This book was different than I had expected.
I came across it in my public library by accident, and I wouldn't have picked it up if it were for the way that everywhere I turned, I ended up seeing this book. It was like it loved to taunt me. It begged me to read it. I saw its reviews everywhere; on every profile I turned to, this book was always on their Recent Activity.
The one thing amongst others that I found very exciting about this book is the way it kept referencing to the Voynich Manuscript -- which, I should say, is described and labeled as the most mysterious book in the world.
I mean, wow! Doesn't that sound interesting to you? To read a book that deals with the interpretation of the VM? I love a good murder mystery (and it seems that's the way I'm headed with books now) along with some Latin translations. Seems very original.
When Nora's best friend, Chris, is found dead in his home, her boyfriend Max becomes the prime suspect. He's left her a note for her to decode which leads them to the Prague, but Nora's mission to free Max from his accusations becomes something much more dangerous-- something that had been thought to be destroyed four hundred years ago was now in the midst of Chris's death.
You see, when I picked up this book, even with the synopsis, I had no idea how this story was going to be carved out; and, to be truthful, the story at first was very confusing. Wasserman switches time; the novel starts out with Nora's feelings about Chris's death and then turns back around days before. It was like those movies that gave a little insight of the "right now" scene and then a caption props up saying, "24 hours earlier," which starts, as promised, 24 hours earlier and then passes through the "right now" scene and extends beyond that. A fresh example for that in mind is probably Fugitive at 17
on Lifetime Movie Network.
Also, to say, the writing is very
confusing; more often than not I found myself rereading passages many times. That's one of the reasons for such a delay on this book; I had to retrace my footsteps and make sure to keep in order what was going on. The book held scenes that were, at times, very unnecessary especially considering the letters she was translating into English from Latin-- which, by gosh, bored me to death, I swear. >___> But over time, as I read this book for nearly 6 days, on-and-off, the writing ended up getting familiar. I think most of the time I ended up skipping those indecipherable passages because Nora was just ... way too smart for a high school student. Her use of vocabulary is definitely advanced for her age.
The plot started off a bit slow, but I found that I was too immersed to feel irritated by it. You see, there are lots and lots of foreshadowing before the actual story begins, and I felt a feeling of foreboding because of it. I'm normally patient-ish when concerning stories, but with this one I didn't feel impatient at all.
The romance is basically kept to a minimum. I liked Max. I liked Eli. I liked Chris-- though we only get vague insights of him in the "24 hours before moment." But they were enough. Shockingly, I felt very
disappointed and, well, shocked
at one of the characters (if I tell you who you'll figure it out when you read the book.) I'll just say this: All these characters have tons of secrets, my friends. Tonsss.
Adriane, I thought, was the kind of friend that most people find. The type that says she's your best friend, but when faced with danger sort of runs away, you know? Though she didn't physically do this, I think that's the message I ended up getting. She's a good and realistic
(most YA novels have the supporting characters/best friends as "undeniably loyal" which isn't exactly the case; and I speak from experience) supporting character.
I think Adriane was the most shocking character of all. Really
didn't expect all the twists in turns, which, I think, were done beautifully.
I like Eli. ♥
This book is good. Definitely give it a chance. I'm sure it'll start off slow, but it gets better-- and there may be times that you feel confused (I certainly did about the letters; most of the time I was like "whaaa?") but definitely worth it. I would say that because of the language and maturity, it may be for older YA audiences. Or, at least, very smart and intelligent readers who knows what "catatonic" means. (I didn't, I had to search it up OTL.)