Book Review: Strange Alchemy by Gwenda Bond

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Release Date: August 1, 2017
Read Date: July 4, 2017 (ARC provided by NetGalley)
Rating: 5/5 stars

 

OKAY SETTLE IN Y’ALL BECAUSE I’M ABOUT TO GEEK OUT. As you know from my blog title, I’m a native North Carolinian, born and raised, and am still livin’ in the good ole’ Tarheel state. When you live in NC, you learn all about the Lost Colony of Roanoke every year of your elementary school education, so when I saw that this book took place on Roanoke, I had to request it!

If you don’t know the story of the Lost Colony of Roanoke, here’s the gist: it was the first English settlement in America (yes, the very first, have a seat, Jamestown), but when one settler returned from a trip back to England, he found that all 114 settlers were missing, with no evidence left behind except for the word CROATOAN carved into a tree. No one has ever discovered what happened to these people. The mystery remains today.

The stand-alone story of Strange Alchemy follows Miranda Blackwood and Grant Rawling, two 17 year old kids who live on Roanoke Island, just off the North Carolina coast. Because of their family legacies, they each have an interesting, supernatural connection to the Island and to its history. So when one day, 114 people – including Miranda’s father – go missing, exactly like the original mystery, they have to team up to figure out where the hell these people went and how to get them back before its too late.

Firstly let me just say that I read this book in 2 sittings, over the course of 1 day. It immediately hooks you in and doesn’t let you go. The twists and turns keep you interested and while the pace may vary at some points, it never gets boring.

Secondly, I adored our characters. They’re kids, yes, but Miranda lost her mom years ago and lives with an alcoholic father, so she’s become super-independent. Grant, because of his supernatural abilities, left Roanoke for three years to attend boarding school, so he’s also very grown up. This made it so much easier to relate to them and to root for them, because they kept everything in perspective and didn’t get caught up in any sort of high school drama. While the romance was predictable and adorable, it wasn’t overpowering and always took a backseat to the actual plot, which I was grateful for.

AND CAN WE DISCUSS THE PLOT? Holy crap, I did not see any of that coming, and it went in a completely different direction than your typical YA Paranormal format. It was so refreshing and, again, impossible to put down! I won’t spoil anything, obviously, but trust me when I say that as someone who finds YA Paranormal annoying as hell, this is the standout one on the market right now.

If you’re searching for something this summer that’s not contemporary but still has substance, excitement and a bit of romance, Strange Alchemy is a solid choice! It’ll have your pulse racing, your eyes crying and your heart soaring.

The cover photo is linked to the Goodreads page, feel free to click for more information and to add it to your TBR!

xoxo y’all,
Kerri

**I received a free advance copy of this book for review. All opinions are uninfluenced and my own.

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