I was so excited when Nina from Orion emailed to say there was a few review copies of this one left, I think I bit her hand off, I begged a copy that quickly! (If you have to wonder why, you’ve not been around my blog much! ;))
Have you ever had the feeling that you’ve lived another life? Been somewhere that has felt totally familiar, even though you’ve never been there before, or felt that you know someone well, even though you are meeting them for the first time? It happens.
In 2073 on the remote and secretive island of Blessed, where rumour has it that no one ages and no children are born, a visiting journalist, Eric Seven, and a young local woman known as Merle are ritually slain.
Their deaths echo a moment ten centuries before, when, in the dark of the moon, a king was slain, tragically torn from his queen. Their souls search to be reunited, and as mother and son, artist and child, forbidden lovers, victims of a vampire they come close to finding what they’ve lost.
In a novel comprising seven parts, each influenced by a moon – the flower moon, the harvest moon, the hunter’s moon, the blood moon – this is the story of Eric and Merle whose souls have been searching for each other since their untimely parting.
Beautifully imagined, intricately and cleverly structured, this is a heart-wrenching and breathtaking love story with the hallmark Sedgwick gothic touches of atmosphere, blood-spilling and sacrifice.
– Publishers Blurb
I’ll be honest, while Midwinterblood has all the elements I normally love about Marcus Sedgwick’s writing, clever plots, oodles of atmosphere etc., I was initially disappointed with it. Now I should point out, that being disappointed with a Marcus Sedgwick book, means you only end up with an excellent book instead of an awesome one…
As time goes by though (it’s been a week or so since I finished the book) It is really starting grow on me. I think part of my initial disappointment, was the lack of an individual main character to take us through the story. Yes, we get to meet Eric and Merle, seven times though out the story, but there not always the main characters, and are so different each time, it sometimes takes awhile to equate them to the same person.
But, that is where time is helping. Sedgwick’s books have always been ones you need to read all of, before you understand the whole story, Midwinterblood takes that and ramps it up a notch or two. You can only truly understand the previous incarnations, when you meet the original Eric and Merle in the last story. It’s like foreshadowing in reverse.
Even with the very best of YA writing, the hook is usually early on, to catch the reader, and make them read on to find out what happens next. With Midwinterblood, for me at least, the hook was after the end when I had finished the book and I had to think back and make all the connections. Additionally in something of a brave move and what has to be very rare in books aimed at the YA market, the protagonist(s) are not teenagers (for the most part anyway), but adults in their 20s, 30s and beyond.
I really hope the publishers take advantage of this, and publish a version to stick on the adult shelves, because unsuspecting, older readers, who would normally think YA books are beneath them (without actually having read one recently of course!), wouldn’t have a clue where this book was first shelved, such is the skill and quality of Marcus Sedgewick’s writing.
Another tour-de-force from Mr Sedgwick. (Even if I only realised it later than I hoped to!) It’s definitely a book that would benefit from a re-reading at some point.
Buy: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick from The Book Depository
Published: 06 October 2011