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by Robin Wasserman
Published April 2012
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Summary from Goodreads: 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.
The Book of Blood and Shadow is unlike any book I've ever read. I was too young to jump on The Da Vinci Code bandwagon, and that seems to be the most apt comparison. If The Da Vinci Code is anything like this book, then I understand the rabid fans it produced.
The Book of Blood and Shadow doesn't start out fast-paced or even terribly exciting. Instead, Robin Wasserman lets us get to know the main characters: Nora, Max, Chris, and Adriane. Nora is the wry and observant narrator with a dry humor that made me smile many times, even when I was in the middle of an intense scene. Though the slow beginning wasn't exactly exciting, it was crucial in assuring that the rest of the book would have major impact. Guys, I got pretty emotional during this book and it's all because I got to know these characters before they were thrust into impossible situations.
Once The Book of Blood and Shadow picks up pace, well, then you might as well resign yourself to not putting it down until you finish. There are twists that will make you go "WHAT?" and then, "Of course." Wasserman does such a fantastic job describing Prague, but I never felt bogged down by the descriptions. So pretty much, there's no putting this book down once you get past a certain point.
I loved The Book of Blood and Shadow, and if there is a sequel (anyone know if there is?) I will definitely be reading it. As soon as I possibly can. So much goes down during the novel that I will probably be thinking about it for days to come, which is my favorite type of book.