Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
This is a tale of love and mystery. Sedgwick links seven stories of seven lives together, through a mysterious island housing an even more mysterious flower. In each story, Eric and Merle are someone else, yet always find each other. However on each solstice moon, something inevitably happens to break them apart. In the last story, the story of a king, the mystery unfolds, revealing that upon his sacrifice to the gods, the king vows to his bride that he will come back, living each of his seven lives as someone new. As he takes his last breath, the king asks his bride if she will follow him into his future lives. Years later, when she is old and dying, the bride whispers her promise to follow him, and thus their story begins anew.
I picked up the audio version of this title at my local library. It was phenomenal. The story was expertly read, rather edgy, and drew me in from the first page. Sedgwick’s character development was top notch and I became emotionally invested in the main characters’ lives very early on in the story. Furthermore, the plot was so mysterious and intriguing I almost couldn’t stand it. More than once, I was tempted to listen to the end of the story just so that I could figure out the mystery behind the strange flower and bizarre island. Sedgwick kept me guessing until the beginning of the epilogue, which at times made me feel desperate- almost as if I were worried that the story wouldn’t unravel into a tidy conclusion. In the end, all of my waiting paid off, and I was rewarded with a perfect ending to this beautiful, tragic love story. I do think that this title is not for just any reader. To enjoy this book, you must be patient, enjoy the bits and pieces of clues you are given, and trust that everything will work itself out in the end. Overall, I would recommend this title to those patient readers looking for a mysterious love story, and who aren’t afraid of a little blood. It would be a great read for young adults 12-17, but can absolutely be enjoyed by adult readers as well.
For Use in the Library:
Recommend this title to readers looking for an unconventional love story. Or, as a creatice writing assignment, have students create their own story linked together through short stories. Show them similar titles and ask them to analyzing the writing conventions that make each story work.
Seven related stories chronicle life on a remote Scandinavian island, from the future (2073) backwards to the distant past (“time unknown”), gradually revealing Blessed Islands profound dependence on a strange drug and the islands disturbing history of human sacrifice. Each tale centers on two bonded souls-reincarnated variously as family members, lovers, and intergenerational friends-who reunite only to be wrenched apart again. Subtly changing pronunciation to reflect each time period, narrator Rhind-Tutt emphasizes the texts use of shifting language through the reverse progression of centuries. More importantly, Rhind-Tutt ably captures the emotional extremes of this unsettling novel: the uncanny recognition and tender reunion of the protagonists; the desperate fear and violence of their community; and the dark machinations of the island itself. KATIE BIRCHER
Bircher, K. (2014). [Review of the book Midwinterblood by, M. Sedgwick]. The Horn Book Magazine, 90(6), 133. Retrieved from https://libproxy.library.unt.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1616488691?accountid=7113