The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
Way over-Shopped big face…seriously, when you hold it in your hand, you can see the lines where the Photoshopping was insufficiently blended. The shadow effect on her cheek is cool, but the only thing I really love is the reflection in her eye.
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.
Wait…is this a standalone teen novel (that is not a contemporary romance)? How is this possible? It certainly seems to be true, both by the ending, and by the fact that the author’s website is devoid of any mention of a sequel.
This is one of my favorite books of the year so far.
Mystery! There are actually multiple related mysteries within the story, and since all of them are twisted up together and are actually difficult to figure out, the book kept me guessing the whole time!
Secret Societies! There are powerful, connected people who want the information Nora has, and they are truly menacing.
Complex characters! The main characters are real people, and you don’t always know who’s in the right, who’s in the wrong, or who you can trust.
Prague! I only spent a weekend there once, but it is a wonderful, beautiful city, full of history and wonder.
Historicity! I love when authors write about real historical figures and what could possibly be true about them (always provided that they have some sort of author’s note to distinguish where records end and their imagination begins).
I’ve seen a lot of people who compare this book to The da Vinci Code. My problem with this comparison is not that it is inaccurate, per se, only that it gives a wrong idea of the complexity and skill Wasserman has infused into Blood and Shadow. Having read both books, Blood and Shadow is the clear winner in terms of historicity, characterization, mystery design, heck, even the vocabulary level is higher! And yet, somehow, Dan Brown’s book is the “adult” novel.
Anyway, enough about Mr. Brown. This book had me captivated from beginning to end. The action moves quickly, yet Wasserman is not afraid to slow down for a contemplative moment or a love scene. Yes, there’s romance, but it is not in any way the focus of the book. Basically, go out and read this now!
Borrowed from work.