In which I blog about writing, YA fiction and the occasional sparkly unicorn.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Book Review: BLACKWOOD

It's time for a book review! Today's review is on Gwenda Bond's Blackwood. (I'm sorry it took so long to finish this book. I got on a huge knitting kick and let's face it, it's practically impossible to knit while also trying to turn the pages of a book.)

(I love the snake. And the actual cover feels all silky and soft. Just saying.)

Here's the summary from Goodreads:

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 really enjoyed Blackwood. It was a lot of fun to read and I thought the concept was neat and original. The story follows Miranda Blackwood and Phillips Rawling-- two teenagers forced to deal with crazy undead alchemists and ancient curses when 114 people go missing on modern-day Roanoke Island.

Miranda was a great main character. Her life kind of sucked, but she never fell into self-pity. Instead of whining about how awful everything was, she moved on with her life and dealt with her problems. (Often with the help of nerdy television shows). She was a very likeable, geeky teenage girl-- the kind of person I'd like to be friends with.

As for the other main character, what can I say about Phillips Rawling besides HE'S WONDERFUL AND I LOVE HIM AND YOU SHOULD LOVE HIM TOO. He and Miranda were both weird in all the best ways, and I think YA needs some more love interests like him-- guys who know who Elena Gilbert is but who can also break out of jail.

I've seen a couple of people talking about how the insta-love between Miranda and Phillips annoyed them. But honestly, as someone who wants to claw her eyes out at the thought of insta-love, I didn't see much of it. I think it's because even though their relationship developed quite quickly, it was never presented as true love. They were simply two compatible people with a connection who end up crushing on each other. And sometimes that kind of thing happens pretty fast in real life. I thought it was kind of refreshing that I wasn't reading about a couple who's true love was better than all true loves that came before it.

The plot moves along at a very quick pace. Bond keeps the action going, but never lets it feel episodic. However, my one complaint is that I think the plot could have been a little more well-developed. The book, while coming in at 325 pages, feels a little short. I know this will sound weird, but I think it could have used a little more info-dumping. (Whoa...I can't believe I just said that.) I don't mean Bond needs to throw tons of information at the reader, I just think the story never slowed down enough to offer a solid explanation. While I liked the book, and the storyline, I still can't tell you why everything happened.

So, in short, Blackwood was a fun and fast read (well, fast if you aren't trying to knit at the same time). The main characters were quirky and interesting to read about. Their relationship has become one of my favourites in YA (I'm telling you, Miranda and Phillips are frakking adorable.) And plus, the book is filled to the brim with nerdy pop-culture references! What more could you ask for! So go pick up a copy!

Verdict: 3 Stars


  1. I didn't really see this as instant love either. That didn't bother me. Nice review.

    1. Thanks! Yeah, I was happy about the absence of insta-love :)

  2. Hi. Thanks for stopping by YA Society! I do watch Teen Wolf and love Dylan O'Brien. He is naturally funny and really makes the show.

    I haven't heard of Blackwood but it sounds like something I would like. I love your reference to Elena Gilbert...ha ha! Thanks for sharing.

    Not sure if you saw on my blog but I am giving away a Kindle or Nook and there are only 5 days left to enter! :)

    Peace & Love
    Crystal @ YA Society

    1. Teen Wolf and Vampire Diaries: two overly-dramatic shows I can't live without ;)

      I'll definitely check out the giveaway! And thanks for the follow :)