April 10th, 2012
448 pages (hardcover)
Publisher - Random House
Source - Netgalley
...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 of Blood and Shadow rightly deserves to be referred to as The DaVinci Code for YA literature. It's smart, entertaining, and wonderfully written. Wasserman takes her time to build Nora's character (along with Adriane, Chris, Max, and eventually, Eli). When the story truly begins, you cannot help but to root for Nora and admire her tenacity as she delves deeper into the mystery at hand. Every letter leads to another exciting clue, as well as to more danger for the characters involved. If you love a good mystery with plenty of surprises, then definitely check this novel out.
Highlights: The Book of Blood and Shadow captivated me from start to finish. Once the mysteries began, the intensity never let up. The best compliment I can pay this story is that everything felt real - the mystery and history, the clues, the emotions, the characters, and the settings. There's fun banter between characters. I enjoyed having a narrator with an exceptional vocabulary. Also, the surprises and twists!
Lowlights: For the first half, this story feels like a very long book. I wish some parts had been shortened a bit. Also, the summary makes you think that Chris is dead when the book begins - but he's actually alive for quite some time, so I felt like that was misleading and frustrating (since I knew what was coming).