Blackwood (Strange Chemistry Series)

Blackwood (Strange Chemistry Series)

by Gwenda Bond

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781908844071
Publisher: Watkins Media
Publication date: 09/04/2012
Series: Strange Chemistry Series
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 5.34(w) x 7.58(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

Gwenda Bond is a contributing writer for Publishers Weekly and regularly reviews for Locus. Her nonfiction work has also appeared in the Washington Post, Lightspeed, and Strange Horizons, among others, and she guest-edited a special YA issue for Subterranean Online. She holds an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts' program in writing for children and young adults. Readers of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet may know her as everyone's Dear Aunt Gwenda.

She lives in a hundred-year-old house in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband, author Christopher Rowe, and their menagerie: Hemingway the Cat, Polydactyl, LLC; Miss Emma the Dog-Girl, CPA; and Puck the Puppy, INC. This is her first novel.

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Blackwood 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
eternalised More than 1 year ago
Talk about chills. I’ve always been intriguing by the dissapearance of the population of Roanoke, so I had to pick up this book about the mystery, and let’s say I wasn’t dissapointed. I liked the dynamics between the two main characters. They had some definite chemistry, and it’s not insta-love, so that’s great too. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lily_F More than 1 year ago
'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. Received ARC from publisher via Netgalley for an honest review.
JK1515 More than 1 year ago
Hmm...I can honestly say I have no opinion good or bad on this book. There were many interesting facets of this story, yet it was a little hard to follow along. This book has history, mystery, ancient curses, ghostly voices inside one's head, alchemy and body jumping bad guys. As I said, interesting facets of a story. There was a lot going on and the story felt busy in a good way. I wish the story wasn't so jumpy between Phillips and Miranda. It felt like a game of ping pong a little bit. I do like the idea of dual narration though. If you like history, then this book is for you. The author worked very hard at using an old history lesson and twisting it into a modern day story. I found the premise interesting. Okay folks, I think that is all I have to say about this book. It will be out 09/04/2012 if you want to venture a historical fantasy read.
PrettyInFiction More than 1 year ago
Blackwood by Gwenda Bond is about the lost colony of Roanoke and what happens when present day inhabitants of the island go missing. It's told in the alternating perspectives of Miranda Blackwood, youngest member of the cursed Blackwood family, and Phillips Rawling, the police chief's son who has a dark secret of his own. With a storyline jam packed full of history's mysteries, fans of suspense are sure to enjoy Blackwood. I enjoyed reading Blackwood. I found the writing to be reminiscent of L.J. Smith's books. Which is funny, because there is a lot of talk in Blackwood about The Vampire Diaries. Though it's the show, not the books, they're speaking of. It did make me giggle, though. In fact, there were quite a few pop culture references throughout Blackwood. Usually, that sort of thing is hit or miss for me. Sometimes too many references to movies or tv shows can kill the story for me. But in Blackwood, it just works. I found it really helped me connect with the characters. Miranda is a tough heroine. She's faced with this title of traitor, thinks she's destined to help the evil trying to take over Roanoke Island, but she never once stops fighting. Phillips is a great character. I fell in love with him from the very first second he shows up in the novel, climbing back into his dorm room window after pulling a prank on the principal of his boarding school. Miranda calls him her hero, but the truth is they are equals in their quest to save their home. I really enjoyed reading about both of their characters. Also, I adored Miranda's dog Sidekick. He's so cute! Blackwood is a fantastic paranormal thriller that reminded me of the show The 4400 at times. It's suspenseful and will keep you mystified until the very end. I'd recommend it to fans of paranormal romance or anyone interested in reading one author's explanation of the unexplained occurrences that took place on Roanoke Island over four hundred years ago.
kimba88 More than 1 year ago
I have always be intrigued by the mystery that surrounds the Lost Colony on Roanoke Island and when I saw the cover of Blackwood and read the synopsis I knew I had to read this tale. Author Gwenda Bond offers her unique twist on this mystery. I found this tale to be dark, gritty and creepy! It grabbed me at page one and the mystery kept me turning the pages. The tale begins when we meet Miranda Blackwood; she is working at the local theater where they replay the tale of the missing colonist for tourist. Miranda hears and sees a giant ship moving its way towards the stage. Terrified it will crush an actress, she leaps on to the stage knocking the actress down. Expecting a crash she is shocked that the ship disappeared into thin air. Mortified by the stares, she heads home. Her drunken dad is on his way out and she curls up in bed with her dog, Sidekick. In the morning she wakes to discover her dad never returned home. She quickly assumes he has landed himself in jail again. She jumps in her car dubbed, “the pineapple” and heads into town to bail him out. What she discovers is that 114 residents of Roanoke Island have disappeared, the exact same amount that went missing and were never found in 1584. Her dad is among the missing. Sounds creepy right? The tale that unfolds kept me captivated as Miranda discovers secrets about the island and her family. The characters in Bond’s novel were quirky, witty, scary and unique. I liked Miranda. She is known as the town “freak” and readily embraces this label. She marches to her own drum and has enough problems at home to even think about dealing with people’s opinions. While often timid she can be witty, sarcastic and brave. Phillip is the son of the town sheriff, who was so plagued by hearing the ghosts of spirits his parents sent him away to school. When everyone goes missing, his Dad decides he needs his freaky-kind-of-help. I liked Phillips’s need to protect Miranda, and his edgy bad boy personality. The back history and connection between, Miranda and Phillip was interesting, but lacked some of the depth I need from a sparking romance. It was not insta-love and there were some cute romantic moments. Other characters propelled the story, some felt right and others did not. I would have liked to have seen both present and past characters a little more fleshed out. The world-building while not without flaws was refreshing and the storyline kept me turning the pages. Some events felt anti-climatic and others needed more back-story. Despite these flaws, I really enjoyed the tale and consumed this in a single afternoon. Bond’s writing style was enjoyable and the book was well paced. The mystery, the curse and the chain of events were both creepy and suspenseful. I love the mystery behind the Lost Colony and enjoyed this refreshing take on it. I want to thank Angry Robot and netGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.