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.
There were lots of things I did like about Blackwood by Gwenda Bond, so let’s focus on those first. I loved the setting of Roanoke Island, and thought Gwenda Bond did a superb job of portraying the place, it felt very vivid and atmospheric, and as the story took a darker turn, nicely creepy.
I also liked the characterisations of Miranda and Phillips, they’re both outcasts who find something in each other. Their back-stories, often a weaker part in some books was nicely developed and felt both strong and intriguing. It was nice to see the ‘past’ given some screen-time as well as the present.
So now we move to the plot and the storytelling, again there were some bits that I liked. The pacing was great, often drawing you in for another page or three. Not only that, but Gwenda Bond did a good job of weaving the Roanoke mystery (one I wasn’t aware of before), into the story she was telling. I certainly was kept guessing and was surprised by a twist or two. But for me, and despite all this, there was something about the book that didn’t quite work. I’ve really struggled to put my finger on what it was, and the only way I’ve found to describe it, is it didn’t ‘flow’ quite right for me. Even when, it kept me reading for another page or two beyond what I was planing, it rarely sustained the pull more than that.
Still, there was enough there that I’ll certainly give Gwenda Bond’s next book a go.
[xrrgroup][xrr label="Characters:" rating="4/6" group="s1" ] [xrr label="Plot:" rating="4.5/6" group="s1"] [xrr label="Writing:" rating="3.5/6" group="s1"] [xrr label="Just One More Page:" rating="4/6" group="s1"] [xrr label="Overall:" overall=true group="s1" ][/xrrgroup]
My copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Blackwood by Gwenda Bond is published by Strange Chemistry on September 4th 2012