Today I’ll be reviewing Strange Alchemy by Gwenda Bond. I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Let’s get on with it:
On Roanoke Island, the legend of the Lost Colony—and the 114 colonists who vanished without a trace more than four hundred years ago—still haunts the town. But that’s just a story told for the tourists.
When 114 people suddenly disappear from the island in present day, it seems history is repeating itself—and an unlikely pair of seventeen-year-olds might be the only hope of bringing the missing back. Miranda Blackwood, a member of one of island’s most infamous families, and Grant Rawling, the sherrif’s son, who has demons and secrets of his own, find themselves at the center of the mystery.
As the unlikely pair works to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony, they must dodge everyone from the authorities to long-dead alchemists as they race against time to save their family and friends before they too are gone for good.
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Publication Date: Aug 1 2017
Publisher: Switch Press [ARC received from NetGalley]
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, mystery
I’ve been wanting to read this for a while ever since I was approved of the ARC. So out of the blue, I decided to start it last night, aaaand I finished it at 4am [#proud]. I simply could not put it down! The writing was super easy to follow, the characters I adore, and I love all the pop culture references and quirky dialogues. I’ve been wanting to read more YA paranormal and mystery and THIS BOOK WAS IT! It has got a nice blend of historical touch and even though Yours Truly’s forte isn’t American history, I still really enjoyed this element.
From the detailed writing and the building-up of eerie atmospheres, Bond has done a phenomenal job at having me hooked! I love how the book has dual POVs, and for the first time ever, I didn’t have a preference on which POV I’m reading from! They are both really good! I was gravitated towards the story more and more as I dived deeper into the
plot whirlpool of mysteries. I simply could not stop reading [ok I’ll stop, I said that twice now]. It’s been a while since I read a book in one sitting, so this book made me feel good too, double plus. [And guess who’s gonna only read paranormal/mystery novels for her next readathon?]
Image from Roanoke Island Festival Park
Now for the characters: Miranda Blackwood is used to being called all kinds of names by those who reside on the island. Thanks to her family’s curse. Ever since her mum’s death, she has learnt to keep her head down, been taking care of her father and follows the rules as best as she could. With literally every thing around her going haywire, she found an unlikely alliance with the sheriff’s son, Grant Rawling (aka our boy with a secret). whom humiliated Miranda in front of the school three and a half years ago. Without spilling anything, I’ll let you know that Grant is a darling, he deserves everything good in this world because he’s so so sweet, and kind, and caring, like,
can I have him? he needs to be protected at all cost from this violent world. There are also quite a few secondary characters to keep track on but it was easy to follow through, so don’t worry if you can’t remember everyone’s name.
ALSO, MIRANDA HAS A DOG. I REPEAT SHE HAS A DOG! AND THIS FACT ALONE MAKES THIS BOOK EVEN BETTER. His name is Sidekick by the way, in case you were wondering. [I had to put this in a single sentence because this fact is too important and cannot be overlooked].
Moving on, I don’t know if it’s just me, but I have a thing for guys who are genuinely sweet and protective. Miranda, given her state as a ‘bringer of bad luck’, never really had a friend (or anyone who will truly stand up for her), so it was heart-warming to see her getting along with Grant as they attempt to solve the mystery together.
The next thing is a positive note, in my opinion, but it may not be for some of you: a slow burn romance (which may or may not be considered insta-love for some people) – BUT BUT BUT, it’s the good, well-executed Kasie-West-kind! AND I LOVE IT! Look, as long as the pair have known each other’s existence for a couple of years, I, myself, really wouldn’t call it insta-love. But hey, we all have our unique definitions, and that’s okay!
All in all, I really enjoyed this thrilling novel! The building up of tensions, the small town vibes and modern-historical parallel really made this book a win-win for me. If you are in search of a YA blend of paranormal mystery with a dash of historical epic-ness (oh yes the fans of The Raven Cycle I’m looking at you), I highly recommend Strange Alchemy to you!
That’s all from me today! Have a great one!