My debut novel, Blackwood, is available now from Strange Chemistry, the YA imprint of Angry Robot Books.
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.
Buy now or add on Goodreads:
by Gwenda Bond
Strange Chemistry/Angry Robot (Sept. 4, 2012)
Or ask your favorite independent bookstore to order it for you. More information on the UK and e-book editions can be found at the publisher. Also available as an audiobook from AudioGo or Amazon/Audible.
"With whip-smart, instantly likable characters and a gothic small-town setting, Bond weaves a dark and gorgeous tapestry from America's oldest mystery."
- Scott Westerfeld, New York Times bestselling author of the Leviathan series
"This haunting, romantic mystery intrigues, chills, and captivates."
- Cynthia Leitich Smith, New York Times bestselling author of the Tantalize series
"Weird, wise, and witty, Blackwood is great fun."
- Marcus Sedgwick, Printz Honor- and Booktrust Teen Award-winning author of Revolver and Midwinterblood
"Miranda Blackwood's battle against her own history is utterly modern—and utterly marvelous. She's truly a heroine all readers can rally behind."
- Micol Ostow, author of family and So Punk Rock
"A deft and clever debut! Bond takes some reliably great elements—a family curse, the mark of Cain, the old and endlessly fascinating mystery of the Roanoke Colony—and makes them into something delightfully, surprisingly new. How does she do that? I suspect witchcraft."
- Karen Joy Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club
Bookslut: "Bond concocts her own gumbo of story here, with a blend of mystery, thriller, paranormal, and romance to create a densely packed adventure that sucks readers in with a blistering plot pace but then keeps them riveted with some truly dark and scary moments. ... Thoughtful teens will eat this novel up, and honestly, who could blame them?"
Heroes and Heartbreakers: "The fantastical mystery of modern-day disappearances on the site of such a famous historical disappearance kept me turning the pages, but what I enjoyed most in this novel were the characters."
io9 - What's more thrilling than a fantasy about the Chosen One? How about the Cursed One?: "Her heroine, Miranda Blackwood, is the cursed one, who bears the mark of the betrayer, and she's also the most hated person in her small town. Blackwood is a neat spin on all of those YA fantasies about being special — especially when it turns into a story about 'freaks in love.' " (Also: Fall's Must-Read Science Fiction and Fantasy Books and The Most Thrilling Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Coming in September)
Locus Magazine: "Offbeat and imaginative, Blackwood mingles past and present, dark forces with a hint of pulp SF, along with many kinds of drama — from Shakespearean revenge to an amphitheater show where the island’s legend is just an entertainment for passing tourists. Whether viewed as young adult, genre mix, or a first novel, it belongs with the year’s best." Also: Locus 2012 Recommended Reading List.
Publishers Weekly: "Bond has created an engaging mythology and mystery involving alchemy, curses, and past lives."
Sacramento Book Review: "Blackwood was an amazing book! ... This book was an excellent mystery, full of romance, ghosts, ancient curses, historical figures, betrayal, and so much more. I loved how the already intriguing mystery of the Lost Colony was given some unexpected twists and turns. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves mystery and magic." Reviewed by Delaney, Age 12
School Library Journal blog: "Other things I can say I love without being the spoiler queen... The historical/supernatural mash up. The romantic element between Miranda and Phillips that is organic to the story and never overpowers it. The examination of free will, of being cursed, of fate. Of whether something is a curse or a gift. The action adventure. All the TV shows and films that are referenced that I know (and, chances are, watching those programs and shows helped Miranda and Phillips!). A Favorite Book Read in 2012."
SFF World: "Ms. Bond captured the awkwardness of late teen years, especially the unspoken instances of attraction between the two characters, very well in the novel. She also did an excellent job of interweaving historical elements into the fantastical plot, something I suspect would make younger readers interested in finding out more about the historical mystery of the Roanoke Colony. Blackwood is an impressive debut novel for Ms. Bond and is hopefully just the first of many novels she plans to write."
SFX: "Blending a real-life mystery with a supernatural romance lends credibility...with well-timed twists coming thick and fast. ...sassy prose and characters you'll miss when when the book closes."
Tor.com: “It’s a brisk, entertaining read. A very promising debut: I look forward to seeing what Gwenda Bond does next.”
Atlantic Wire - Teen Reads Better Than 'Fifty Shades': "Kate Milford highly recommends Bond's just released book, which she read "basically in one sitting," and adored. ... Milford tells us, "I think one of the things I'm drawn to with both Gwenda and Jeri's books is that, while there's certainly romance to them, the stories and the writing are awesome anyway. I can't get excited about a love story if it's all the book has to offer," she adds."
Deadline Hollywood - MTV Buys Mystery Drama Produced by Kelsey Grammer: "MTV has put in development Blackwood, a drama from Lionsgate Television and Kelsey Grammer’s Grammnet Prods. It is based on the young adult book of the same name by Gwenda Bond, which was published this past September on the Strange Chemistry YA imprint of UK-based science fiction publisher Angry Robot Books. DC Comic book and television writer Peter Calloway (Brothers & Sisters) will write the adaptation." (Also: io9, Los Angeles Times)
Heroes and Heartbreakers - Coming of Age Coming to the Screen: YA and Romance Series Head to Film and TV: "It seems in the last few weeks there's been a lot of news, especially in the Young Adult and romance genre, of books being optioned out for film and TV rights. One of the series joining the club is Gwenda Bond's Blackwood."
Kirkus blog - Sci-Fi/Fantasy Books to Read Along with Your Kids: "On Roanoke Island there is a centuries-old mystery about the sudden disappearance of 114 people. In the present day, the tragedy has devolved into tourist bait...until 114 more people disappear."
Lexington Herald-Leader - A Novel Idea Gets Lexington Author Gwenda Bond Published: "In Blackwood, Lexington author Gwenda Bond has found a winning combination by matching the mystery of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island with a geeky teen duo on a mission."
Salon - Gift Advice That'll Bring You Knope and Joy: "For the Nerdy Bookworm (Suzy Bishop, Moonrise Kingdom) - It’s a misfit boy and an angry girl on a remote island against the whole world. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Gwenda Bond’s Blackwood is a weird book for weird girls."
WFPL News - Kentucky Author Revisits Lost Colony Mystery in Debut Novel: "Gwenda Bond’s debut young adult novel Blackwood (Strange Chemistry) revisits one of America’s most enduring mysteries."
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