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.
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.”