Google+ Bookslingers Blog: Sounds like a sticky read: The Book of Blood & Shadow

Sounds like a sticky read: The Book of Blood & Shadow

Smexy, smexy UK cover with bonus coat-envy
 "I should probably start with the blood."

Chris is dead.

Chris, the boy who made Nora's transition to the snotty private school across the tracks and sweet-talked her into joining the excruciating private study of the Voynich manuscript with a nutty professor is dead.

Chris has been murdered in his home and the only witness, his girlfriend, is catatonic. 

And the top suspect for the horrific crime? Nora's boyfriend, Max.

What follows is a labyrinth of ancient secrets, midnight meetings with Kepler, mysterious societies, murder, betrayal and a myth that with tear apart Nora's world.
Less smexy American/Canadian cover. But I appreciate her lip gloss.
The Good: The beginning of The Book of Blood and Shadow reminded me of my favourite book of all time, Pamela Dean's Tam Lin. Cute boys in sweaters quoting poetry? Count me in. I will read three copies.

Nora was an easy narrator to like. Her special power is translating Latin. She has a Tragic Family Backstory but it doesn't overwhelm her life. She makes a couple of questionable boy-shaped decisions but you can understand where she's coming from.

Also? The Voynich manuscript is straight-up weird. If you are not familiar with it, check it out. Bizarre 15th century volume of detailed flora and fauna that don't exist? Written in a code that not even WWII codebreakers could figure out? Pages mysteriously missing? This is the stuff that awesome fiction is made of. 

Cracking the code and following the mystery's end all the way to deliciously dark Prague was a rush. Finding Chris's murderer and deciding who are allies and who are villains is engaging and there are plenty of twists and turns and evil ninja priests to keep the 400 + story clipping along.

The Wibbling: Sometimes The Book of Blood and Shadow was as mind-confusing as the Voynich manuscript. 
Seriously, dudes. What the heck?
What starts as an academic mystery turns into slasher Da Vinci Code with the Lost Arc from Indiana Jones. No wait, not Da Vinci Code. The Da Vinci Code's wackier on-drugs cousin: Angels & Demons. There's a lot of plot shoved into the second half of the book (and someone melts) with a lot of different players on the board and Wasserman doesn't quite take you all the way there. The slower descriptions and ruminations bogged down the plot making it a lot longer (488 pages!) than it needed to be. 

The BIG REVEAL (TM) and SUDDENLY SUPERNATURAL! was a little bit more eyebrow raising than satisfying.

That being said, totally looking forward to Robin Wasserman's next book.