Midwinterblood | Marcus Sedgwick | Book Review

I am positive I do not read intelligent, multilayered books enough. Granted, there’s nothing wrong with a nice popcorn book but there’s something awesome about a read that really gets your brain going. Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick is an incredibly smart read featuring multiple plot lines over quite a long timeline. I’m not entirely sure how to class it, as there is a paranormal element, but it reads as realistic — the paranormal does not overwhelm at all. Further, I also spent sometime after reading questioning whether I would consider this book YA or adult fiction.

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick | Good Books And Good Wine

The plot of Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick is super hard to describe. Basically the book opens up in the year 2073. Eric Seven is a journalist visiting Blessed Island for an article. The island is all mysterious and might as well be a fountain of life, except there’s no children  (basically it is my version of paradise). There’s this other guy on the island, Tor who is super sketchy. Anyways, ritual murders abound. OH OH and there are a few stories that interweave, but they are all connected because it’s like past lives that go on and on.

It’s so weird, usually I cannot shut up and go on and on and on in these reviews, but Midwinterblood is so smart and layered that I can’t just write a sentence about how kickass Merle is or how persistent Eric is. You see each life that Merle and Eric live is different. There are changes in their characters. Although, Merle does seem pretty maternal in most of her lives. And I suppose Eric seems kind of mysterious in most of his. I guess, it’s hard for me to explain. Just trust that the characters are interesting and I could definitely see how the interest was sustained over many lifetimes.

As I am an idiot, I did not really read the synopsis before starting so I didn’t realize just how interconnected the various stories in Marcus Sedgwick’s Midwinterblood would be. Also, I did not realize there would be a paranormal element. However, I liked how it was done. It felt tasteful and not ostentatious at all.You know how some books beat you over the head with their otherworldly elements? This one did not do that. I liked that Blessed Island was subtly creepy — like the scary stuff was lurking below the surface. I liked that there was a ghost and a vampire but they didn’t feel like the ghosts and vampires I read about in YA. ALSO! There was a ton of Scandinavian influence in this book with vikings and it was AWESOME.

I think I am a fan of Marcus Sedgwick’s writing style. Midwinterblood is a sparse book. Legit, there is not a word wasted. While I inhaled it, I was also pleased at exactly how many layers there were. I loved the themes of love and sacrifice. Maybe I really am sappy but it was interesting to see love manifested in various forms over various lifetimes. Like, not all of the love between Merle and Eric was romantic love, as you’ll see when you read the book.

I also think Midwinterblood is the sort of read you hand an adult who is skeptical about YA reading. I guess this book is classified as YA, I’m not entirely sure why. For much of the book, Merle and Eric are adults. Sure there are a few sections where they are younger, but mostly they are adult. What I am really driving at is that I think Midwinterblood really has a lot of potential crossover appeal — it’s got something for literary lovers who are all WHOO HOO layers and something for people who like action and then even more for people who just plain like words. If anything, I know I’ll be picking up my copy of Revolver soon as I was very pleased with my first foray into Sedgwick’s work.

Disclosure: Received for review

Other reviews of Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick:

Alexa Loves Books – “the greatest draw of this book: the clever method of telling this story

Amaterasu Reads – “story telling filled me with awe.

Book Brats – “the more I read this story, the more I found myself racing through the pages”

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Comments

  1. This sounds fantastic! I don’t think there are enough books about reincarnation – or maybe I’m just not aware of them. I love the story idea and can’t wait to read it.

  2. Horror is totally not my thing, but I’ve had to add this book to my tbr list, because literally EVERYONE has read it and been praising it to the skies. Glad it worked for you too, and that it made you do so much thinking.

    The line between YA and adult is so fuzzy and I generally just get really confused when I think about it. Basically, I don’t really think it matters, because teens read adult books and adults read teen books, so whatever.

    Also, what is up with this cover? It is freaking weird. Is she naked? What’s on her face?

    • See, I kind of feel like Midwinterblood isn’t a super horror novel, ya know? Like — yes it does have some scary themes, but for the most part isn’t what I’d call HORROR.

      I like what you say about the line between YA and adult. You know, I was teaching 6th grade the other day and one of the kids was reading The Wolves Of The Calla by Stephen King — a book I didn’t read until high school and I couldn’t help but think I don’t entirely get it when people say books are too old or too young for kids/adults. A good story is a good story period.

      She probs is in the nude. Looks to me like an overlay of a sword or dagger on her face.

  3. I’ve seen a lot of buzz about this one recently – sounds like a title I need to pick up (or at least place in the TBR pile…). Thanks for sharing!

  4. I had never heard of Midwinterblood or Marcus Sedgwick before the blog tour that started about a week ago, but now I am very eager to read it. I do enjoy reading deeper, more philosophical books and this sounds like it fits that bill. I love the idea of interconnected stories due to a certain location. It sounds fascinating! Glad you enjoyed it.

    • Yeah, that blog tour seems fantastic. Now that I’ve written my review, I feel like I can finally go back and check out some of the posts that came out of the tour. Midwinterblood is absolutely fascinating, I’d definitely check it out if I was you.

  5. I’m going to be completely honest and say that I had never heard of this book until recently, but I am absolutely freaked out by both the “creepy-ness” every keeps mentioning and that doggone cover. I am not sure I could put that book in this house with me with those eyes. I am not even joking; I am extremely serious. That being said, I am very interested in the writing style with it being multi-layered and all because I have read high praises for it on this blog tour. So I am still on the fence about this one.

    Also, YAY for crossover appeal. LOVE that.

  6. Yes! I think one of the greatest thins about this book was that it WAS so intelligent and layered, and yet it was still an effortless read. The pages just flew by, and yet it made me think and has stuck with me. That’s a VERY hard combo to pull off.

  7. AH, I need to read this! I have a copy in one of my piles and I’ve been incredibly intrigued by it ever since I read the Booksmugglers review of it seemingly AGES ago (which it probably was). I LOVE the idea of the different lifetimes and different relationships that these two…spirits (?) experience. It sounds so mind-bending and awesome. I did NOT know that there was Scandinavian VIKINGNESS going on though and THAT makes me incredibly excited!! Can’t wait to dig into this little gem!

  8. I think that the way Marcus Sedgwick managed to layer this story is incredible. I was hooked immediately, and wanted to know the explanation behind everything – and I love that we gradually start to understand it as the book progresses. So well done!

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