Review: Blackwood by Gwenda Bond

Image from Goodreads

Title: Blackwood
Author: Gwenda Bond
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Publication Date: 6 Sept 2012
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

On Roanoke Island, the legend of the 114 people who mysteriously vanished from the Lost Colony hundreds of years ago is just an outdoor drama for the tourists, a story people tell. But when the island faces the sudden disappearance of 114 people now, an unlikely pair of 17-year-olds may be the only hope of bringing them back.

Miranda, a misfit girl from the island’s most infamous family, and Phillips, an exiled teen criminal who hears the voices of the dead, must dodge everyone from federal agents to long-dead alchemists as they work to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony. The one thing they can’t dodge is each other.

Blackwood is a dark, witty coming of age story that combines America’s oldest mystery with a thoroughly contemporary romance.

 I love the sound of this book and really wanted to read it myself but being the complete pansy that I am; every time I tried to pick it up I would freak out with the cover.  Thankfully Jenni came to my rescue. Thank you Jenni <3


Before I started reading Blackwood I’d never heard of Roanoke Island, let alone the legend of the Lost Colony. After the first couple of chapters I actually looked it up to see whether it was an actual legend or one created by the author for the book as I’ve read books where this has been done. It’s a genuine legend though and one that I definitely want to read more about now as a result of reading Blackwood.

The book opens with some spooky goings on right in the first chapter, this was enough to hook me as my brain went into overdrive trying to work out what might be going on. Over the next few chapters things get increasingly strange as the legend seems to be repeating itself with 114 of the island’s residents going missing overnight. The plot is fast paced with the whole book taking place in a really short period of time which I thought worked well to heighten the reader’s experience.

The story is told in the third person following the two teenagers at the centre of the story, Miranda and Phillips. Both of these characters are interesting and well drawn, they’ve both had difficult lives and as a result perhaps don’t always react the way a typical teenager would but this feels genuine and right for the characters. I really liked that for some of the minor characters their actions were explained and justified in a way that had me changing my opinions about them over the course of the book.

I really enjoyed this book, it incorporated the legend of the Lost Colony well into a contemporary setting blending the past with the present cleverly. The way the plot twists and turns keeps the book exciting from start to finish, there were a couple of moments that left me feeling completely surprised. I shall certainly be looking forward to reading whatever Gwenda Bond writes next.


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  1. Avatar

    The cover is rather creepy. Even I would struggle to pick it and read.

  2. Avatar

    hmmm I quite fancy this one x

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