Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

 My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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.

The thing that grabs you into this story are the characters. Nora is fantastic, I almost wished we had been friends. Adriane is an oddity but acceptable as friends go. Chris, well, he's the boy that Nora doesn't want boyfriend-wise but he's brilliant as a best friend...and Max who made my heart skip a beat until he finally ripped it out...

This book is fantastic if you like an intellectual read. Set firstly in US and then tripping over to Prague we follow Nora's quest to uncover the Lumen Dei, an artifact that can talk to God. Or so we think. Actually we're not really sure what it does as I'm led to believe it's never actually been put into practise. Nora starts translating texts from an elusive Elizabeth Weston. We hear her story from the 16th century and her involvement and fathers incarceration at the Emperors behest. Soon, we uncover truths, lies, more mystery and find ourselves on a treasure hunt around the city.

The writing is exquisite. Moving from Nora to Elizabeth with ample descriptions and much more. When Chris is found dead you literally cannot put this book down! Every turn of the page could be another clue, another door opening to another mystery to solve and because of this I loved it.

My trust in the characters was stretched as Nora's POV was imaginative and eye opening. As a character she's pretty grounded and doesn't accept everything as it is.The down-side is only how the story travelled towards the end. I was a little disappointed but that's only my own opinion of which way the author led us. Others may agree that it was the right path.

But either way, this book should not be missed.

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