Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Blood On My Hands

Published: April 10th, 2012
The Book of Blood and Shadow
By: Robin Wasserman
Random House Children's Books
ISBN-13: 9780375968761

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.


  Nora had a happy life with her best friends and her boyfriend.  So what if her parents were treating her like she was invisible and her brother was dead, leaving her with no real family anymore.  At least she had Chris, Adriane and Max to keep her tethered to real life.  But ever since they've gotten a job as assistants to a Professor trying to unravel and ages-old mystery their lives have changed without them even realizing it.  Then Chris is murdered, Adriane is catatonic and Max is missing.  This leaves Nora to puzzle out what has happened to them all from the clues left behind.  Starting with a 500 year old letter, covered in Chris' blood.  Nora will be lead to Prague on a mission to find a machine called the Lumen Dei, that has the knowledge of God himself.  But there are others searching for the machine and they will stop at nothing to get it - even murder.  With unexpected allies and a shocking betrayl of the worst kind, will Nora and the others be able to find the Lumen Dei in time?  And will they all survive it once they have?  The first half of the novel is full of character building and setting foundations for the mystery of the Lumen Dei, through the centuries old letters of Elizabeth Weston (daughter of a slightly mad alchemist in Elizabethean times).  You really get to know Nora, Chris and Elizabeth.  Max and Adriane are slightly more enigmatic but later in the novel you really begin to understand that they feel this way to Nora as well.  I truly liked Eli, Chris' 'cousin' who feels the need to trail Nora searching for answers about Chris' death.  It ended in a way that wasn't entirely unexpected and seemed slightly abrupt.  That was a little disappointing after such a great, high-level and intelligent mystery.  This novel was definitely one of a kind in the YA market and worth the read for fans of mystery, slight paranormality and adventure.

VERDICT:  3.85/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book's publication date was April 10th, 2012.*

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