Here's the summary from Goodreads: It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark. But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora’s best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer. Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.
What I Liked: 1) I loved the way it began. "I guess I should start with the blood." Robin Wasserman certainly knows how to grip you and pull you in from the very beginning. The first few chapters served as a great hook. 2) The mystery. I loved all the coded messages and the traveling, and how it was almost like a big scavenger hunt. There were all these great clues to follow, but first they had to figure out what each one meant. That was really an interesting twist. 3) Nora. She was smart, intuitive, and compassionate. She was an easy main character to like. It's always refreshing to see an MC with a quick mind who is eager to use it. 4) The setting. I loved the descriptive setting of this book, especially the parts that were set in Prague. I've never been though it's on my list of top five places to visit. Even though I haven't been there, the fantastic writing and descriptions I was easily able to picture everything and see the events in my mind as they were unfolding.
What I Didn't Like: 1) Parts of the story were hard to follow. I don't know if it was because there were things I was unfamiliar with, or maybe the writing style just didn't jive with me. It's hard for me to get into a book when the story keeps getting interrupted because I don't understand or can't comprehend something. It was a little discouraging as a reader to need to re-read things, pulling myself out of the flow of the story. 2) The main guys. Max and Eli. I wanted to like them both. And there are times when you do, when you are almost there. But there is just something holding me back from liking them. Part of it was suspicion. That was good, because you are supposed to be suspicious of them. But there was just something missing from their development that kept the reader for completely falling for them.
Overall thoughts: The Book of Blood and Shadow comes with an onslaught of information that can easily leave a reader confused and discouraged. It is smart and witty, but left a little to be desired from me as the reader. I needed more connection with the characters other than Nora, and something more succinct explanations of what all was happening. There is a great hook in the beginning, but I generally found that the rest of the story did not hold up. Readers will enjoy following along with Nora as she decodes messages and follows clues to answer the murder of her friend Chris and attempt to clear her boyfriend's name. There were definitely parts that intrigued me, but overall it just wasn't for me.