Sunday, 26 May 2013

Midwinterblood - Marcus Sedgwick

Midwinterblood - Marcus Sedgwick @Twitter
ISBN - 9781780620206
Publisher - Indigo
Release date - May 3rd 2012
Find - Book Depository/Goodreads

Warning: This review may contain vague spoilers!

'Have you ever had the feeling that you've lived another life? Been somewhere that has felt totally familiar, even though you've never been there before, or felt that you know someone well, even though you are meeting them for the first time? It happens. In 2073 on the remote and secretive island of Blessed, where rumour has it that no one ages and no children are born, a visiting journalist, Eric Seven, and a young local woman known as Merle are ritually slain. Their deaths echo a moment ten centuries before, when, in the dark of the moon, a king was slain, tragically torn from his queen. Their souls search to be reunited, and as mother and son, artist and child, forbidden lovers, victims of a vampire they come close to finding what they've lost. In a novel comprising seven parts, each influenced by a moon - the flower moon, the harvest moon, the hunter's moon, the blood moon - this is the story of Eric and Merle whose souls have been searching for each other since their untimely parting.' - Goodreads

Deliciously creepy, two words that are overused - especially by me - but these words describe Marcus Sedgwick's Midwinterblood perfectly. The writing is sublime, unique and oh so beautiful. Somehow, Sedgwick has managed to write almost the perfect book for me! A blending of folklore and mythology, horror, fantasy, mystery and a dash of science fiction. One of the seven stories - The Painter - even has a dash of fairy tale to it. The main consistent theme throughout though is romance and how two souls are bound together through time.

Eric and Merle, the main characters of the story and how their love connects them together over centuries against the backdrop of Blessed Island with echoes of The Wicker Man, a closed off community and an outsider who actually turns out to be a huge part of the island's island's of life. Eric Seven comes to the island in June 2073, month of the Flower Moon, having never been there before. He's a journalist and is investigating why there are no more children on the island. On meeting Merle he is struck by the knowledge that he knows her although he has never seen her before in his life.

From here on in the tale cycles back through seven different incarnations of Eric and Merle - as lovers, as husband and wife, brother and sister, mother and son and always on the island. The only exception to this is the story set in World War II, The Airman (in August 1944, the Grain Moon) when Eric is an islander but Merle is the daughter of the man he reluctantly rescues. I love how each of the seven tales are are linked to the different moons from the farmer's almanac, this has always fascinated me so it was great to see this used in each of the different chapters.

Midwinterblood is classed as YA but it has more than enough adult issues to ensure that anyone would enjoy it without finding the book too simplistic. The writing is unsettling and disquieting, the horror is never obvious - just understated - but it's enough to send a shiver down your spine. Ultimately Midwinterblood is about reincarnation, eternal love and even acceptance. This is evident in the epilogue which swings all the way back through to 2073 where Eric and Merle's reaches its tragic, inescapable conclusion, showing that not even true love guarantees a happy ever after. This is one book that will stay with me for some time to come and reinforces my love of Marcus Sedgwick's writing. I've now read seven of his books and each one has been better than the last!

1 comment:

  1. I received this for review from Orion, and I'm loving it so far. It's such an interesting concept, and I agree that most ages would enjoy it. :)


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