Monday 17 September 2012

Review: Blackwood by Gwenda Bond

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Publisher for review

Synopsis 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.

Weaving old legends with new mythology, Blackwood is weird, creepy and... different.

The setting of this small island is itself very creepy, and these people who all know each other and have their own very ingrained sense of their history. The fact that it is based on a genuine old legend, and even uses real historical names gives the story a real edge.

I instantly liked Miranda who is odd and a bit of a loner. I also loved the many pop-culture references she uses to TV shows like Battlestar Galactica, Alias, the Joss Whedon shows and others (because of being a big geek myself :D).

Miranda comes from one of the islands most notorious family names. She is also cursed. She works backstage at the theatre where they re-enact the legend of the Lost Colony for the tourists, and is obsessed with the history of the island.

Both the main characters Miranda and Phillips have odd quirks and mental powers connected to the history of the island- Miranda has visions and cannot leave the island, and Phillips hears the voices of the dead- but only when he is on the island. Only the two of them may be able to solve the mystery when 114 people mysteriously disappear overnight from the island again, as they are able to know things that others couldn't know.

I loved how the two main characters Miranda and Phillips had to get past their fears and how they grew and changed throughout the book, especially how they grew to trust each other and rely on each other. I love a story with a slow building romantic sideline to it, and this book fits in with that.

The writing is eerie and lyrical, and the story feels a lot like an episode of supernatural. At times it takes a little bit of a leap to accept the paranormal elements of the story, as it heads off it strange directions with spirits and curses, but go with it, and it's a fun book. It is spine-tingling but at the same time still feels believable and compulsively intriguing.

It is really refreshing to read a stand-alone novel for a change, and Blackwood is certainly unique. I really liked it.

Thanks to Strange Chemistry for the review copy. Blackwood is out now.


  1. I liked that it was a stand alone as well. It's always noce when you don't have to wait months to see how the story ends! Great review!

  2. I live in NC and have visited the island where the colony existed. I haven't seen the reenactment but was named for one of the children born in the colony. I am so intrigued by this story and what really happened to the colonists. I'd love to know what the theory is in this novel.


  3. This book sounds really interesting and I LOVE the idea of more standalone novels!

  4. Oohh I love creepy and strange books. I'm up to reading this! xD
    Thanks for the review ^__^


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