes them to Prague where they find themselves embroiled in a battle between two old societies and on the run for their lives.I’ve seen many people call The Book of Blood and Shadow a YA version of The Da Vinci Code and I agree. This book is full of intrigue, mystery, secret codes and ciphers, murder and ancient societies. Overall, Wasserman offers readers a captivating and well written story, but it’s not without its faults.The first hundred pages or so move quite slowly, but I didn’t mind this languid pace so much. I think Wasserman does a great job of building the story’s foundation in these first hundred pages, while also developing the characters. And when the plot does start to build and pick up, I found myself easily pulled into the mystery and suspense; I desperately NEEDED to know all the answers.And the intriguing mystery Wasserman has created is smart, enthralling and well developed. I don’t want to talk about the actual storyline too much because I’m afraid I’ll spoiler readers, but I will say that the story takes many twists and turns and will leave you thoughtful and with a racing heart. I’m very impressed with Wasserman’s ability to craft a truly thrilling and clever mystery. However, I was disappointed that I was able to predict quite of few of the revelations and character twists.Wasserman’s characters are well developed and original, but I think much of my confliction about this book comes from my inability to really connect with the main character, Nora. I like how smart, capable and realistic Nora is, but I never found myself truly invested in her as a character. I love a sarcastic character, but I found Nora’s acerbic sarcastic humor more annoying than entertaining. In fact, I think much of the humor in the book falls flat.Chris, Adriane and Max all have interesting qualities and play significant roles throughout the book, but as with Nora, I just didn’t love them. Let’s just say that if Nora, Chris, Adriane and Max were real people, I probably wouldn’t hang out with them. One character I did love though is Eli! I found him very endearing, likable and a swoon-worthy guy.Wasserman has a habit of writing very long, winded sentences in this book; like paragraph sized sentences. And there are also some very long, winded descriptions as well. After a while I found this windedness to be very repetitive and made the story drag. Honestly, near the end of the book, I found myself merely skimming the long passages.I was a little disappointed by the ending and found it a bit lacking, I suppose. But I did like that most of the questions and mysteries were answered and solved.MY FINAL THOUGHTS: In The Book of Blood and Shadow author Robin Wasserman creates an intriguing, clever story that mystery lovers will enjoy getting caught up in. I found some of the characters hard to connect with and the winded writing style to be a bit too much at times, but overall I liked this book.

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