It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up.
When the night began, Nora had two best friends and a boyfriend she adored. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands. Chris was dead. Adriane couldn't speak. 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's determined to follow the trial of blood, no matter where it leads. But Chris's murder 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 & SHADOW was the kind of book where you have to really pay attention to it, and boy was it good. Within the opening lines of "I should probably start with the blood" to the final pages of this wonderfully crafted book, readers should definitely prepare themselves and start comparing this book to its archrival of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, because its storyline and everything that takes place inside of it is woven in the exact same way as that book of a legend - if not, written even better.
Both terrifying and twisted in a way to satisfy all of its readers, this book really did my head in. Really it did. Again and again. At first I was a little confused by the events at the beginning of the novel, along with the historical aspects that were mentioned throughout in almost diary-like form, but then once you learned more about these histories (revealing many things that I did not expect nor see coming) and the more we learned about these characters of ours, everything changed my opinion of the book and I thought Robin Wasserman did a bloody fantastic job with it! I was pretty impressed to say the least.
Nora, the main heroine, has had everything ripped away from her. Her brother. Her best friend. And now her boyfriend. She may have been naive and selfish like most characters can be at one point in their fictional lives, but I thought Nora was a very engaging character and you really felt for her pain of losing the people she loved. While I may have liked her personality but what made me love her character so much more was her fierce ability of wanting to care about everybody else else except herself and even her determination was a true standout for me as a reader. What was also intriguing, was Nora's connection to Elizabeth, a young woman from the sixteenth century. For those who have yet to read the book, Elizabeth is a girl mentioned in the letters Nora ends up translating (from Latin to English) and she alone is the key to the whole conspiracy of this thriller mystery. I admit, I was a bit overwhelmed by Elizabeth's history, but just like Nora, I soon became full-on fascinated, and all I wanted was to find out why Nora was chosen for this. And trust me here . . . you will find out the answers.
As for the other leading cast, I absolutely adored Eli whom is the 'sort-of' love interest in the story. From the moment you meet him as Chris's (Nora's guy but now dead best friend) suppose 'cousin', I instantly fell in love with him and while I knew he was hiding some HUGE from Nora and the rest of the gang, but I honestly trusted him with all my heart and eventually so did Nora. Thankfully, because I wanted them to makeout a lot. I don't know why exactly I liked him because he had so many different layers in his character, but if I had to choose one thing I liked about him it would most likely be his way of helping Nora and constantly listening to her which I found a lot of the characters did not try to do. And Eli was hilarious, too. So be prepared to see many good sides of this leading man. On a side note, the characters Max (Nora's boyfriend who is missing for the beginning of the novel) and Adriane (another friend of Nora's and Chris's girlfriend) were my least favourite characters. I didn't trust them. I didn't want to love them. I didn't understand what Nora saw in them. They were friends and I get that, but the problem was . . . I didn't know what to expect from them . . . only that I knew they had secrets that could be life-changing and problematic for Nora. Can't that girl get a break?
Concerning the plot, there were plenty of shocking moments. Some I expected but others . . . man, it was pretty nifty to read about. I felt like I was in Alice's Wonderland or something like it because we are switched back and forth from the past and the present (not too much though to a point of confusing you) and it was great to have a lot of things eventually explained by the time I finished the book. So what's the best part? Well, another highlight for me was the nice writing style the book had, one that was easy to follow, and while the twists were good and all that, but I loved the way Wasserman made her novel take place in America first then heading straight to Prague (one of my favourite cities and one I must travel to some day in the future). Prague was beautifully described which I guess made this novel come to life in a heartbeat, and judging by the way things ended, I hope there is more to come to this series.
Overall, I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good old cryptic mystery with hints of historical elements that will damn right fascinate you. It may be a young adult book, but if there's any adults out there reading this review, then don't let it stop you. It's suited to everyone! If you loved Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code or something along the lines of Jennifer Donnelly's Revolution, then this is the book for YOU!