Lily at Bookluvrs Haven's Reviews > Blackwood

Blackwood by Gwenda Bond
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Aug 14, 2012

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Review originally featured on Bookluvrs Haven


'Blackwood' caught my eye based solely on its beautiful and eye catching cover. Though I, like many other readers, JUDGE NOT by a cover, how can you resist a cover like this? Throw in a blurb about a century plus old mystery, which reenacts again on the same island, and I was game.

This novel moved a little slowly for me, though it was packed with action. And initially I could not put my finger on it. There was so much happening all the time, and yet, I sighed repeatedly wishing the plot would move along.

And then EUREKA! I think I figured out my issue.

The tension building was in all the wrong places.

114 disappear. Holy crap, that's scary. Then... POOF!... they return. BUT there was no focus on the reactions of the town, nevermind that there was no believable reaction! If there was major confusion, curiosity or elation at seeing loved ones suddenly return, I didn't really feel it. Even Miranda didn't really question two of her friends, she pretty much accepted their return and moved on. Which I found odd. I would be vomiting questions, left right and center! But without going into major spoilers... Miranda's reaction, or lack of, to one very important person's return especially, was baffling for the lack of complete and utter shock, of which I know most people may feel. Once again, there was unnatural acceptance that all was not right, and moved on...

I wish the author had focused on the odd behaviors as well, and built tension there. It would be scary if a loved one went missing, then suddenly reappeared and didn't behave like themselves. I would be really creeped out. Maybe downright terrified. And there was no real reader exposure to those feelings in the book. Miranda and Phillips were on a mission, and while I understand that action time needs to be devoted to that, there is only so much tension you can develop with that particular focus. I would have been riveted as a reader, if some of that focus was diverted to really exploring the oddness of the return, of their behaviors, etc...

Moving on to the positives, I did enjoy this novel. I thought the premise was incredibly interesting. I have visited North and South Carolina a few times in my life, and honestly, never heard of Roanoke Island or its mysterious legend of the colony disappearance. This book definitely made me curious enough to spend a few hours googling the heck out of 'Roanoke Island', losing much needed sleep, to satisfy my curiosity.

I really enjoyed Miranda and Phillips' characters. The undertone of their attraction and budding romance was endearing. I wanted Phillips to just MAKE A MOVE ALREADY!!! Phillips 'gift' was curious and fascinating, though I wish there had been more focus on that as well, as I was very curious at what the voices assaulting him were really saying... as in, most of the time, and not just on a couple of occasions.

The author's own original take on this legend and then intertwining it into a present day disappearance and reappearance was very fascinating. There were constant spurts of action that made it really difficult to put the novel down.

The ending was a mixture of 'meh' and 'Cool!'. I did like how the author ended the last scene. However, the 'big reveal' was not as explosive as I wished it had been.

Regardless of my mixed feelings, I did like Gwenda Bond's style and imagination, and will look forward to future novels. There is definitely a lot of potential there and hope that it really comes through in future works.
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Reading Progress

July 23, 2012 –
0.0% "Been pretty curious about this novel for a while, especially since Goodreads friends had such opposing reviews. Let's just see what this one is all about, shall we?"
July 23, 2012 –
page 56
17.28% "k.. so far, I am pretty intrigued!"
July 23, 2012 –
page 120
37.04%
July 24, 2012 –
page 175
54.01%
July 24, 2012 –
page 205
63.27%
July 24, 2012 –
page 205
63.27%
July 24, 2012 –
page 270
83.33%
July 24, 2012 –
page 270
83.33% "I think I have a feeling of where this storyline is going!"
July 24, 2012 –
page 362
100%
July 25, 2012 –
page 380
100% "So much going on.... so why am I a little bored??"
Started Reading
August 1, 2012 – Finished Reading
August 14, 2012 – Shelved

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