Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Horror
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: February 5th 2013
Synopsis: 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.
Midwinterblood is a haunting and unsettling book. This book made me feel out of place, even in my own house. It made me feel as if I could open the front door of my house and find a hare sitting on my doorway, staring at me. I know this sounds like I am over exaggerating how I feel about this book. I am not. Midwinterblood is extremely dark and creepy, and it is an unusual and original addition to the Young Adult genre.
Midwinterblood is a story about a love so strong that it slips through the cracks in time. Midwinterblood is a story about two people’s journey through many lives, chasing each other. Midwinterblood is a story that is haunting and poignant and unsettling. It is a story that left me shocked.
Marcus Sedgwick masterfully intertwines seven short stories, connecting them by thin threads and the chilling place known as Blessed Island. Eric and Merle’s connected in different ways in each story. In one life they are siblings, mother and son, friends, or even connected by just one mere photograph. It is up to the reader to find the commonalities, to get deep into the stories, and to find the lost, real identities of Eric and Merle.
Sedgwick’s writing is nothing short of excellent. His prose evoked a silent, subtle terror within me which is something that I have never experienced when reading a novel. Most of the writing is sparse, using detailed passages sparingly, but even so, Sedgwick’s writing contains beautiful sensory.
“The vast splendid horror of the painting remains but there, in the background is a new figure. Standing on the gallery, just behind the king, leaning around a pillar, only half visible, is the face, the shoulder, and the arm of a small girl. She’s holding an apple out toward the king, placing it on the balustrade of the gallery.” Pg. 167
The horror element of Midwinterblood is not the blatant, gory kind but rather the subtle kind that silently creeps up on you, slowly seeping into your bones. The eerie and gloominess that is in the atmosphere only enhances the subtle terror. The love in this book has a dose of everything. Sweetness, pain, happiness, sadness. The love that Merle and Eric had for each other was genuine and strong.
And let me not forget the final moments of this marvelous book. The ending of Midwinterblood was tragic and bloody. It made me feel like the story has ended but I also felt like the story had just begun. I will never forget such an ending!
I would recommend this book to people who want to read an atmosphere, chilling novel that has an original take on a love story and people that prefer silent horror instead of the in your face kind. I haven’t read any of Sedgwick’s other works but I have already set my aim on Revolver which is the 2011 Printz Honor winner. I am glad that Sedgwick has a big collection of novels written already and they all seem deliciously creepy.
And here is the beautiful painting that inspired this story: