Saturday, August 4, 2012

Blackwood by Gwenda Bond

First I have to thank both Netgalley and Angry Robot publisher for allowing me to read this e-galley in June.  I was intrigued right from the description because the story is based on the mystery of Roanoke.  Something that has always fascinated me.  There have been many theories over time, of course first is that they all died, but then where were the remains, or any people left to tell what happened?  The Native Americans there should be able to tell something, but nothing was ever learned.  Then the word Croatoan carved into a tree there.  This is a topic that has been explored on many of my favorite tv shows, including the X-Files, and Supernatural.  And this book has a new, unique take on the whole thing.
The main character is Miranda, and she is the town "freak".  All her life her family has been treated as if they are the causes of anything bad that goes wrong.  She is a Blackwood, the only possible survivor of the original colony was an ancestor of hers.  Or so she learns later from the crazy scientist on the island that she calls Dr. Roswell, after the tv series, and his crazy theories about what happened.  She works on the town's big summer play about the whole disappearance and what is known about that original colony.  At the beginning of the story we are with Miranda watching the play's performance, and all of a sudden she sees a giant ghost ship flying above the area, and she thinks it will crash into the stage!  But no one else notices it, and she disrupts the play, embarrassing herself.  When she goes home that night, she thinks it is following her, in fact all the dogs begin to act funny as well.  That night, her father goes out, but never comes back home.  And he's not the only one, 114 people have disappeared.  The exact number of the original settlers that disappeared.
Our 2nd main character is Phillips, a boy Miranda's age who was sent away for causing trouble, and even accused Miranda of what her family had always been blamed for, and he did it in a humiliating way.  Yet, he has his own issues.  He can hear the voices of the dead.  And he sees this story, and has this feeling he must get back to help Miranda.  Even though by going away he has stopped the voices in his head.  When he was on the island, before he got sent away, Dr. Roswell had been his therapist, so he looks to him for help, using what Miranda has seen to try to help.  Not too long after, the missing return, except Miranda's father who has been murdered.  Miranda and Phillips must figure out what is going on, the returned people seem different.  Miranda is soon accused of helping to kill her father.  They must fight an evil force to get back their family, and friends, and save the island and themselves.
I have to say the theory behind this story is a new one, and a very interesting idea!  I liked it a lot.  The whole story got very intricate and detailed, there was a bit of confusion for me, but it wasn't enough to keep the story from making sense, and me enjoying it.  I'll let you read and see if it is confusing for you at all.  A great stand alone story for teens for a change.

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