I’m kind of ashamed to admit this, but I really liked The Da Vinci Code when it came out. So much so that I read Foucault’s Pendulum and Holy Blood, Holy Grail and even wrote a college paper on the Knights Templar. To say that I enjoy conspiracy theory is an understatement. You guys, I am SO glad that The Book Of Blood And Shadow by Robin Wasserman is published in 2012 and not 2003 because with how deftly Robin Wasserman handles secret societies, I would have inevitably been disappointed in the aforementioned books. Since you know, a really great book can ruin other similar books for you.
Nora, main character of The Book of Blood And Shadow goes to a private school to escape her dead brother’s legacy at the public school. There, she is BFF with a boy named Chris who knows about her bother and his girlfriend, the garish Adriane. Chris graduates and enrolls in local college where he assists a crack pot professor in translating Latin texts. Nora, still in high school, does an internship with the professor as well and so does Chris’s roommate who is Nora’s eventual boyfriend, Max. One night Nora translates a very old letter penned by Elizabeth Weston who comes to prominence in the book. The letter connects to the Voynich manuscript which is kind of a big deal and oh yeah the translation sort of results in murder and some international travel as Nora and crew race to find the identity of the murderer AND to assemble this artifact called the Lumen Dei.
I am pretty sure The Book Of Blood And Shadow by Robin Wasserman was written for me. No joke, it contains THINGS I LOVE: Conspiracies, secrets, BETRAYALS OMG, cryptology, history, chemistry and BIG HUGE PLOT TWISTS. Plus, the vast majority is set in Prague which is like #1 on my places to visit. Y’all I was shocked at how quickly I read The Book Of Blood And Shadow, it’s practically a doorstopper at 432 pages.
A large part of my shock is because the language in The Book Of Blood And Shadow is not at all breezy. Like, I would say that Wasserman’s style feels sort of literary and I actually really like that. It reads as though there’s a certain polish and elegance to the words. But, I was never bored with it. Although, I imagine that the hunt for the Lumen Dei machine had a huge role in this.
I straight up loved The Book Of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman. I loved the device of Weston’s letters. I love the conspiracy and how everything connected. I loved how imperfect the characters were and how I thought a few of them were definitely terrible people. I loved how much I was into Eli (TRUST). Friends, THIS is what I want more of in YA: awesome writing, historical ties and most of all MORE PRAGUE PLEASE.
Disclosure: Received for review via Netgalley.