Review by Jessica
April 2012 by Random House Children's Books
Amazon + Good Reads
"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."
I have very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand it is dark, thrilling, mysterious, and well written. On the other, though, there are annoying parts to the story that seem to happen in many YA book.
The story itself is amazing. The historical conspiracy mystery aspect of it made it feel like a YA version of an addicting Dan Drown novel. The characters go through a bloody and dark journey of translating hundreds of years old letters, going across the world, and following hidden messages to find an answer to something never solved before. It was very a interesting plot to read, and therefore was so hard to put down.
But then there were those parts of the book that made me roll my eyes. The way everything just happened to fall in place at the right time, the way the main character didn't really question weird things going on like a guy following her who would have no idea where she even lives, and the nonexistent parents, dumb police, and clueless teachers who barely questioned anything going on. These are all things that are huge pet peeves of mine when it comes to YA literature, and it made me really conflicted since I loved the story but hated that the book had these parts to it.
Overall it was an amazingly afflicting book that had a plot unlike anything I had ever read in YA and that I loved. Even though it had those parts to it that are annoying, it is definitely worth the read and I highly recommend it to readers that love YA and mystery and conspiracy type stories.
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