Published by Square Fish on April 22nd 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Seven stories of passion and love separated by centuries but mysteriously intertwined—this is a tale of horror and beauty, tenderness and sacrifice.
An archaeologist who unearths a mysterious artifact, an airman who finds himself far from home, a painter, a ghost, a vampire, and a Viking: the seven stories in this compelling novel all take place on the remote Scandinavian island of Blessed where a curiously powerful plant that resembles a dragon grows. What binds these stories together? What secrets lurk beneath the surface of this idyllic countryside? And what might be powerful enough to break the cycle of midwinterblood? From award-winning author Marcus Sedgwick comes a book about passion and preservation and ultimately an exploration of the bounds of love.
A Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book of 2013
A Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013
I finished this book more than a week ago and I still don’t know how to review or rate it. How do you review a novel like this? The story is so much stranger and so different from other things I’ve read that it’s difficult to compare. What I do know though is that I really enjoyed it. It only took about a page before I was sucked into the story; the novel is very intriguing and once you start you won’t want to put it down.
I’m not going to tell you what Midwinterblood is about because I think it’s a book you should go into blind. It consists of different story threads – almost like separate short stories – that all tie together in the end.
Here are the reasons why I enjoyed Mindwinterblood:
– The writing: This is my first Marcus Sedgwick book but it definitely won’t be my last. His writing style is fantastic: it’s beautiful yet simple and pulls you into the story immediately. Sedgwick has this ability to create atmosphere in only a few sentences where other authors need paragraphs upon paragraphs (if they manage it at all). His writing transports you; I felt like I was right there, living life on Blessed Island, drinking the tea, smelling the flowers. For me, the writing was the strongest aspect of the novel.
– Reading this novel felt a bit like taking a vacation. It was as if I was living in another world, everything else fell away. I don’t know if that was because of the writing style, the setting or both but I felt really relaxed after I had finished.
– An old, overused concept was made new. I won’t get into details because of spoilers but this book basically takes a story that has been done over and over again and manages to make it fresh and unique. It didn’t seem like a rehash. Usually, my biggest problem with this particular storyline is that it often feels somewhat…cheap, but Midwinterblood was the opposite, it was intricate and beautiful.
– The story felt both timeless and ageless. This book is marketed as YA but honestly, I’m not sure why. I think adults would enjoy this book just as much as teens if not more.
What didn’t work for me:
I’m struggling to put my finger on it but I think there was just something missing for me. For one thing, I didn’t connect with any of the characters. There was barely any characterisation. Now, that sounds a lot worse than it actually is: this story isn’t really about attachment to the characters but much more plot and theme driven. However, it is at its core a love story and unfortunately I couldn’t really root for the lovers. I felt very detached.
My other and main problem was the ending. It didn’t satisfy me. I had SO many questions and none of them were answered. This book is very intriguing and interesting and I JUST WANTED TO KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON. Ultimately though, the ending didn’t give me anything that I hadn’t already guessed. Things weren’t properly explained and maybe (probably) that wasn’t the point of the story but it still made me sad. When I’m so invested in a book it’s difficult for me to just accept things without questioning.
Midwinterblood is an engaging book that is excellently written but won’t be to everyone’s taste. I recommend it to those readers, who want something different, something a little strange.
As for me, I can’t wait to pick up another book by Marcus Sedgwick.