Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow

November 14, 2012 Review 5 ★½

Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow
Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Source: Won
Pages: 431
Release Date: 2013
Genres: Europe, Historical, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Visionary & Metaphysical, Young Adult
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. From the Hardcover edition.

I wanted to love this so much. It has such a great premise, and it could have been so much more. Wasserman’s other novels were awesome and I expected this one to be the same but it fell short. I kept reading it because I had high hopes it would become better-many reviews had said it was slow in the beginning but would pick up.

THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW even looks like such a great book, the mysterious cover, the title; if you flip through the novel there are pages of Latin, and the city of Prague silhouetted in Nora’s eyes on the cover. I couldn’t wait to start it.


In the beginning, there are so many flashbacks and useless information that we have already learned from just reading the synopsis. In between these hefty paragraphs is actual relative information, how she started her translating project in the first place.


Reading a book with so little dialogue as this one had was time consuming and a bit dull, I don’t want the whole novel to be dialogue but enough that it gives you a break from the huge paragraphs on page after page.


The protagonist, Nora, is a pretty weak, ordinary character. I actually liked her “rival” Adriane better, at least she had some spunk. Nora wasn’t easy to relate to and that left her somewhat unlikeable.


Three stars because I liked the mysteries and secrets, the betrayals and conflicts, and the overall story. The ending was good, it kind of left things open and let you imagine what might happen next. But the character development was next to none, I left feeling like Nora didn’t learn anything or grow as an individual.


I suggest reading a few other reviews if you are undecided about this, there are many mixed ones out there. If you don’t liked a slow paced story, this one is quite difficult to get through.

Not one of Wasserman’s best, but I do highly recommend her SKINNED trilogy.

Rating Report
Overall: 1.5

5 Responses to “Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow”

  1. Anatea Oroz

    Oh this cover is so pretty, and I’m really sorry to hear that the book isn’t good as it seems on the first look. But I do agree with you, every book needs at least a bit of dialoge. Long paragraph after long paragraph can be very tiering after a while.

    I’m a new follower. :)
    Anatea @ Anatea’s Bookshelf

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