Book Review of Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

Posted May 23, 2013 by Kara in Lyn / 24 Comments

Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Release Date: February 5th, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Horror
Pages: 240
Source: I own via Kindle

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Description from Goodreads: 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.

Review: I owe a huge thanks to Wendy Darling over at The Midnight Garden for this recommendation.  I wanted to read it when I read the description (Vikings) and she really pushed hard for this one.  I can see why she was such a strong advocate for this book.

Even though this is categorized as a horror book, I didn’t find it too…horrible.  Horror is not a fond category to me personally, and I was flat out shocked when I researched this book and found the novel labeled as such.  It was sad, and it was creepy at times, and tragically romantic, but I didn’t ever see the horror elements come through (and I am not complaining about that at all).

Midwinterblood stands out on its own, in fact.  I would say it really defies all casual labels and is a tough book to categorize.  The book has to be one of the saddest yet romantic books I have ever laid my hands upon.  Viking lore is strong in this tale, but it is not a strong presence.  Think of it as a slight lovely flavor for the setting.  

This may sound like I am flaking out, but so many things  that I loved about Midwinterblood are spoilers to any person who has not read the book.  I will say that I love how the author builds up the suspense for the reader as we travel back through time, discovering something about the past which each new section.  The thread that run through this book and ties the entire plot together was a huge gamble and might have come across as a gimmick. But Sedgwick did a fantastic job holding his theme in place.  The main element of eternal love was so strong and slightly painful at times, but it hurt so good.  Fate and destiny seem to twist and turn and drive the plot. Don’t get me wrong – this isn’t your mother’s instalove book.  I would say that Sedgwick transcended the flowery definition of love and wrote about the power of a greater form of admiration. 

The writing, I have to say, impressed me as well.  I really enjoy the author’s style.  He tends to say so much with using so little.  He has a strong sense of action, and avoids using overpowering descriptions of his world.  It takes a certain level of maturity and confidence to center a book around action without beating the audience over the head with action verbs.  I usually avoid high action books for this reason.  I tend to lean towards literature that centers on character development.  However, Midwinterblood broke through the stereotype and injected some very raw and very real emotion into the action-heavy storyline.  It was brawny and full of heart.  I am frankly amazed that this blend of plot devices created a harmonic storyline.

I loved this book.  I loved how the author took a chance with the story and the characters. This book must have been a huge risk, and, at the end of the day, both the author and the reader won.  I highly recommend this book to everyone.

5/5 Dragons
Purchase Midwinterblood from Amazon

24 responses to “Book Review of Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

  1. I read a lot of good things about this book, after I read Wendy Darling’s review of it. I definitely want to read it soon, but last I checked, it wasn’t available on Kindle (I’m from Asia, so license must only be limited in the other part of the world…). Reading your high praises of it just gave me more motivation to just buy the paperback already! Haha.

    Faye @ The Social Potato

  2. Amy

    I’m liked this book too. I thought that all the individual stories and how they were linked together was brilliant. This was definitely a beautifully written book. I’m glad to see that you loved it!!

  3. I’m so glad you enjoyed this one! I’ve been meaning to read something by this author for awhile now, so I’m thrilled this was a success for you. I think I’ll save it for a perfect Halloween read later this year! 😉

  4. That is good to know that this book doesn’t really read as a horror story – that’s something that would have held me back from reading it as well. I don’t do well with too much gore or suspense. I remember reading some posts about this book for its blog tour and it did sound pretty interesting. I really am most curious about how the author would be able to tie together 7 essentially separate stories in a way that makes sense and is cohesive. Perhaps I’ll just have to read it to find out myself! Lovely review!

  5. I KNOW you would love this one, Lyn. As I was reading it, I knew it would be a perfect fit for you. Throughout the novel, I couldn’t exactly figure out what tied the stories together other than the island, but the final story, the climax, was so brilliant and devastating. Absolutely one of the best books I’ve ever read, and because of this he’s one of my favorite authors. If you haven’t, you should try his book, White Crow.

    • The last scene of the book (the very first story) was just so tragic, and I have to admit I love how he ended the book. It just pulls your heart right out of your chest!

  6. Ah, I forgot about this book (how could I do such a thing?!) It sounds so cool, and I’m already a fan of the author, so I have a feeling I should have good luck with this one also. I need to not forget about this one, though. 😉

  7. I bought this a couple of months ago, based on some other rave reviews, and I’m just trying to find time to read it. Thanks for reinforcing the fact that I need to get to it soon!

  8. I’m glad you enjoyed this one! The reviews have all seem to been promising- and that cover is nothing short of creepy.

    Amazing review, Lyn! I may check this one out real soon;)

  9. Oh, Lyn. My heart just goes all squeezy when I read this review again. <3 I loved this book so much, and I’m glad you loved it, too. He’s such an awesome writer, it’d be great if more people read his books stateside, though clearly he won’t be everyone’s favorite But he’s definitely a favorite of mine!

    Great review. I think it really does defy labels, and it’s hard to describe to people, too.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    • This book was very difficult to catalog for my shelves. I am so happy that I read this book – I is going to make my top favorites for this year!

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