Reviews for Blackwood
Kirkus Reviews 2012 August #2
The only mystery here is how one of America's oldest unsolved events--the Lost Colony of Roanoke--becomes tedious in this piece of speculative fiction. Seventeen-year-old Miranda Blackwood knows she's the town freak because her family carries a curse that has confined them for centuries to Roanoke Island, N.C., the same island from which the English colonists attempting to found the first colony disappeared without a trace. It doesn't help that she's begun seeing strange visions of the settlers' ships. After the island awakens to find 114 of its residents missing (matching the number of Lost Colonists)--and Miranda's father murdered--Miranda aims to find the causes. Phillips, a descendant of the "Witch of Roanoke Island," can "hear voices" when he is on the island, so his police-chief father summons him from his safe boarding school on the mainland to assist. In a third-person narration that alternates viewpoints, the passionless teens enlist the aid of crackpot theorist Dr. Roswell. Through him, they learn more about their ancestries and Elizabethan alchemist John Dee, who, according to Roswell, wanted to build a New London on Roanoke as a first outpost of an empire of immortals. When Dee returns from the past and takes possession of Miranda's dead father's body, the teens' new mission becomes keeping this egomaniac from realizing his dream. Just when adventure should set in, the story grows increasingly repetitive and mind-numbing. Readers will be lost, indeed. (Speculative fiction. 13 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 August #2
Bond, a first-time novelist and PW contributor, presents a modern-day story set on Roanoke Island that offers an explanation for the mysterious real-life disappearance of 114 colonists from the island during the 16th century. When the exact same number of Roanoke residents go missing one night, Miranda, a town outcast whose alcoholic father is murdered the same night, and Phillips, son of the Roanoke police chief, try to figure out what happened. The story shifts focus between the two 17-year-olds, both of whom feel connected to the island's mysteries: Phillips has heard the voices of spirits in his head for years, and Miranda's family is believed to be cursed. Despite past bad blood between the teenagers, they work together, trying to save the island and everyone they love. Bond uses a wealth of pop-culture references to establish her protagonists as hip outsiders, though they may not age well (and Miranda's constant use of the Battlestar Galactica expletive "frak" is intrusive). Still, Bond has created an engaging mythology and mystery involving alchemy, curses, and past lives. Ages 13-up. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Sept.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC