Monday, May 21, 2012

Blackwood by Gwenda Bond

On Roanoke Island, the legend of the 114 people who mysteriously vanished from the Lost Colony hundreds of years ago is just an outdoor drama for the tourists, a story people tell. But when the island faces the sudden disappearance of 114 people now, an unlikely pair of 17-year-olds may be the only hope of bringing them back.

Miranda, a misfit girl from the island’s most infamous family, and Phillips, an exiled teen criminal who hears the voices of the dead, must dodge everyone from federal agents to long-dead alchemists as they work to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony. The one thing they can’t dodge is each other.

Blackwood is a dark, witty coming of age story that combines America’s oldest mystery with a thoroughly contemporary romance.

Started slow but redeemed itself it the end. A wonderful paranormal mystery with a delightful mix of romance.

First of all, may I say that the cover is gorgeous-truly beautiful. I know that the saying is to not judge a book by its cover but I did and the contents proved to be just as good as the outside appearance.

The premise is fascinating and original. The mystery of Roanoke is an interesting subject in and of itself. I mean, a whole colony of people simply disappearing? That could gain anyone's attention. But Ms. Bond does a fantastic job of expanding on that mystery, staying true to the history while giving it a spin of her own. 

Miranda was a wonderful character. Her life has been haunted by a curse whose origins date back to the original founding of Roanoke. She has had little help coping with the troubles until Phillips comes along (more on him later). She makes mistakes and at times I got frustrated with her but she was able to admit to them and make amends so I couldn't hold a grudge. She deals realistically with the changes in her world as she uncovers the mystery of Roanoke. She's clever, strong, and able to admit to her mistakes. In other words, she was a perfect lead.

Phillips was so sweet; I adored him. He has labored under an enchantment as old as Miranda's for years and is just coming to claim his responsibility in solving the mystery. Once he shoulders the responsibility, he's steadfast in pursuing the answers and adamant about protecting Miranda. He was a true sweetheart to her. Through every step, he stays by her side to keep her safe while the mystery of Roanoke comes to the present. The romance is light but undeniably present. It's sweet but not overbearing-the perfect romance for this dark mystery.

The plot itself was wonderful. The paranormal happenings involved in the mystery are fascinating, original, and a perfectly believable addition, though I'll let you read to find out exactly what it is. The interlacing of the magic was so flawless that I could almost believe it's true. The only reason I docked a star was because of the slow start. For the first quarter or so, the plot was slow, events weren't being explained and I felt bored and confused. But after that less than perfect start, things pick up and don't slow down until the end. It was definitely worth it to power through that slow start to get to the epic story that follows.

The ending was perfect: the mystery is solved, the questions are answered and the romance is given a satisfying resolution. 

Blackwood is a thrilling combination of mystery, history, paranormal, and romance. Aside from the slow beginning, it was utter perfection and I adored it.

Absolutely 5/5 

Thanks to Netgalley for a copy!

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