The Compulsive Reader: The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

For Nora, being a research assistant to an elderly professor at a local university isn't the most exciting work study experience in the world. Her skills with Latin are good for lots of boring translations, but at least she gets to work with her best friend Chris and boyfriend Max. But her work gets interesting when she begins translating a series of letters written by a woman named Elizabeth Weston, revealing the mystery of a device, the Lumen dei, which supposedly enables mankind to communicate directly with God. Nora doesn't believe in the device, but she empathizes with Elizabeth despite the centuries that separate them. Then one violent night changes everything—Chris is dead, his girlfriend Adrianne is practically catatonic, and Max is missing. Nora must put together the clues Elizabeth left behind to find Max, evade the men who have proven they will kill for her information, and finally figure out what happened the night her best friend died.

Rob Wasserman's latest novel is an engaging mix of history, romance, and mystery. Dark secrets, crumbling documents and relics, and shady secret societies abound in this meticulously written story. Nora's search for answers to her friend's death and the mystery brought up by Elizabeth's letters go almost hand in hand with her own issues questions regarding faith and religion in the aftermath of her brother's tragic death. These personal issues are what make her connect with Elizabeth and her experiences and help emotionally invest herself into the mystery of the Lumen Dei. The mystery is very complicated and convoluted—the chronology of Elizabeth's letters and clues can be a little hard to follow, especially when Nora travels to Prague to find answers. There is plenty of action and many plot twists that play out through the streets of the old city as Nora gets closer and closer to the truth, which will test her beliefs and values and make her re-evaluate her relationships. The conclusion is surprising and maybe a little abrupt; there doesn't seem to be a lot of falling action, and there are a few loose ends to puzzle through still. However, the way that Wasserman sets up The Book of Blood and Shadow is clever, and despite any lingering questions this extremely well-written and unique story will keep readers thinking long after the final page.

Cover Comments: I adore this cover! I love the shadows of the title font and the way the building is reflected in the girl's eyes, the angle of her face. It's just so cool! And I definitely recommend getting this one in print--the book is beautiful. I love the deckle edges and the end papers on this one.

Review copy provided by publisher.

1 comment:

Mary Preston said...

THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW looks like a wonderful read. I love a bit of mystery.