It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark.
But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead. His girlfriend Adriane, Nora’s best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.
Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.
I’ve heard this book compared to a YA DaVinci Code, and I found that to be true. The thing is, I actually thought that this book was better. Written better, and more interesting overall.
The characters in this were really well done. I loved it that Nora & Max aren’t gorgeous and hot. They’re nerdy. The beautiful people trope sometimes gets tiresome in YA. And the friend relationships seemed really genuine, especially Nora and Chris. They interacted the way that real people would, and friend relationships can be hard to do well in YA. I had a hard time understanding what Nora saw in Max, though. He was kind of an unpleasant dork.
Wasserman doesn’t dumb down her prose at all, which I appreciated. The plot is complicated but not so complicated that it’s hard to keep up. The pacing is really good as well. Even the parts where there’s not a lot of action going on seemed to fly by. And I really liked all of the little puzzles and such that the characters had to unravel, it made things super interesting. And the mystery aspects of the story were great. So much deception!
The descriptions of Prague were also incredible, but that may be a personal thing since it’s a place that I’ve always wanted to go. I almost felt like I could see it at times.
It’s hard to say too much about this book without giving anything away, and giving spoilers for this book should be against the law. Just read it, it’s awesome.