The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
The Skinny: Nora finds her best friend Chris dead in a pool of blood; his girlfriend Adriane nearly catatonic; and her boyfriend Max has fled the country, accused of murdering Chris. Now, using clues she has found hidden in old letters written by a woman named Elizabeth and a mysterious postcard from Max, Nora is led to Prague, where secret societies and conspiracies abound. She discovers tale of the Lumen Dei, a device thought to communicate with God, and is pitted against the group who seeks the device and power and the group who wants it destroyed.
BFF?: Nora was a very likable character to me. She wasn’t definitely this or totally that. She wasn’t even really that memorable. But for some reason I completely connected with her. Nora was pretty jaded about some things – God, love, trust. You could tell she’d been hurt deeply and sometimes was just barely hanging on. I loved how deeply she felt, how she stuck to her guns. I would most definitely want to be BFFs with her… and maybe replace that darn Adriane!
Readability: While I got into this book fairly easily, there were some moments that I felt like I was just staring at the page and moving my eyes. Not that it wasn’t interesting, but because it was SO MANY WORDS! (yes, I realize how dumb that sounds) While I can’t think of a single scene that I would suggest being cut or reduced, I think the thing that “bore” me were the letters Elizabeth wrote.
Crush Level: 5 -> 7 ->4 -> 7
As you can see, my crush levels were all over the place. Our first love interest, Max, started out kind of average.. he’s a cute, nerdy guy. But then he gets sort of hot… in that nerdy Cricket Bell kind of way. I loved how he was with Nora, sweet and sexy and mmm. But then… well then he got kind of douchey. All touchy and doing stuff he kept having to apologize for. Quite honestly, got on my nerves. Which brings us to our next love interest – who really was not a love interest for Nora, but whatever. Her loss. Eli. First off… Eli? Lovely name. He’s this mysterious cousin of Chris’ who shows up after his murder and basically weasels his way into Nora’s adventures. Oh… and he’s hot.
I, no joke, highlighted half this book because it was chock full of great lines! Here are some of my favorites:
“Even under the best circumstances, middle school is a sixth-circle-of-hell situation, sandwiched somewhere between flaming tombs and flesh-eating harpies”
“You don’t even realize you’re living in a before until you wake up one day and find yourself in an after.”
“If something is true, you shouldn’t have to believe in it. You should be able to know.”
The DaVinci Code
I absorbed The DaVinci Code like a sponge when I read it. This book, while a little more… shall we say phantasmagorical (I love that word!), was definitely similar to TDVC. Religious mysteries, secret societies, puzzles and riddles… I LOVED all these things!
I mentioned during my review of Daughter of Smoke and Bone that I loved Prague being the setting. This book was no different. What I loved most about it though was that we got to see another side of the city – the dirtier side. The one filled with religious mystery, filled with a past of bloodshed and terror. Although definitely darker, seeing this side of the city made it much more beautiful and appealing to me.
BBS: “I think maybe that word doesn’t mean what you think it means.”
Inigo: “I do not think it means what you think it means.”
Commencement Speech: For about the first many chapters I wasn’t really sure what this book was about. I was completely enthralled by it, but still felt like I wasn’t quite getting it. Have I mentioned I LOVE reading like that? One thing that I really did love about this book was that it focused on actual events. The woman from the letters – Elizabeth – really did exist, as did her father. I think it’s really more than clever to take actual historical figures and events and weave them into a work of fiction, using them as the basis of a plot. I loved all the plot twists and turns, how things caught me by surprise and left me with eyes wide open. Trust me when I say there were many, MANY of these!
The only downside to this book was that it was kind of lengthy in the use of the letters from Elizabeth. Although I really appreciated her back story and explanation of the history of the Lumen Dei, I just couldn’t seem to concentrate on them because of how long they were. That and I was mostly ready to get back to the action and suspense of the book!
The Book of Blood and Shadow was a fantastic book for those who enjoyed The DaVinci Code and books with religious mystery overtones. I am so one of those people!
Yearbook Quote: “Better to be slain by an arrow than by the words of the one I most trusted.”
Superlatives – Most likely to not feature lame Tom Hanks hair