Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Early Review - Blackwood (Blackwood, Book 1) by Gwenda Bond (3/5 stars)

Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal
Size: 416 pages
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Release Date: September 4, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1908844071
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Blackwood series
Source: eGalley from NetGalley.com
Rating: 3/5 stars

I got an eGalley of this book to read through NetGalley(dot)com. This was an okay book. I thought the premise was really interesting but that the characters were lacking and the story was a bit haltingly told at times.

Miranda is a unpopular teen from a cursed family; her family has lived and been cursed for centuries on Roanoke Island. Phillips is another misfit teen who moved away from the island because he could hear the voices of the dead. Now suddenly, just like all those centuries ago, 144 people have mysteriously disappeared form Roanoke Island. It is up to Miranda and Phillips, which their strange abilities, to figure what is going on.

This is an interesting and creative premise. I have always been fascinating by the story of Roanoke Island and it was fun to read a modern accounting about what might have happened. Alchemy is involved and I found it interesting that the practice of alchemy was extended to include the search for immortality in this book.

That’s about all I really enjoyed about this story. Miranda and Phillips have interesting backgrounds, but neither of them is very inspiring. Miranda is fairly timid and I felt like Phillips personality was all over the place and not at all consistent throughout the story. The chemistry between them felt forced, with Miranda thinking weird thoughts about how attractive Phillip was at awkward places in the story.

The plot itself was also a bit awkward. It started out really interesting but the pacing became inconsistant and pieces of the mystery were forced into place, making the story a bit contrived. At times dialogue between the characters sounded unnatural and awkward as well. There were parts of the story that read beautifully and parts that I had to read over a few times because they just didn’t quite make sense.

Overall this is an okay read. I loved the premise but didn’t enjoy the characters all that much; I also thought the pacing and dialogue were a bit awkward at times breaking up the flow of the story. I would only recommend reading this if you have a huge interest in the Roanoke Island mystery since the theory presented behind these disappearances is intriguing.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 150+ Books Reading Challenge
- Debut Author Reading Challenge

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