Carol Crigger's Reviews > Blackwood

Blackwood by Gwenda Bond
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Jun 26, 12

Read in June, 2012

This is an entertaining YA paranormal that builds off the disappearance of 114 souls from Roanoke Island in 1584. The author builds a great story based with snippets known about some of the folks who tried to settle the colony, including John White, an alchemist, and of course, Virginia Dare, the first European child born in the new world--that we know of.

Most of the characters in this book are fictional, of course, including the two main protagonists. First is Miranda Blackwood, an outcast in her school and in the town. Miranda sees things others don’t, and her best friend is a golden retriever named “Sidekick”.

Phillips Rawling, the sheriff’s son, is the other protagonist, and when the story begins, he’s away at a distant school, which helps the voices he hears in his head fade. Phillips is called home when a number—114, to be exact—residents of the island disappear. Miranda’s father, the town drunk, is one of them, and when he turns up murdered, then comes back to life, Phillips and she team up to discover what is going on. The mystery and magic lead them into ever-gathering darkness and danger from resurrected alchemists looking for world domination and immortality.

Appealing characters, including the dog, and a grand mystery will keep the pages turning. I liked the independent young people who don’t blame their parents for everything that goes wrong, including inherited penchants for family curses. And I like parents who acknowledge that their children might be able to solve the mystery and extinguish the evil rampant on the island. Having a strong lead in each sex, this story will intrigue both boys and girls. Scary without being too full of blood lust, Blackwood is an altogether satisfying story.
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