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The Girl in a Cafe

Loving Books Since Before It Was Cool! All reviews can also be found on my main blog!

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The Book of Blood and Shadow - Robin Wasserman I’m not sure where to begin my review with this book. I absolutely lapped up this novel, but all my thoughts aren’t really processing with the rest of my brain at the moment, and I can’t actually find the words to describe how brilliant this novel was.The Book of Blood and Shadow begins from the very beginning - where Nora and her best friends Chris & Adrienne, along with Chris’ college roommate Max, are helping a crazy old man translate Latin and finding clues in a book for something that doesn’t quite seem to be in reach. Then all of a sudden Chris turns up dead, Max has disappeared and Nora’s positive that it wasn’t him that killed Chris. Determined to find Max, and at the same time drawn to a series of letters written by poet Elizabeth Weston, Nora finds herself in Prague with Adrienne, hunting for pieces of a machine meant to control the world and bring man closer to God…or the other way round.One of the great things about this book is that it’s not in a rush to get anywhere, like most novels are. Yet at the same time it’s intense and fast paced and never left me bored once. Each time you think something has happened, there’s another twist and another turn. I almost don’t want to review the book, simply because there’s so much about it that you could let slip, and then I’d be like the person who told everyone Dumbledore dies at the end of HP6. Oops.This isn’t like most YA novels. It’s a read for adults as well, and the plot is absolutely so wacked out it’s unbelievable, but totally believable at the same time. There are twists and turns. Part history, part mystery, part modern fiction, part ‘I’m gonna trump Dan Brown on the religious book’, part romance, part just freaking amazing. The religious aspect of the novel as well isn’t huge, and it doesn’t play a major part in the novel. It’s the essence of it, sure, in the sense that the Lumen Dei is a concept that man can get closer to being God on earth. It’s an age old legend that has carried down through the centuries since the 1600s, where men believed that the only way to be truly one with God was to hold His power - to pretty much be God on earth. Then there were the people who didn’t want this to come about. All a tangled web that one girl’s father managed to get caught up in and dragged his family into at the same time.At first I felt a little confused with the characters. Nora is a wonderful and strong character that I could easily relate to. She’s taken the death of her brother hard, especially because it means that the relationship she has with her parents has become estranged. The one thing she’s good at is Latin, and she throws herself into it, not just as something to prove her worth to her father, but to keep herself busy. And she likes it. Nora questions things, she doesn’t automatically make rash decisions and she doesn’t become engrossed with Max straight away, and it’s not the gushy type of love as well that you see in most books. I really liked Nora, she’s someone I would be friends with myself. The way she found herself connecting to Elizabeth Weston was a really good way for the reader to be able to understand why Elizabeth was writing the letters to her brother. All Elizabeth’s emotions and thoughts tended to mirror Nora’s.As for Chris, Adrienne, Max and Eli, the other main characters in the book, sometimes it was hard to grasp them. All the characters were fantastic and made the book what it was, but sometimes it felt as if the others were disconnected and weren’t rounded. Nora’s relationship with Chris was one that I found difficult, especially at first, as it seemed that they were the couple, and it had me confused at times, until later on when Nora and Max get together and it’s made clear that Chris and Adrienne are seeing each other. It’s really hard to describe why I didn’t feel as connected to these characters without being spoilery again, but I assure you, if you read this book you will understand.The Book of Blood and Shadow for me was one of the best books I’ve read in a while. It was completely different from anything I’ve read before. It made me think, it made me question. I was completely captured by this book, and though I’ve not read anything by Robin before, I will definitely be seeing what else she has written. I’m sure that if it’s anything like tBoBaS, then it’ll be a great read!