Monday 24 September 2012

Blackwood by Gwenda Bond

Published by Strange Chemisty on the 4th September 2012
Pages - 324
Book kindly sent by publisher for an honest review.

The first time Miranda Blackwood checked the back of her closet for a portal to another world she was eleven. That was the year her mother died. After the closet, she tried other places. She wandered small patches of woods, seeking doors hidden in twisted trees, and peered into mirrors, searching for reflections that weren't her own. 
Goodreads Summary

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.
I went into this book rather blind to the story. I hadn't read any reviews, I didn't even read the blurb on the back.  I was basically led by the rather attractive cover and I thought  would let myself become absorbed and see if the story could unravel itself within the first couple of pages so that I would have a fair idea of what the story was about. From the first paragraph which I have quoted at the top I was drawn into the story. I felt the first few lines were powerful enough to make me read on. Once I discovered that the book revolved around a well known legend I was smitten. There is nothing more I enjoy than losing myself in a story that is based on truth, which leaves you with that questioning mind at the end where you wonder what really happened in the first place.
I had never ever heard of the Lost Colony legend and I didn't realise it was true until it was pointed out to me on Twitter, so I searched the internet for evidence which I discovered here. Blackwood was insprired by the original legend and I really do feel that the author has created a fascinating and thrilling story with the legend glistening as the centre piece. 
The characters were extremely well written  and very strong in temperament as they took on basically everyone in town. The story is told from the dual perspectives of Miranda and Phillips and it really helped to see it from both sides. Miranda and Phillips were viewed by most of their town as the type of kids you didn't really mix with, each one boosting a reputation that neither lived up to in reality, proving that rumours do escalate.  Both are very wary of each other to begin with and it takes time for Miranda to really trust that Phillips has her best interests at heart. She has been let down by so many in her past, she isn't quite ready to give all her trust. Gradually as the story progresses Miranda realises just how much Phillips is willing to sacrifice for her and they begin to appear like a modern YA version of Bonnie and Clyde as they dodge everyone in authority in order to discover the truth. 
As always, the dog was my favourite character! Add a lovely and loyal canine companion and I will always be captivated by the story. Sidekick is simply gorgeous and  I was desperate to rub behind his ears. 
John Dee was an interesting interpretation of the real person and his unhealthy interest in Miranda gave me the creeps, especially considering who he was portraying his feelings through. 
The plot was absorbing and gripping and reminded a little of the recent TV series Alcatraz. I was totally hooked throughout the book.  I really love how the author has interpreted this piece of history. An excellent debut where the author has taken a true story and completely made it her own by adding elements of magic and paranormal activity. 


Hiya, thanks for stopping by, it is always nice to hear what you have to say, so do leave a comment if you have time.