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The Book of Blood and Shadows Book Report

Robin Wasserman

YA Suspense/Thriller

April 10th, 2012

Rating: PG-13 (strictly for the violence)

Coffee Beans: 4.5/5

Spoilers: Nope

Favorite Line: “But things don’t just fall apart. People break them.” (pg 16, ebook), “Gone is gone.” (pg 89), “The sound that ripped open the night was the sound of my heart, screaming his name.” (pg 440, ebook)

Disclaimer: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for this honest review

  1. Awesome Book

  1. REALLY long book

  2. Awesome Book

  3. Worth the time to read the 450 pages

It’s amazing how quickly a 450 page book can read. I remember first seeing the synopsis for this book on NetGalley and thinking, “If only I would be so lucky to get this book!” Low and behold, here we are. The synopsis that grabbed my attention: 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 book starts off with a brief page of the MC – Nora – Looking back on how everything started, giving us hints about what’s to come. Now, I don’t like it when books do that. It lays the groundwork for me to potentially over think things and continually flip back to that page as I’m reading along, going, “What did that say again?” Anyway, it’s a small annoyance. One that can be easily overlooked. Things I liked:

  1. Wasserman is a superb storyteller, and I could tell right off the bat, she’d done her research for this book. Man, was their detail and history and facts under everything she gave me! I was impressed, and intrigued. The writing was well done, with a fun, somewhat snarky air to the protag. The characters were stong and believable, the only one I wish I’d had more of was Chris, and he was the one who murdered.

  1. I immediately connected with the voice of the narrator, Nora. She was real and entirely human. Her reactions, thinking, actions. All were things a real person in that situation might do.

  2. The delivery of backstory was delivered very smoothly and in a layered way.

  3. A character’s line about college. It made me laugh. Here it is: “Young man, no one else is going to tell you the truth, so allow me. Your education is a joke. Your classes lack quality and depth, and even if you were learning from the Athenian masters themselves, do you really think the world needs yet another term paper on the themes of proto-feminist rage in Macbeth or the structural causes of World War One? IT’s busywork, son. It’s a scam to trade your tuition money for a piece of paper that will let you go work at a bank or some company for the rest of your life, pretending that because you once read Plato, you can call yourself an educated man.” (pg 70, ebook)

  4. Coining the phrase “like at first sight”

  5. There’s a scene where Nora’s sneaking around someplace and she’s on the verge of getting caught. But she has her cell! Oh, no!!!!! Nora takes it out, covers the speaker and carefully turns the volume down. One point for team Thank-You-For-Addressing-The-Obvious!

  6. Her great descriptions and imagery

  7. There were parts (pg 323, ebook) that made me laugh outloud

What I didn’t Like

  1. The cover. Besides the fact that it really has nothing to do with the story, t looks amateurish. Based on the cover alone, if I’d seen this in the bookstore, I would’ve thought: A) middle-grade novel B) Not a thriller. It makes me sad because looking at her website, at her books’ other covers, it could be so much more.

  1. There were some reactions that Nora had (though not many) I felt she compartmentalized too easily. I would have liked to have seen some emotion before she locked it away in an attempt to survive.

  2. It was really long for a YA book. Yeah, I know, there are plenty of books out there that are around this length (Twilight, City of series, etc), but for the most part, those are drivel, mindless reads that you can just breeze by because there’s not very much substance there (don’t get mad, you know it’s true. I still like those books, but it’s true). At times, Book of Blood almost felt too long. But I couldn’t imagine it being any shorter. Everything that was said, needed to be said(okay, maybe she could’ve done without some of those philosophical monologues towards the end there. I skimmed those). Anyway, I breezed through 121 pages in just a couple of hours.

  3. There were a couple of events (one in particular, page 169 ebook for those of you who’ve read the book, BUT DON’T SKIP AHEAD TO FIND OUT WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT IF YOU HAVEN’T GOTTEN THERE YET! You’ll ruin a huge plot point and I don’t want you crying to me because you ruined that part of the story. :)) that seemed to come out of the blue, and I was convinced there were pages missing from my ebook preparing me for what I’d just read.

  4. The really long sentences

Now, as always, heed my advice and go forth and read this book yourself. As for me, it was a good investment of time and I’ll be recommending it to friends for sure. Happy reading, my friends!

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