A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{March 24, 2012}   The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Plot: It was only supposed to be an extra credit assignment, translating 400-year-old Latin letters for an aging professor, but it ended in murder. Nora’s best friend Chris is dead, his girlfriend Adriane is catatonic and her boyfriend Max is gone. Everyone thinks that Max is the murderer. Nora thinks he’s in danger. When she receives a coded message from him, Nora travels to Prague and finds herself caught up in a struggle between two ancient secret societies.

This review is based on an advanced reader copy provided by Netgalley.

The Book of Blood and Shadow is made up of two parallel mysteries: a present day murder mystery and the 400-year-old story of a poetess pieced together one letter at a time. Wasserman kept surprising me, even when I thought I had things figured out. I was on the edge of my chair from beginning to end.

This novel brought so much joy to my nerdy heart. It’s all about languages, ciphers, history and old books.  I love that Nora’s translation skills are actually central to uncovering the mystery. Even better, it is full of codes and ciphers that you can puzzle through, perhaps successfully unlike me.

This is not, however, a happy or romantic book in case that’s what you’re looking for. Nora is betrayed and lied to over and over again. Even when you think you’ve finally gotten to the truth, there are more lies, more betrayal. It is a credit to her that she can continue to believe in people in spite of all that happens.

But that’s ultimately what the book is about: belief vs knowledge. The secret society in the book is trying to construct a device that will allow them to talk to God, know Him rather than just believe. Yet Wasserman shows us again and again how hard it is to even know the other people in our life.

I’m already planning to buy this book once it comes out (April 10th 2012). Not only is this a book well worth re-reading, but with all its talk of ancient books, an electronic version is just not good enough for me.

2012 (#31)


[…] Though I have to admit that I preferred her previous novel, The Book of Blood and Shadow. […]

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