The Book of Blood and Shadow

The Book of Blood and Shadow

by Robin Wasserman

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375899614
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 04/10/2012
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 1,023,213
Lexile: 900L (what's this?)
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Robin Wasserman is the author of the Seven Deadly Sins series, Hacking Harvard, and the Skinned trilogy, which bestselling author Scott Westerfeld called "spellbinding." She has a master's degree in the history of science, and is fascinated by Renaissance philosophy, religion, magic, science, and the interplay among them. She lives in Brooklyn.

Read an Excerpt

1

I should probably start with the blood.

If it bleeds it leads and all that, right? It’s all anyone ever wants to know about, anyway. What did it look like? What did it feel like? Why was it all over my hands? And the mystery blood, all those unaccounted-for antibodies, those faceless corkscrews of DNA--who left them behind?

But beginning with that night, with the blood, means that Chris will never be anything more than a corpse, bleeding out all over his mother’s travertine marble, Adriane nothing but a dead-eyed head case, rocking and moaning, her clothes soaked in his blood, her face paper white with that slash of red razored into her cheek. If I started there, Max would be nothing but a void. Null space; vacuum and wind.

Maybe that part would be right.

But not the rest of it. Because that wasn’t the beginning, any more than it was the end. It was--note the brilliant deductive reasoning at work here--the middle. The center of gravity around which we all spiraled, but none of us could see. The center cannot hold, Max liked to say, back when things were new and quoting poetry seemed a suitably ironic way to declare our love. Things fall apart.

But things don’t just fall apart. People break them.



2

In the beginning was the Book.

“Seven hundred years old.” The Hoff slammed it down so hard the table rattled. “Imagine that.”

Apparently noting our lack of awe, he dropped a liver-spotted fist onto the book with nearly as much force. “Do so now.” He swiveled his head to glare at each of us in turn, neck veins bulging with the effort. “Close your eyes. Imagine a scribe in a dark, windowless room. Imagine his quill, scratching across the page, transcribing his secrets--his God, his magic, his power, his blood. Imagine, for just one moment, that you will be the one to reach across the ages and make this manuscript yield its treasure.” He drew a baby-blue handkerchief from his breast pocket and hocked a thick wad of phlegm into its center. “Imagine what it might be like if your sad, small lives were actually worth something.”

I closed my eyes, as ordered. And imagined, in glorious detail, the tortures I would impose on Chris as soon as we escaped from this musty dungeon of mad professors and ancient books.

“Trust me,” Chris had said, promising me a genial old man with twinkling grandfather eyes and a Santa laugh. The Hoff was, according to Chris, a bearded marshmallow, hovering on the verge of senility, with little inclination to force his research assistants to show up on time, or, for the most part, show up at all. This was supposed to be my senior-year gift to myself, a thrice-weekly escape from the ever-constricting halls of Chapman Prep into the absentminded bosom of ivy-covered academia, a string of lazy afternoons complete with snacking, lounging, and the occasional nap. Not to mention, Chris had pointed out as my pen hovered over the registration form, “the opportunity to spend quality time with your all-time favorite person, otherwise known as me.” Not that this was in short supply, as his freshman dorm was about a hundred yards from my high school locker. The only problem with the dorm was having to put up with the presence of his roommate, who resolutely kept himself on his side of the room while keeping his owlish eyes on us.

And now that same roommate stared at me from across the table, the final member of “our intrepid archival team.” Another detail Chris had conveniently neglected to mention. Chris assured me that Max didn’t intend to be creepy, and was, when no one else was watching, almost normal. But then, Chris liked everyone. And his credibility was slipping by the minute.

The Hoff--Chris had coined the nickname last year, when he’d been the one whiling away his senior year with the get-out-of-jail-free pass commonly known as supervised independent study--passed around the Book. “Decades’ worth of experts have tried to crack the code,” he said as we flipped through page after page of incomprehensible symbols. More than two hundred pages of them, broken only by elaborate illustrations of flowers and animals and astronomical phenomena that apparently had no counterparts in the real world. “Historians, cryptographers, mathematicians, the NSA’s best code breakers gave it all they had, but the Voynich manuscript refused to yield. Mr. Lewis!”

We all flinched. The Hoff snarled, revealing a mouthful of jagged teeth, sharp as fangs and--judging from his expression--soon to be applied to a similar purpose. “That is not how one handles a valuable book.”

Max, who had been rifling through the pages like it was a flip-book, rested his hands flat on the table. Behind his glasses, his eyes were wide. “Sorry,” he said quietly. Aside from the soft “Hi” I’d gotten when we were introduced, it was the first time I’d heard him speak.

I cleared my throat. “It’s not a valuable book,” I told the Hoff. “It’s a copy of a valuable book. If he ruined it, I’m sure he could scrounge up the twenty bucks to pay you back.”

The real thing, with its crumbling seven-hundred-year-old pages and fading seven-hundred-year-old ink, was safely ensconced in a Yale library, eighty miles to the south, where faculty didn’t have to settle for high-school-age researchers or cheap facsimiles. The Hoff closed his eyes for a moment, and I suspected he was putting his own imagination to the test, pretending away whatever scandal had stripped him of his Harvard tenure and dumped him here to rot at a third-rate college in a third-rate college town for the rest of his academic life.

Thanks, Max mouthed, an instant before the Hoff opened his eyes and resumed his glare.

“All books are valuable,” the professor said. But he didn’t press it.

I decided the roommate wasn’t so bad when he smiled.

The meeting lasted for another hour, but the Hoff gave up on his dreamlike rambling and instead stuck to logistics, explaining his significant research and our minimal--“but absolutely essential!”--part in it. He’d just weaseled a collection of letters out of some wealthy widow, and was convinced they contained the secret to decoding the Book. (It was always the Book when he spoke of it, capital B implicit in the hushed voice, and we followed suit, ironically at first, then later out of habit and grudging respect.) Max and Chris would be put to work indexing and translating the bulk of the collection, searching for clues. I, on the other hand, was assigned a “special” project all my own.

“Most of the letters are written by Edward Kelley,” the Hoff explained. “Personal alchemist to the Holy Roman emperor. Many believe he authored the Book himself. But I believe his contribution is both lesser and greater. I think he got his hands on it, and solved it. And now we will follow in his footsteps.” He pointed at me. “Ms. Kane.”

“Nora,” I said.

“Ms. Kane, you will deal with the letters written by Kelley’s daughter, Elizabeth Weston, which seem to have found their way into the collection by mistake. I doubt they contain anything of use, but nonetheless, we must be thorough.”

Unbelievable. I could translate twice as fast and three times as accurately as Chris could, and if the Hoff had even bothered to glance at my Latin teacher’s recommendation, he’d know it. “Is this because I’m a woman?”

Chris snorted.

“I can take the Elizabeth letters if Nora doesn’t want them,” Max said. “It’s okay with me.”

Thank you, I would have liked to mouth, returning the favor, but the Hoff was watching. And his face was a storm cloud. “I mind. This kind of work requires a certain . . . maturity. Elizabeth’s letters will give Ms. Kane ample practice in historical translation while the two of you help me with the real search.”

Admittedly, if you’d asked me five minutes earlier, I would have said I didn’t care whether I was translating important letters, pointless letters, or a sixteenth-century grocery list. But then the Hoff opened his big, fat, sexist, ageist--whatever -ist was conscribing me to uselessness--mouth.

“So it’s because I’m in high school?” I added. “You know, it’s not fair to judge me based on--”

“Do you want to be a member of this team or not, Ms. Kane?”

I could have enlightened him on the difference between want and need, as in wanting to be at Adriane’s house mopping up her latest micro-drama, or in Chris’s dorm room watching TV (or at least trying to, while pretending not to notice Chris and Adriane making out behind me and Max doing his spook stare from across the room), basically wanting to be anywhere else, but needing the credits for graduation and the bullet point for my college applications.

“I do, Professor Hoffpauer.”

“Good.” He stood up and, with stiff, awkward contortions, folded himself into a bulky wool topcoat. “The collection will be waiting here for you tomorrow afternoon. Christopher has a key to the office and will show you proper document-handling protocol.”

“The archive’s not being housed in the rare-books library?” Max asked.

“As if I’d let that harpy get her hands on these?” the Hoff said. He narrowed his eyes. “Not a word to her about this. Or to anyone, for that matter. I won’t have someone taking this away from me. They’re everywhere, you know.”

“Who?” Max asked. Chris just shook his head, knowing better.

“Young man--” The Hoff lowered his voice and leaned toward Max, casting a shadow across the Book. “You don’t want to know.”

It was a close call, but we managed to hold our laughter until he was out of the room.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Kirkus Reviews Best of Teen's Books 2012

Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, February 13, 2012:
“Readers who enjoy fast-paced, bloody, historically inflected thrillers in the vein of Dan Brown will be riveted.”

Review, Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2011:
"Here's something refreshing—a religious-historical thriller . . . serving up shivery suspense, sans fangs or fur . . . A classy read that repays reader effort."

Review, Justine Magazine, February / March 2012:
“A must read for fans of Revolution and The DaVinci Code . . . fast-paced and vivid."

Review, A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy blog, SchoolLibraryJournal.com, March 28, 2012:
"I fell for The Book of Blood and Shadow at the first sentence . . . part of the wonder of The Book of Blood and Shadow is the twists and turns it takes . . .a favorite book read in 2012."

Review, The Horn Book Magazine, March 1, 2012:
"This is a thorough mixture of contemporary American adolescence, the sixteenth-century occult, and atmospheric, historical substance, all dished up with a convoluted plot in DaVinci Code mode."

“A lushly drawn mystery of manipulation and desire."
—Holly Black, author of Black Heart

"Genuinely thrilling. This is the historical conspiracy you've been waiting for."
—Maureen Johnson, author of The Name of the Star

Customer Reviews

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The Book of Blood and Shadow 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
mrsinserra More than 1 year ago
This book was better than I expected it to be, but not as great as everyone says it is. The book of Blood and Shadow is full of twists and turns and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. It is a mystery, historical fiction, and love story all rolled into one. Nora is a likable character, but is also a bit dim witted at times. There are so many things that have been going on around her that she somehow never saw or never realized were happening, it is just insane. I got annoyed by her pretty quick. Adriane is not at all likable, she seemed spoiled and obviously thought she could do whatever she wanted and didn’t care who she hurt in the process. Max- well- I’m not sure how he fooled everyone so well. All these people, Chris included, were supposed to be Nora’s best friends but yet she knew nothing about any of them in the end. I wasn’t sure whether to be annoyed at Nora’s stupidity, or sad that she somehow never knew any of her “friends” at all. Even though this does not seem like a review with flying colors, overall The Book of Blood and Shadow was a good read. It was both entertaining and fresh. I have not read anything like it before. Now it does have similarities to some popular movies and some would say, another well known book, but I saw it mostly as an original work that is worth reading. I would recommend this book to older high school student through adults. Both males and female would probably enjoy this book. There is violence and references to sex, but nothing graphic. I received this book as an ARC. I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy and also to assist parents and teachers in recommending appropriate books for your kids to read. Please read more of my reviews on my blog: sarahereads(dot)wordpress(dot)com
bkwormblogger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.Review: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 tranlating 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.
ltcl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Book of Blood and Shadow has a Dan Brown feel to it but it written in a way that will speak to young adults. We have a trio of teens - two that are in love and Nora who is best friends with Adriane but also loves Chris and feels like the third wheel at times. All their lives are thrown out of balance when Nora begins to unravel a centuries old secret manuscript that Chris is murdered for. Nora's boyfriend, Max is missing and considered to be the only suspect. Nora, Adriane and Eli will then travel to Prague to uncover the secret of the ancient Lumen Dei and find Max before the secret sect finds them first. The story moves well and jumps back between modern day and old Prague through Elizabeth's letters. I enjoy historical fiction with a twist and I think there are readers of all ages who will enjoy the mystery.
Stephanie_Ward on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Where do I begin with this book? I literally could not put this book down. Any time I had a spare second - I would be reading this book. This was hands down one of the best books I've read so far this year. It's like a YA Da Vinci Code. I loved the mysterious plot that kept you guessing - there were so many twists and turns. Wasserman keeps you on your toes until the last page. The story is very well-written and is original - especially in the YA genre. The characters are complex and deep - you feel the pain and confusion that Nora goes through so easily. It was like I was inside her head - but it felt authentic, not scripted. Like the things the characters did and said would actually occur in real life - it wasn't phony at all. The story takes place in the U.S. and in Europe - which gives it a good feel of setting - especially with all the historic background that goes into the plot. The book flows really naturally and well - it's a fast-paced mystery that had me struggling to pinpoint the "bad guy" and trying to understand what could possibly be going on. Overall - READ THIS BOOK! You will not regret it.
psteinke1122 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
4.5 Stars!GoodReads 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.My Thoughts: This was my first Robin Wasserman book. I¿ve had a few of her others on my ¿to read¿ list for quite a while, but just never had the time. Now that I¿ve read ¿Blood and Shadow¿ I¿ve moved some of her other books higher up on the list and am on the lookout for those that I don¿t have!Wasserman created an incredible renaissance world where men tried to create a bridge between God and Man. The amount of research that she had to do to create this world and make it as credible as it was had to be staggering¿and has blown my mind! I hesitate to use other books to describe this, but am going to anyway. This felt like a YA ¿Da Vinci Code¿¿and I can hope Dan Brown lovers will give this wonderful story a try.We have Nora, a high school senior, who is fluent in Latin, thanks to her Latin Professor father. Nora is incredibly smart if a little naïve. She¿s not had much experience with boys even though her best friend is one. She has a tendency to hide behind the death of her older brother¿sometimes she uses it as an excuse to try something new, and other times as an excuse to not try something. She is tasked with translating some letters from the daughter of the man the rest of the team is researching. It¿s through these letters that she feels a kinship with the author and is able to start picking up on nuances that lead the team in the right direction.The story is incredibly complex, and I must say I was confused a bit in the beginning. I read the first 4 chapters about 3 times to makes sure I understood who the characters were. Maybe I was having a ¿bad brain¿ day. My only other real complaint is that some of the letters from Elisabeth got a little long. There is so much mystery and intrigue in this story, and the pace is fast. Get on and hold on!This is the second book I¿ve read that has a lot of the story taking place in Prague, the other being ¿Daughter of Smoke and Bone¿, by Laini Taylor¿and both these authors have done such a wonderful job of describing the beauty therein that I¿ve added it to my bucket list. It sounds like such a wonderful and beautiful city!
DarkFaerieTales on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie TalesQuick & Dirty: A young adult Da Vinci Code that kept me turning pages as Nora tries to clear the name of Max, her fairy tale Prince Charming. This book has an understated beginning that fills the reader with tension because you know something major is just around the corner.Opening Sentence: I should probably start with the blood.The Review:There¿s a difference between slow and cryptic. The very first sentence of this book is what keeps the first few sections (I hesitate to use the word chapters) from being boring. You read the first page and immediately know the middle of the book. Who¿s dead, who¿s not, but what you don¿t know if why Nora is covered in blood. Why they were in a position to be killed in the first place. So Nora takes you back to her senior year of high school at Chapman Prep, to her broken family as they grieve for her dead brother Andy, and to the first time Nora learns about The Book.The Book (Always Said In Capitals) is the Voynich manuscript. Professor Hoffpauer, who was supposed to be the perfect teacher for her easy senior year, is obsessed with deciphering this manuscript as much as with keeping it a secret. Despite her expert skills in Latin translating¿her father was once a professor in Latin¿The Hoff puts her in charge of letters from Elizabeth Weston. The daughter of Edward Kelley, who may have authored The Book, her letters may not even be significant. These 400 year old letters are nearly as exciting as the manuscript, or as important. Nora is furious that the Hoff has written off her skills, and this is where her story really begins. Because the more Nora translates, the more parallels between Elizabeth¿s life and her own become clear. Then the Hoff is attacked, has a stroke and the letters disappear along with the manuscript. Except for the one Nora had to take with her, couldn¿t stop herself from taking. But if she tells Chris she has it, then it¿s not so bad. Then it¿s not a secret. Except telling Chris will set in motion a series of disastrous events that end with Chris brutally murdered, Adriane sitting in a pool of his blood and her boyfriend Max suspected of murder.I said this book starts out cryptic, but if cryptic begins to feel slow for you then around page 100 you will be rewarded. This book runs full-tilt until the very end, so quickly you barely have time to realize what hit you! There are so many twists and turns that even as an experienced reader and mystery lover I couldn¿t see where it was going or what would happen next. The ending required a suspension of disbelief, but not so much that I was pulled from the story. In fact, it completely fit within the set up Wasserman¿s mystery created, which relies on faith and archaic circumstances.The writing was wonderful. I absolutely loved the way the narration was broken up, the fact that the sections, in lieu of chapters, were all varied in length. Nora is an intelligent, perceptive teenager who has been thrust into a mystery that people have died trying to solve. Everything she said sounded put together and well thought out. Part of that, I think, comes from the first part of this book being a flashback¿to the time before all the blood¿but the sense of integrity in the writing continues beyond that.Notable Scene:¿Why¿d you do that?¿Because I¿d wanted to kiss someone. Because my two best friends were best friends with each other, a seamless unit who probably spent the majority of their time together waiting for me to go away. Because his eyes were brown in one light and green in another, magnetic in both. Because I¿d worked a miracle¿or maybe because I¿d done so only by imagining I was someone else, someone intrepid and intense and long dead, and I wasn¿t ready to go back to being me. ¿I don¿t know.¿He laughed. Now I wanted to kill him¿then die.¿That¿s a terrible reason,¿ he said.¿Yeah? You¿ve got a better one?¿He leaned forward. He cupped his hands around my face, one warm hand over each cheek.
Zoey_Talbon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book does not yet have a cover. *sadface* But when it does, I'm sure it's going to be awesome.This book was amazing. Of course, that doesn't even begin to describe it, but be assured. It was amazing, astounding, gush-worthy, and definitely worth my time.I guess I had pretty high expectations to start off with - I've read some of Robin Wasserman's other books, and I thought they were pretty good. But when I read this, I couldn't even tell that the same author had written this. The Book of Blood and Shadow bypassed her other books by far.For one thing, I loved Nora, the main character and narrator. I think I related to her a little bit, because she wanted proof for things. Things like if God existed or if Eli was really trying to help her. She didn't just automatically accept things like too many teens in YA do. She was realistic. I was frustrated by her actions a few times, sure, but isn't that pretty much inevitable? Either way, Nora was real. Easy to understand. And she didn't annoy me with any whining - she dealt with everything that was happening. Her emotions over Chris and everything else that had happened were realistic, too. She was in pain. Obvious pain. But she didn't just give up, and she didn't just move on so fast it was like nothing had happened. It all just made an amazing character. And Eli. Oh, Eli. It doesn't matter if you have no idea who he is because he's not mentioned in the summary, but rest assured, he was an amazing character, too. And he wasn't a pansy. I loved that about him. He didn't let his feelings get in the way of things, usually, and yet he did everything he could to help Nora with everything. He was just awesome. The other characters, I wasn't really a fan of, but Max and Adriane? I'm pretty sure it was okay to hate them. They did some pretty terrible things.Another plus of this book: the writing. It was so powerful, so descriptive, even action-filled. Nora's thoughts weren't skimmed over like I've been seeing too often lately. It was just an amazing style of writing.And what I thought was really cool about this book was the plot. It was so original; I've never even heard of a lot of the things involved.Overall: The Book of Blood and Shadow is a new favorite of mine. It was powerful, original, and I finished it within a day because I couldn't stop reading. It's not mushy, but there's still some romance mixed in, and there was so much suspense surrounding this huge mystery that I can't think of a single negative thing to say. 5 stars.
monsterofbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Book of Blood and Shadow is a historical-murder case-with hints of magic involve. It talks about a young girl, Nora Kane, who lost her older brother tragically. Once she enters high school the only two people who can put her back together is her two new best friends: Chris & Adriane (who eventually become a couple).Then Nora gets her own boyfriend: Max. Everything seems to be going dandy. Nora is brilliant at Latin and spends her days (alongside Max & Chris) translating. More specifically Nora is translating Elizabeth Weston's (Historical person) diary entries to her brother. Soon an unsolved mystery is unravelled that is starting to mirror Nora's life and what is happening in the late 1500's is now happening in the twenty first century. Bad things are starting to happen: Chris ends up dead. Now it up to Nora, Adriane, Max & Eli to solve Chris's murder, unravel the mystery, figure out who Nora is and put an end to what is happening. All of this leads them to Prague.This novel has a brilliant plot concept. It part History and part magical fantasy. The author knows the past and it really shows in how she writes. It even states in her bio that she "once studied to be a historian". This isn't the authors first book. She wrote the Cold Awakening Trilogy & Chasing Yesterday Trilogy. Both of which I have not read yet, however I have on my tbr pile.As I read the novel I got to learn of Historical people that I had never once heard about (Elizabeth Weston, Edward Kelley, ect). The author states in her afterword section that "not much is known about Elizabeth Weston's youth" and "using my (her) imagination to fill in the blanks". Which I thought was pretty cool. I got to learn about people I have never heard about. To learn more, click here!!Robin Wasserman is an amazing author. I love her writing it is absolutely stunning. However even though the idea behind this novel was really good, I was not jumping up and down for joy about it. I did not hate it, however I did not love it either.It is fast pace and four hundred pages will go by in a jiffy, however I thought it was too long. It could of been shorter. The problem with The Book of Blood and Shadow is it has too much information. To much details a reader has to remember. So much details that I felt the imagery for setting and minor characters got over looked. It got confusing at times and I would easily forget the slightest details and then when it was mention a hundred pages later I would be like: what??There was too much telling then showing. I could not really get clear imagery of Prague. I just felt like a bunch of tourist names were listed off which made it hard for me to imagine them in a foreign country.I thought the character development for Nora was brilliant. That was where this book strive. Nora's loss of her old brother was really well done and you could definitely feel her pain. You could also really see the resemblances between her and Elizabeth. The translated diary entries were practically my favourite part of the novel. They intrigue me and kept me wanting more.The killer behind Chris's death was a little to obvious to me. It was not really hard to guess who did it. I was a bit annoyed with Nora's constant non acceptance of who could of killed Chris. However I guess if I was in that situation I would do the same.My absolute favourite part of the whole novel was : Eli & Nora's relationship. I absolutely loved how the two interacted. The dialogue between them was brilliant and how they slowly went from strangers to friends was awesome.Overall it was an okay read.
AngelaFristoe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had really high hopes for this book. The cover is stunning and just left me with a strong idea of what to expect. The synopsis sounded really interesting. Sadly, for me it didn't live up to my expectations. That's not to say it's a bad book, far from it, but it just wasn't what I expected and that left me disappointed.What didn't work for me was the constant info dumps. There were lots of them, and if you have no interest in the history of the late 1500's you'll probably do what I was so tempted to - skip page after page of it. Oh, it's well written and it is tied to the plot, but it just seemed to take up space that the book could have done without considering it's 448 page count.There were good things about the book, and they are what kept me reading. Despite the issues I had with the slow plot, I did enjoy the mystery of what the machine was, what it's purpose was, and who was willing to kill for it. Wasserman also gives us tons of twists and keeps us guessing about who Nora should trust and what their motives were. I just wish the first half of the book had been more condensed, so that the twists came a bit earlier.Overall, this was a good read and I did enjoy it. I would definitely recommend this for anyone who likes to read about history and in-depth mysteries.
renkellym on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It¿s not often that I come across a book so finely crafted as The Book of Blood and Shadow. The author must have done copious amounts of research, because everything¿from the mythology to the foreign languages¿feels real and clear and right. I dislike comparing books to other books, but The Book of Blood and Shadow resembles The Da Vinci Code in the way it takes a new look at old myths and guides the reader on a journey-slash-scavenger hunt through a different country. I¿m a huge fan of these kinds of books¿the ones that are well researched to the point of believability and still fun.The Book of Blood and Shadow has a dark tone, but Robin Wasserman¿s writing helps lighten the tone. Nora sounds like a real (albeit highly intelligent) teenage girl, so she isn¿t going to be narrating in complicated or overly flowery prose. But you can tell that Wasserman is a great writer because of her versatility¿she writes in Nora¿s voice, but also in the voice of Elizabeth, a girl from the fourteenth century¿and because of the way the story develops.There is a large cast of characters in The Book of Blood and Shadow, and Wasserman takes the time to develop each of them. Even the minor characters¿like Nora¿s older brother¿are memorable in their own way. This attention to detail (in both characters and story) is impressive, and it makes The Book of Blood and Shadow all the more enjoyable.If you¿re looking for a mystery-thriller, The Book of Blood and Shadow is a great choice. It¿s smart, complex, and interesting¿especially if you¿re into history (like me).
summerskris on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
From the opening line, Wasserman captivated me with Nora's voice and her story--and with the power of the words themselves, the way Wasserman chooses to present events to us, the readers. It is mysterious and enthralling. There is no need for the story to start with a bang; instead, it builds up for the first hundred or so pages before diving into heart-pounding action.Nora is intelligence with humor, and her friends are just as engaging. Nora is highly perceptive and acute. Her reflections over events give good insight into what's going on around her without distancing her from the reader. On the contrary, she pulls the reader into her mind and shows them how she perceives the world.Wasserman kept me guessing and puzzling throughout the entire book. The plot is complex, filled with surprises at every turn. The plot may seem to start out slow, but if you think this way it will hit you before you know it. This has been a brilliantly unique read. I highly recommend getting a copy. You do not want to miss out on it!
WilowRaven on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My thoughts:There is a lot going on in this book. Intrigue and secrets and hidden secrets and lies - friendships and broken promises and in the end, a whole lot of mystery and suspense that adds up to a really fantastic read. I was really impressed with this book's complicated and engaging storyline. I couldn't help but be reminded of Dan Brown's Robert Langdon series while reading The Book of Blood and Shadow. It has that same feel to me. Of ancient secrets of God and the unknown; secret societies and hidden clues. It was very easy to get wrapped up in it's world and taken in by it's mysteries. What I really loved about this book was how different it is. It's a fantastic tale but it's not really paranormal. It's contemporary but at the same time, it's too far fetched to be real. It's a mystery but there are so many layers to it that you really need to pay attention to catch it all. It's also a book that really could fit any age range. The characters could just as easily have been in their 30s or 40s then their teens. The setting is modern day Prague, which was perfect for the story. While the scenarios the characters find themselves in aren't very believable, their reactions are. Especially Nora. I love Nora! By far, one of my favorite YA female characters. Final verdict:I highly recommend this book to mystery fans. If YA isn't your thing, pretend you didn't know this book was written for a younger audience because it really doesn't make a difference. The story is one that will appeal to all types of readers, not just young adult ones. The mysteries will drag you in and you will find yourself unable to put this book down until you unlock every one.As an added bonus, The Voynick Manuscript? The book that leads Nora and her friends on this crazy and dangerous journey? It's real! How fantastic is that?
ewyatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nora gets a work study job translating century old letters as part of a professor's project to find the clue to unlock the Voynich manuscript. A gruesome murder of her best friend, leads to increasing dangers. Nora seems to have a link with Elizabeth, the girl whose letters she has been translating. As Nora and her group sneak to Prague to look for answers and her missing boyfriend, they are embroiled in a centuries old battle between secret societies and the quest for humanity to know God through science. There is a lot going on in the book. Nora is engaging as is Elizabeth's story from the 16th Century.
booktwirps on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I should probably start with the blood.I knew the minute I read the opening line that I was going to enjoy this book. I¿d heard it was very reminiscent of ¿The DaVinci Code¿, which I thought was descent, but I wasn¿t obsessed with it like a lot of people were. I felt this book was more readable and I liked the characters, and the incredible story, a lot more.Every character is one the reader can easily get close to. Nora, the MC is logical, funny and smart. She just seemed very real to me. Her voice really captured me and held onto me throughout the entire book. I was also especially attached to the other characters ¿ Max, Chris, Eli and Adrianne. They were all just as engaging as Nora, and I really felt something for them ¿ both good and bad.The twists and turns in this book will keep you guessing the entire time. I loved that I never knew who I could trust, and the fact that I was so invested in these characters made me want to trust all of them.This book is captivating, heartbreaking, pulse-pounding and a true roller coaster ride. The plot is very complex and requires you to hold a lot of information as you read. Once the pieces start dropping into place, though, you can¿t stop.There were a few spots where the book seemed to drag, but it is well worth your time to stick with it. Ms. Wasserman is a truly gifted novelist and I look forward to reading more from her.I¿ll definitely be buying a hard copy of this one. It¿s just too good not to own.
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lulu1800 More than 1 year ago
The Book of Blood and Shadow was a great read.  The characters were well developed, with a great plot line.  It kept me guessing.   Which I loved.  It was sad that Nora didn't truly know the people she trusted.  And the one you were driven to think she shouldn't trust was really the only one she could.  I liked the spin of history repeating it self and how she was drawn into the letters and her connection  to them.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jasmine_supernatural More than 1 year ago
Ugh, this book is just so boring. I've been reading it since the beginning of june. I keep putting it aside for other books because i can't seem the get through it. I really wish it were more interesting but i'm going to try to get through it since i hate leaving a book unfinished but i would not recommend this to anyone.
monsterofbooks More than 1 year ago
The Book of Blood and Shadow is a historical-murder case-with hints of magic involve. It talks about a young girl, Nora Kane, who lost her older brother tragically. Once she enters high school the only two people who can put her back together is her two new best friends: Chris & Adriane (who eventually become a couple).Then Nora gets her own boyfriend: Max. Everything seems to be going dandy. Nora is brilliant at Latin and spends her days (alongside Max & Chris) translating. More specifically Nora is translating Elizabeth Weston's (Historical person) diary entries to her brother. Soon an unsolved mystery is unravelled that is starting to mirror Nora's life and what is happening in the late 1500's is now happening in the twenty first century. Bad things are starting to happen: Chris ends up dead. Now it up to Nora, Adriane, Max & Eli to solve Chris's murder, unravel the mystery, figure out who Nora is and put an end to what is happening. All of this leads them to Prague. This novel has a brilliant plot concept. It part History and part magical fantasy. The author knows the past and it really shows in how she writes. It even states in her bio that she "once studied to be a historian". This isn't the authors first book. She wrote the Cold Awakening Trilogy & Chasing Yesterday Trilogy. Both of which I have not read yet, however I have on my tbr pile. As I read the novel I got to learn of Historical people that I had never once heard about (Elizabeth Weston, Edward Kelley, ect). The author states in her afterword section that "not much is known about Elizabeth Weston's youth" and "using my (her) imagination to fill in the blanks". Which I thought was pretty cool. I got to learn about people I have never heard about. To learn more, click here!! Robin Wasserman is an amazing author. I love her writing it is absolutely stunning. However even though the idea behind this novel was really good, I was not jumping up and down for joy about it. I did not hate it, however I did not love it either. It is fast pace and four hundred pages will go by in a jiffy, however I thought it was too long. It could of been shorter. The problem with The Book of Blood and Shadow is it has too much information. To much details a reader has to remember. So much details that I felt the imagery for setting and minor characters got over looked. It got confusing at times and I would easily forget the slightest details and then when it was mention a hundred pages later I would be like: what?? There was too much telling then showing. I could not really get clear imagery of Prague. I just felt like a bunch of tourist names were listed off which made it hard for me to imagine them in a foreign country. I thought the character development for Nora was brilliant. That was where this book strive. Nora's loss of her old brother was really well done and you could definitely feel her pain. You could also really see the resemblances between her and Elizabeth. The translated diary entries were practically my favourite part of the novel. They intrigue me and kept me wanting more. The killer behind Chris's death was a little to obvious to me. It was not really hard to guess who did it. I was a bit annoyed with Nora's constant non acceptance of who could of killed Chris. However I guess if I was in that situation I would do the same. My absolute favourite part of the whole novel was : Eli & Nora's relationship. I absolutely loved how the two interacted. The dialogue between them was brilliant and how they slowly went from strangers to friends was awesome. Overall it was an okay read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I feel like I am going opposite of everyone else. I really enjoyed this book. Just like a lot of good books it takes a little bit before you really get into it but overall a good read. Loved the dialogue, great plot line. I was interested in the Alchemical part of it so maybe I am biased but I really enjoyed it. A little slow but overall a good read.
ChelseaW More than 1 year ago
This is going to be a bummer review to write. It is with great sadness that I tell you I was unable to finish this book. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get into this book. The premise had promise (a book about a book!), it's a well-respected author, and I was excited for the release. But I just couldn't do it. Could barely get to page 100, which is my standard for giving a book a solid try. Really, if you can't hook me from the very first page or chapter, it will be hard to get me later on. So what went wrong? The writing was good enough, though I have not read anything else by Wasserman to compare it to. The characters were interesting, too, though I felt completely distanced from them right from the beginning. I think maybe there was just not enough action to start things off. The pace moved too slow. Or there wasn't enough exposition to keep me hooked on the Chris or Nora enough to care about them when there was the little bit of action that occurred. For such a lengthy book, I personally needed more to get me started than what was provided. Has anyone else experienced this? Please let me know!
DeannaO More than 1 year ago
This is one you have to take your time with and absorb to get the full effect of. The characters were very compelling and moved the story along while the mystery kept me guessing what was going to happen next. I loved the rich history through out the novel. It's unique in its genre which could be part of why it's getting mixed reviews.