Author: Robin Wasserman
Date of Publication: January 19, 2012
Buy This Book: Amazon
Formats Available: Hardcover, Paperback, E-Book
Synopsis: 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.
Once upon a time I probably would have really liked this book, however the more I read the pickier I become on what really qualifies as "good" and this novel just didn't quite make the cut. Even though I liked the premise I just couldn't get myself into the story, I didn't like the characters and I had a hard time understanding the plot, making me so frustrated that by the end I was skimming pages just so I could be done.
I really wanted to like Nora and the other characters, but in the end I just didn't. Nora was whiny and self-centered and each of the other characters had their annoying little quirks that started to really get to me. One of the biggest reasons I felt as though this novel dragged so much was because I felt no emotional connection to any of the characters. I didn't care what happened to them or what they were doing no matter how hard I tried, in the end I just gave up on trying to like them at all.
I will say that The Book of Blood and Shadow was extremely original with a good mystery. The Prague setting added a spark of danger and murkiness to the story that just wouldn't be the same with any other setting. Wasserman did an excellent job setting up the tone of the novel and I loved the feel of the novel. But even with murders, romance, European cities, and mysterious clues the novel just wasn't interesting enough to keep me entertained.
As I said the plot had potential but in the end it just didn't pan out. At times I felt confused by the complexity of the plot and had a hard time following what was going on, especially toward the end. Another thing that really threw me off was the amount of foreign language in this novel. While I generally love different languages so much of the novel was in either Latin or Czech that I felt annoyed with how many paragraphs I had to just skip because I didn't know what they were saying.
Even though I wouldn't necessarily say The Book of Blood and Shadow is a bad book, because I can understand how someone could love it, I didn't really like it. It had its moments but overall it just wasn't my cup of tea. Young adults who love a good mystery may want to check this one out but adult fans of YA may want to skip this one.