Customer Review

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a beautiful and unique book about love and sacrifice, February 6, 2013
This review is from: Midwinterblood (Kindle Edition)
I love a book that resists being pinned down into one thing or another. Midwinterblood could have been a Salute Your Shorts post-it is a series of seven short stories after all. It could be categorized as science fiction, fantasy, or horror, futuristic or historical; it has elements of all these things. At the end of the day, Marcus Sedgwick's Midwinterblood is a book that will defy easy categorization, but more than anything it is a love story-if only we can remember that love does not equate to romance.

Midwinterblood is a book that plunges us back through the annals of history. The history of Blessed Island, and the history of a particular set of characters. As we descend into the depths of the past, the overarching story becomes a puzzle that is slowly and cleverly clicked into place. We begin in the future, fall to the present, and move back and back to times uncharted through seven distinct but intertwined stories. As we move back through time, we move forward by moons-forward from June and the Flower Moon to December and Midwinter under The Blood Moon.

Each story in Midwinterblood is connected by a series of common threads. The island, a peculiar flower, repeated phrases, and a series of characters who are ever original but strangely familiar in turn. The overall tapestry of these tales does not present the picture one might expect upon picking up a book with the line "Seven stories of passion and love..." on the cover. The stories are no doubt filled to the brim with passion and love, but as I stated-Midwinterblood is not a romance. It highlights the various potential connections that one soul may have to another. Some tenuous, some strong, each relationship is shadowed with significance and love. There are also horrors to chill every reader, whether your fear be the paranormal, such as ghosts or vampires, or thoughts closer to reality such as war, claustrophobia, or death. One particular thread that I loved was the tale of sacrifice, passed to us through the hands of an artist, Eric Carlsson, or, as reality would have it, Carl Larrson. The painting described in the book is pictured below, featuring a king who is sacrificed to his gods and people so that they will suffer from poor harvest seasons no longer.

In Midwinterblood, Marcus Sedgwick makes expert use of setting as character through Blessed Island. As we stumble back through time, taking pages to find our footing with each story, one thing is constant-the island. We learn its geography, its history, its flora and fauna, those things that build upon themselves to create the notion of place. This book is as much about Blessed Island as it is about the characters, maybe even more so. The island plays host to each tale, witnesses the horrors, joys, and mysteries therein-but not just as a setting, as an active participant. As I have mentioned previously, this is one of my favorite constructions that can come about in the world building of a novel-I am growing curious as to why it always seems to happen with islands.

I do realize that I have not mentioned a single character by name as of yet in this review, let alone discussed them in detail, and I don't particularly intend to. I have to hope that those words I've said thus far are enough to entice you into reading this richly emotional and chilling book, as it is one of those stories where the reader ought to go in knowing as little as possible. I do wish that some connections were better explained or given foundation throughout (like the history/properties of the dragon orchid, the island's disconnect from mainland society, the almost Hot Fuzz feel about town), but regardless Midwinterblood is a surprising, dark, and beautiful quick read. It will remind you of the power a place can have over a soul, make you think closely on the bonds we form throughout life, and make you question how much really changes about people throughout time.
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