THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW by Robin Wasserman Book Review
Publication Date: April 10th 2012 by Random House Children’s Books
Rating: – Dreadful
Book Summary: 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 by Robin Wasserman Book Review Overview:
- I liked the Latin, but there is a lot of translating and not much action
- Flimsy romance; no spark at all
- The twists and turns of the plot were predictable
I first tried to listen to THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW by Robin Wasserman over a year ago when I first got into audiobooks. The length of the audiobook is quite intimidating, and in the end, I just couldn’t get into it. I put it aside, and I hoped that I would pick it back up one day because I liked the concept. A year later, I decided to try again. Now that I listen to more audiobooks, I thought that I would have more patience for a really long book such as THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW by Robin Wasserman. Unfortunately, the book still was not my cup of tea.
What initially interested me into reading THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW by Robin Wasserman was the Latin. I took Latin in high school for four years so I immediately nerded out when I heard that the protagonist, Nora, is basically fluent in Latin. She translates passages in Latin for fun. At first, THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW by Robin Wasserman sounded like my kind of book.
I was going to try to summarize the book for you all, but it is really complicated and convoluted. In the most basic terms: Nora tries to translate this ancient manuscript. Apparently, the manuscript has a secret that people are willing to kill for. Nora and friends travel to Prague to unlock the secret before those scary groups kill them first. There is a lot of Latin translating involved.
The pacing of this book is SLOW. I listened to it on audiobook and it dragged on forever. I can’t imagine having the patience to read it in print. Nora spends a lot of time decoding Latin, and nothing really happens while she just sits there and translates. It was really cool and interesting at first, but after a while it got tiring and repetitive. I guess if I had picked up a print copy, it would be really easy to skim the Latin passages. Even though I think myself as a Latin nerd, it was just getting a bit excessive in the book. It probably didn’t help that the narrator’s Latin sounded super stilted.
Another issue I had with the book is the amount spent in Elizabeth’s diary. I usually really enjoy epistolary novels, but I just couldn’t get into the story. Elizabeth’s demise had been interesting, but I never felt a connection to her like Nora did.
Maybe I would have found THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW more exciting if the various twists and turns turned out to be shocking. But I saw the majority of the plot twists coming from far away and instead, I spent most of the book just waiting for Nora to catch up to what I already knew.
Additionally, the plot twists and betrayals would have been more effective if the romance had been more believable. For such a long book, I would have expected a less flimsy romance than what I got in THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW. Nora and Max establish their relationship pretty early on in the book. But I just never got any chemistry between them. Their romance was really flat. It was hard to empathize with Nora after Max goes missing because I just didn’t feel that their romance had spark.
Honestly, I have no idea how I managed to get through THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW by Robin Wasserman. I guess I thought things would just get more interesting, but in all honesty, I should have quit right in the middle of the book. Unfortunately, my love of Latin was not enough to keep me interested throughout the whole novel.