Monday, May 28, 2012

Review: Blackwood by Gwenda Bond


Title: Blackwood 
Author: Gwenda Bond
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Source: For Review 
Format: ARC

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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. (taken from goodreads.com) 
Ever since I learned about the legend of the Lost Colony in my high school history class, I've wanted to know more. Just where did those colonists disappear to? What force can cause 114 people to vanish? I was thrilled to find a novel that attempts to explain these questions in an entertaining, unique tale. While I didn't fall in love with Blackwood, it was an enjoyable read simply because the historical aspects of the mystery intrigued me.

Along with my interest in the mystery of Roanoke Island, the characters made the novel. Miranda and Phillips (especially Phillips) are relatable, interesting teens to read about. Miranda is both witty and brave. Ever since her mother passed away, she has become self-reliant and responsible. Phillips, on the other hand, is a trouble maker. What most of the town doesn't know is that he is also a descendant of a long line of psychics. Together, these two have wonderful chemistry. I was rooting for them the whole time.

The plot jumps around quite a bit, and it often left me a little confused or skeptical. I mean, one second Miranda is watching a musical, the next a giant invisible ship is flying towards them. I felt that a large majority of the supernatural elements had the potential to be fascinating but came across as strange and puzzling. Also, the story switches points of view while staying in third person, and I often had a hard time differentiating between Phillips' POV and Miranda's.

Blackwood is definitely not a fast-paced novel. It took me longer than usual to make my way through the story. For some reason, the plot didn't hold my attention enough. Maybe it was my skepticism, or perhaps the plot unrolled too slowly. Either way, despite it's short length, the book is not a quick read.

I truly had a difficult time deciding on a rating for Blackwood. My mixed emotions eventually led me to settle on three and a half stars. I laughed at and rooted for the characters, but I also disliked the pace and unraveling of the plot. However, if you have an interest in the mystery of Roanoke Island, then I suggest you give it a chance.

Rating: 3.5 Stars