Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Review: Blackwood by Gwenda Bond

LOVE the cover.

Review: 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.

I was sold by the premise of BLACKWOOD. A modern-day supernatural interpretation of the Roanoke colony, full of teenage shenanigans? Sign me up. I love supernatural, I love history, and I particularly love the Elizabethan era. What I didn’t expect was such spunky, relatable, fun characters, and a plot that pretty much delivers.

Blackwood by Gwenda Bond is about the lost colony of Roanoke and what happens when present day inhabitants of the island go missing. It's told in the alternating perspectives of Miranda Blackwood, youngest member of the cursed Blackwood family, and Phillips Rawling, the police chief's son who has a dark secret of his own.

These two characters are great. I loved spending time with tough loner Miranda, full of geek cred and pop culture references. Miranda is a very complex character, a girl who has grown up in a family that is discriminated against by the rest of the town, who has spent her teenage years without a mother and with a shell of a father.

Phillips had the possibility of being a Gary Sue- he’s good at everything and he’s got a lot of knowledge- but he retains his complexity and I basically just loved him.

Their intertwined pasts were very intriguing, especially as it influenced the present, and I loved seeing them grow together. The best thing about these two characters was their immediate chemistry - they worked well together, they played well together, and you knew almost immediately that they would end up together. They’re spunky and believable

Where this book falters for me is the plot. Again, the mystery is enthralling. There’s suspense and historical intrigue and all sorts of spooky awesome historical things. The pacing is off in places, and there are the most incompetent FBI agents in the history of mankind, but I was so eager to find out what the HECK was going on it didn’t seem to matter as much.

Bond has done great research in the history of Roanoke Island, and has woven a fascinating alternate history full of quests for immortality and evil alchemists.

All in all, the book isn’t perfect, but I’d certainly recommend it. There’s quality writing here and Bond has some amazingly original idea. For fans of history, the supernatural, romance, pop culture references, and alternating POVs.


  1. Nice review. This has been on my goodreads TBR list for a while, but I haven't gotten around to it.

    1. I sympathize. My TBR list is so long I don't think I'll ever finish it. I'd give Blackwood a shot if you have some time.


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