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Showing 1-10 of 40 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 80 reviews
on January 29, 2014
While I found 'Midwinterblood' to be easy to read and difficult to put down, it left me feeling strangely hollow. The plot gallops backwards through the centuries at a pace following the many lives of Eric and Merle, however the links between these lives are fragile and largely symbolic. Breaking the book into so many parts does not allow the reader to become particularly attached to any of the characters, just as one begins to know a character the plot is yanked back into a different life. The two central characters and their relationships to one another are so vastly different in each of these lives that they would be unrecognisable if not for the recurring motifs of their names, the hare and the words 'so it is'. While these motifs are used skilfully, they do not make up for the fact that we know Eric and Merle for such a short time in each of their incarnations that we cannot recognise any ever-present character trait that identifies them with their past or future selves.

Moreover, the love story that should tie it all together has no origin. There was no explanation of how they fell in love or what it was that they loved about each other; they simply were in love and this was taken for granted. This made the characters very difficult to relate to and made the story feel as though it was a flower simply appearing from nowhere and lacking roots or even a stem. This was possibly also due to the story almost always picking up near to the end of one of their lives, so that we saw many times how Eric and Merle were separated, but never understood how they came to be so connected.

Overall, while the writing is beautiful and the plot absorbing the characters and relationships which should anchor the story leave much to be desired.
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on February 2, 2014
Atmospheric, dreamlike and haunting. The backwards-in-time structure worked effectively to enhance the mystery.

But I never really connected with the characters who seem like archetypes. Merle didn’t seem like a real human being to me. The three main characters circle endlessly in various configurations throughout the seven vignettes–but I never felt I knew who any of them were on a deeper level. The secondary characters, especially various sets of parents and other family members, are muted and shadowy:

“Tor’s questions about his parents come back to him, and he realizes that it’s been many years since he thought about them. Almost as if they were dead. And though they’re not dead, they may as well be. He hasn’t seen them or spoken to them in years...”

What? Seems a little strange to me. And there’s no further explanation forthcoming.

I particularly didn’t understand “The Archaeologist” and how it fit with the others. Again, what happened to Eric’s father? Who is Edward, the narrator, in relationship to the greater story?

I struggle with whether to give this book three or four stars. The characters seem flat, the plot is a bit clunky, and the set up is farfetched at times–but as a puzzle and fairy tale, it works. Lucid and well-written, but I didn't resonate with it emotionally.
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on January 24, 2015
Imagination of great depth! An author who stands on his own, is a writer that holds creativity close to his heart. Though it is not just the heart that feeds creativity but the soul!

You can dream of a story, see the words dancing in your head, but alas can you put them down on paper?

Can you make others interested in the characters that you have created? Can you shape them from a world that does not exist other than for you? Marcus Sedwick has done that in this wonderful novel!

I have never been one to spoil a novel for a reader. Therefore, all I cay tell anyone is that if you enjoy reading about "past lives" or anything in that realm, you will love this book.

Actually, Mr. Sedwick does not consider this book about past lives, though some of you might if you read it.

That being said, I implore you to read the book and come to your own conclusions.

I loved it very much and look forward to reading more from this imaginative author!
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on May 7, 2014
Seven stories. Seven lifetimes. How can love, any love, survive through that?

Midwinterblood reminds me of Cloud Atlas (in terms of the connecting stories), When the Sea is Rising Red and The Brides of Rollrock Island (because of the richness in tales of love lost, found, and lost again).

Dark. Creepy. Awesome!

The stories are mesmerizing, marvelous in the way that they can stand alone as a short story. I remember I loved most of them, whether its sad, romantic, gory or tragic. Marcus Sedgwick did not stick to the conventional plots, for his were far out! The imagination involved, the emotions stirred - those elements made Midwinterblood really worked for me.

I think I was on the fourth story when I caught up on the connection. I say, that could not be it, but then, why not? And it was unbelievably unusual that I want to revel in the uniqueness of it. And let me not forget the horror, and gore. Wee!

How come the most saddest people have the most beautiful of histories? What could've gone wrong? If there is another chance, will they be strong enough to fight for that same love, over and over again?

Midwinterblood is an acquired taste, for I think not many readers will be inclined to claim it as a favorite. But I hope you do. It will be a shame to be deterred by the tragedy alone. ;)
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on July 15, 2014
Considering that this novel won a major prize, I was a bit surprised at how poorly edited it is. There are verb tense changes throughout the book, and there seems to be no logical or literary reason for this. It just changes tense in the middle of a chapter or passage. That editor should be fired immediately! I can't even read the book without a pen in hand; I have to do the editing myself as I go along.

In addition, I agree with the previous reviewer who said that, while the language and style (minus the editing mistakes) is quite lovely and dreamlike, the stories themselves are sparse, underdeveloped. Seems like the author didn't have to work too hard to get his next book published, so he didn't. It has potential, but it seems like a rough draft.
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on March 12, 2014
Takes the concept created in Cloud Atlas and simplifies it for a younger audience. Basically these are a series of short stories with an interconnecting thread in the form of character and symbol. Some stand alone better than others, but it's an interesting format. (I happened to like Cloud Atlas a lot.) I don't think every teen reader will enjoy this as it doesn't put enough emphasis on maintaining a strong connection between the two primary characters, creating more a guessing game for the reader as to what the end result is for them. Would make an interesting discussion piece.
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on January 2, 2016
Disjointed and boring. I started skimming at some point hoping it would improve. It didn't. The stories have no depth and leave a million things unexplained. By the end you know little more of the people and the island than you did in the beginning. These are a few poorly developed tales thrown together and called a book.
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on December 26, 2014
Nice spin on myths and legends. I enjoyed it, but I can see how the vague connections and hinted at meanings would annoy some people. It rereminded me a bit of Margaret Atwood. She writes with more detail and more character embellishment, but it some of the same darkness. We'll worth the read.
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on April 10, 2014
Amazing book! It has a real Kurt Vonnegut feel to it. However, this book should not be advertised as a vampire book. It's not at all. It's an array of stories: A post apocalyptic story, a ghost, a est story, ONE semi-vampire story, and even an old legend. It's phenomenal and dynamically diverse; it can appeal to any reader. And it should be advertised that way.
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on March 2, 2014
Marcus Sedgwick's Midwinterblood is a collection of seven interlocking shorts or vignettes that follow a set of characters through multiple reincarnations. Told in reverse chronological order, the novel is less about an overarching story-line and more about figuring out what happened to these characters to start their journey. It's a very enjoyable and fascinating read and great for readers looking for something experimental and non-linear to sink their teeth into.
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