Friday, May 4, 2012

Book Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow By Robin Wasserman

Book Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
A "Duel Review" 

Review by Janine

Three students and one eccentric professor are working on translating the Latin text that may hold the answers to revealing the true power of the Lumen Dei.  The Lumen Dei is a device in which one can have ultimate control of the world and communication with God himself. The three students Max, Nora and Chris along with Chris' girlfriend Adrienne don't really believe in what they are doing will lead anywhere but just a nice semester independent study.  They don't believe that any of what their professor tells them about the power and purpose behind what they are doing is true, but when one ends up dead, one catatonic, and one has disappeared, the story becomes much more than that; it becomes a matter of life and death.

  I have to admit that I was super excited to read this book; murder, suspense, and a good mystery make for an awesome read in my book, and I was not disappointed. Of the four students involved in what becomes an intense adventure, Nora is person that we follow.  She is translating the text of Elisabeth, who is the daughter of the creator of the Lumen Dei.  The more she translates her letters, the more of a connection she feels to her.  Then on one fateful night, Nora steals one of the letters that she is translating.  In a fit of guilt she confesses to her fellow translator and best friend Chris, who agrees to put the stolen letter back.  That seals the fate of the group, Chris ends up murdered, and Adrienne catatonic.  Max disappears and is suspected of murder.  Nora, knowing that Max is being wrongly accused and  in trouble, follows the clues he leaves for her and goes to Prague where her real adventure begins.  She begins to follow the clues that Elisabeth's letters give to finding the Lumen Dei while trying to out-run the others looking for her; some will want to stop her, others will follow and encourage her, and some  want the ultimate power for themselves.  I really loved the setting of this book, Prague, which is such a unique setting, with just enough historical intrigue to make the story believable and the reader wishing they were there. What I also love are the characters in the story, the good and the bad.  They were so believable, it was easy to cheer for or hate them (and to have strong opinions about it!). This book was great, I love the action, the fast pace, and the mystery, everything!!! My students cannot wait to check it out, and I recommend that you do the same!

(Here is a chapter sampler, courtesy of Random Buzzers:


Since Janine already did an excellent job of summarizing the story for you, I will just leave you with my opinion.  I was hesitant to pick this one up because it just seems that there are so many books out there right now with "shadow," "bone," and/or "blood" in the title.  Frankly, I keep getting confused by all of them as to which one is which!  However, I received two free ARC of this one from Random Buzzers, decided to make it one of the high school library's book club picks, and there you have it--now I HAD to read it. 

I was more than pleasantly surprised!  Nora is a truly believable character... extremely intelligent and somewhat socially awkward in an endearing way.  Her intelligence, it seems, ultimately gets her into trouble with the wrong people, but will it also save her in the end?
The other characters, as Janine mentioned above, were all likable as well... both the good and the not-so-good.  The author, Robin Wasserman, does an excellent job of showing that there is, ultimately, both good and bad in all of us.  
Though I feared that this would be a DaVinci Code for teens, I think that there were plenty of new twists and ideas in this novel, to make it truly its own story.  I will be looking for other Wasserman novels in the future.

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