Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Blackwood by Gwenda Bond
The second I heard that Blackwood featured the disappearance of the Roanoke colonists, I HAD to read it. The Roanoke mystery is one of my favorite historical conundrums. What happened to them? Where did they go? Did anyone survive?
This one begins in present day Roanoke Island. Miranda Blackwood is an intern with The Lost Colony production. It is a welcome respite from her days of tending her alcoholic father and dealing with constant taunts from the locals. The Blackwoods have always been known as screwups, cursed with being lowlifes, and always stuck on Roanoke.
Then Miranda sees something strange, a gigantic ghostly ship, and the next day, 114 people have vanished, her father included. Although he isn't missing, he's dead and soon the snake birthmark on his face is now on Miranda.
Phillips has a bad reputation - he broke every rule he could in an effort to get sent away, the only way he knew to escape the voices of the dead that invade his mind. However, when 114 people disappear from the island, Phillips father, the police chief, knows something weird is going on, and that he needs Phillip's help.
Soon Phillips and Miranda have teamed up, trying to stop what was started years ago when the first colony vanished.
There's alchemy, curses, and two leads that I really liked. Miranda is geeky (her favorite curse is frak) and snarky. She's more than a bit bitter about how she has been treated, and is rightfully freaked out by what is happening. She is not completely altruistic, but she also doesn't back down. Phillips knows about being cursed - he hears the voices of the dead and can't control it. He and Miranda have a bit of a past history. At first, I thought that their teaming up happened a bit too fast, but as I got to know the characters better, it made sense.
Blackwood is fast paced with some romance. It is also the rare YA standalone, so the story has an ending and you won't be waiting a year (or more) to find out how it all ends. While I do like reading series, it is so nice to have a standalone too.
I'll be looking for the next book from Bond.