In 1590, 114 People Disappeared from Roanoke Island, Will It Happen Again?


Title: Black­wood
(Ama­zon, Goodreads)
Author: Gwenda Bond
(Ama­zon, Goodreads, Web­site)
Series: None
Pub­lisher: Strange Chem­istry/Angry Robot
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi
For­mat: Kin­dle E-book
Source: Net­Gal­ley


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 Black­wood, a mis­fit girl from the island’s most infa­mous fam­ily, and Phillips Rawl­ings, 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.


I read a review of vN on The Lit­tle Red Reviewer and dis­cov­ered a new pub­lish­ing house, Angry Robot.  While I found numer­ous books on their site to review, I came across their YA imprint, Strange Chem­istry, dur­ing a Net­Gal­ley search.  And there I found Black­wood.  Fully aware that you never know what you’ll get, I requested a chance to review it and was approved.  I have seen some early reviews from other blog­gers who didn’t know the story of Roanoke Island and the Lost Colony.  How­ever, I recall my fas­ci­na­tion with this his­tor­i­cal event from my grade school his­tory courses.  A modern-day tale that revolves around this story? I’m in!

I was not dis­ap­pointed.  The story is well-written, intrigu­ing, and the teen romance wasn’t over­done.  I never vis­ited Roanoke Island, but I imag­ine that hav­ing read these detailed descrip­tions, that I would feel I’d been there before when I do get there.  Bond pulls you into the story of Miranda Black­wood.  Of course she’s cursed, this is a YA para­nor­mal romance, but Bond weaves her into a believ­able char­ac­ter trapped on the island as a stage hand for the local the­ater com­pany and tak­ing care of her father, the town drunk.  Miranda views her life as the same day over and over again stretch­ing out for the rest of her life.  Until she sees the ship, but she’s the only one.  That’s when the story starts to build and you can’t put the book down.

Peo­ple dis­ap­pear and that is only the begin­ning.  Can Miranda bring them back since she’s the one that can see the mys­te­ri­ous ship?  What about her family’s curse and the mark her father bears?  No sooner do the peo­ple dis­ap­pear than Phillips, the roman­tic inter­est who can also hear voices, comes back to the island.  He is not your typ­i­cal bad-boy, and at times it’s hard not to side with his deci­sions to aban­don the island for a pri­vate school on the mainland.

I can’t say the cover is wor­thy of the book, but the story within the end pages is worth a read.  It’s not out until later this year, but put it on your radar.  And if you’ve never heard of the Lost Colony on Roanoke Island, do some read­ing and I’m sure you’ll be intrigued for a mod­ern tale revolv­ing around the disappearance.

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