Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{April 7, 2012}   {ARC Review} The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

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.


This is like a YA cross between The Da Vinci Code and Indiana Jones, complete with secret religious sects, much deciphering of code, fleeing across continents, murder, mayhem, betrayal, and even a little romance.  Although the story seems to begin a bit slowly, focusing on Nora’s past life in order to explain her current school situation and research internship, the story does quickly pick up as Nora begins deciphering the Latin letters of Elizabeth Weston.  Weston, a historical poet immersed in Prague’s world of alchemy, was a real figure for which Wasserman based much of her novel, taking the mysterious history of many from Prague and creating this intriguing story. 

With the death of Nora’s best friend and the disappearance of her lover, Nora is whisked away into a world of cat and mouse as she attempts to discover the truth behind Weston’s letters and find out who not only killer her best friend, but is also after her.  This was a delightful tale of mystery and intrigue, and I enjoyed most of it very much, but on occasion, I did find myself lost.  With all the clues and deciphering going on, I had a bit of a problem keeping up.  Things moved so quickly in this novel, which I absolutely loved, but my mind wasn’t able to keep everything in order due to the vast amount of changes constantly taking place.  This is no fault of the authors, I know—I’m not mathematically inclined in the least, and have found, on multiple occasions, that books, and even movies, with this much coding and deciphering, tend to leave me behind when it comes to how everything fits together.  Of course, I love the roller coaster ride that I find myself on as I read novels like this, and Wasserman did a superb job keeping my interest peaked throughout much of the novel, so a few lost points on my part is really no big deal in the big scheme of things. Overall, I think this is a really good read and that many will highly enjoy it.  Four stars.

Random House Children’s Books has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on April 10, 2012.


deadtossedwaves says:

I really love Robin Wasserman’s writing style. Something about the way she writes her prose is just so addicting. I’m definitely looking forward to this release!

I loved The Da Vinci Code and The Book of Blood and Shadow (awesome title!) sounds really interesting, too. And I love coding, so I think thiks book is for me :)
Thank you for the great review!

I really liked Da Vinci Code, so I think I might be checking this out soon! Thank you for your review!

Hira Hasnain (Enamored Soul) says:

I love books like these, that keep you at the edge of your seat – twists and turns abound; although sometimes such twists and turns can real mess with the storyline. Your review tells me that ultimately, at the end of the day, it looks like this is going to be one helluva ride, and a great book to read! Really excited about this one! :D Thank you for the wonderful review!!!

bn100 says:

The book sounds very intriguing. I liked your description of the cross between Indiana Jones and The Da Vinci Code.

Reblogged this on Paranormal Book Club and commented:
look good!

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