Sunday, September 02, 2012

Early Review: Blackwood by Gwenda Bond

by Gwenda Bond

Expected publication: September 4th 2012 by Strange Chemistry

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.

Strange Chemistry


My Review

First line: The first time Miranda Blackwood checked the back of her closet for a portal to another world she was eleven.

Last line: "Don't slow down," she said.

Favorite quote: If she doesn't open the door pointing a gun at you, it's progress.

At the end of the 16th century a group of over a hundred colonists came from London to settle on Roanoke Island, North Carolina. One day, out of nowhere. all the 114 of them disappeared. Men, women, children... they all went missing. 

Their disappearance remains unexplained to this very day.

It's the 21st century now, and much has changed in Roanoke Island. But never for Miranda Blackwood. After her mother's death, her father became a 'professional drinker', leaving al the responsabilities to her. As if that wasn't bad enough, the whole town thinks her family is cursed. Bad things always seem to be happening to them. Miranda has always been reluctant to agree to such nonsense, but recent occurences are starting to change her mind on the subject.

Like the first time the massive black ship with strange symbols appeared. It floated over a local theater performance and moved right into one of the actresses, forcing Miranda to try and save the poor girl... only to be ridiculed afterwards. Apparently no one saw the ship but her. The weirdo.

The day after that, people started to go missing. About 114 people, to be more exact. Out of nowhere. They just went POOF. And Miranda was sure her drunk father was one of them...  until the local Chief of Police called her to say her father was found. Well, his murdered body, to be more exact. Oh, and Phillips, local troublemaker and son of the Chief, is back in town.

When the body of Miranda's father disappears from the morgue, his cursed birthmark in the shape of a snape appears in her cheek and the missing people return, acting very strangely, she's sure that something very wrong is happening in the Island. Something that involves her. And Phillips, who can hear the voices of the dead. 

Together they'll discover what really went on in 1589, why it's happening again and how exactly they both fit into it. And, more importantly, how they're supposed to get out of it.

Blackwood was a very interesting tale. Intense and surprisingly to the point. However, I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I should have.

The characters were nicely written, the situations were quite attention-grabbing and the mood was well-set, but it still felt like something was missing, for me. Maybe the 'love' relationship fell a little short or felt a little forced to me. Or the alchemy thing was just a tad strange or unfitting, in my opinion. I'm not sure, maybe a bit of both? Anyway, it just wasn't a very good combination for me. I expected something other than what was delivered. 

I did love the presence of a heroic dog, though. A LOT. Sidekick was my favorite character in the whole thing. I couldn't wait to see how the author would make him fit in the story most of the time. LOL. She did a very good job.

If you enjoy mysterious paranormal YA tales, then you'll probably enjoy Blackwood. I may have not loved it, but many others did. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

* I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*


  1. Sounds like a book I would like. I like the historical story coming back in the present. Interesting. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention.

  2. I loved your review, but as Annette said, it sounds like a book I'd like haha. I'll give a try to it and put in my to-read list. I hope they release it soon >_< and too sad I didn't take it on Netgalley.

  3. well I definitely like the name and that it's not a series. The first time a heard about Roanoke was on Supernatural.


I would love to read what you have to say. :)