Fantasy · Paranormal · YA

Strange Alchemy by Gwenda Bond

A great adventure novel about Roanoke Island and the legend of the Lost Colony.

The bizarre and unexplained event of the sudden disappearance of the 114 island inhabitants remains in the memory even 400 years later. When in the present days, 114 of Roanoke disappear without a trace, everything points to a re-run from the legend of the Lost Colony. It’s up to Miranda Blackwood and Grand Rawling to find them before they are gone for good. Between the police, dead alchemists and unrevealed secrets, the teens will race against time to stop history from repeating itself.

I finished this book in two days; it was hard to put it down. It mixes YA, supernatural, mystery with a touch of historical facts in a great way and the style of writing puts a nice ribbon around the whole thing.

The storyline is exciting and complex, full of suspense and action. It’s also very easy to follow and to understand. There are two different points of view, which makes the reader go deeper into the story. There is a steady build-up of the mysteries, details are giving along and each is important to the story. The level of research that was used for the novel was the right amount; it wasn’t a lesson in history, but it was enough to make the story believable.
The style of writing is simple, addictive and easy to follow just like the storyline. Gwenda Bond describes the settings just enough to let the reader an idea of it, which works fine for me.

The characters are very well developed and explored in depth. Miranda, the main female character, has a history of being the “bringer of bad luck” and tries to be invisible as much as it’s humanly possible. She’s bullied and the centre of merciless teasing at school. She really tries to keep her nose in her business but every time she tries to do something nice, everything falls apart. These events bring out empathy and they connect the reader to Miranda. She proves, however, she’s not a victim. She throws herself into the quest, risking her life to protect the people she loves and the ones that and actually manages to have a good relationship with the main male character, Grant, even after he publically humiliated her years before. He’s a good male lead and I enjoyed reading how his relationship with Miranda slowly evolved into the story without being in the centre of it. The other secondary characters are easy to follow and easy to memorise their roles and correspondent stories.

I fully enjoyed this novel, how this world is built and the slow rise of tensions and suspense. It blends YA, mystery, history, romance and the supernatural. I highly recommend it!

Thank you NetGalley, the publisher Switch Press and the author for allowing me to read and review a digital copy of this book.

4 Stars

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