Friday, June 7, 2013

Review: Midwinterblood - Marcus Sedgwick

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick
Genre: YA, paranormal
Published on February 5, 2013
Published by Roaring Brook Press
Pages: 272
Read From: 5.31.13 - 6.1.13

In 2073 on the remote and secretive island of Blessed, where rumor has it that no one ages and no children are born, a visitor arrives. He is greeted warmly, but something is wrong. Something is hidden on the far side of the island. Something that, as if in a dream, he cannot reach. 

And so it is that under the light of the waxing and waning moon, seven stories unfold: the story of an archaeologist who unearths a mysterious artifact; of an airman who finds himself far from home; of a painter, a ghost, a vampire, and a Viking. And the story of a love so primal and passionate it slips the bonds of time.


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Um, no. Granted, the cover is what caught my attention - mostly because of the vine designs. It looks vaguely Celtic, and I love stories about Celts. But I dislike the character impersonator most thoroughly.

Characters: This book is not even remotely character-driven. Made up of seven different short stories, all of which end up connecting in the end, the Reader isn't given enough time to become attached to anyone. They were all faces with names that I followed along just to see what happened, but nothing more.

The Romance: It's . . . strange. Not annoying, not awesome; just strange. Therefore, I didn't become emotionally invested in it.

Plot: Midwinterblood is made up of seven different short stories. Each story takes place on the island of Blessed in different centuries, and each story does end up being connected to one another. Part one takes place in 2073, when a journalist comes to the island of Blessed to write about a strange orchid flower that grows there rumored to prolong life. Part Two is in 2011, when an archaeologist arrives to dig up Viking remains. Part Three takes place in 1944, when a British pilot is shot down by Germans crash lands on the island of Blessed. Part Four is in 1902, and tells the tale of a famous painted who came to the island of Blessed after his wife died and spends the rest of his life trying to finish his final masterpiece. Part Five is a ghost story, set in 1848, and about a young woman living on the island of Blessed who falls in love with a poor fisherman. Part Six takes place in the 10th century, when Vikings lived on the island, and finally Part Seven connects it all together. Each story has its own feel and pace. Part One and Four are very bleak, mysterious, and isolated, while Part Two and Three are a bit more boring (at least compared to the other parts). Part Five and Six are properly Gothic, and Part Seven is just weird. Of course, when Readers first begin this story, nothing makes sense, and as the story progresses, one's comprehension only gets worse. But I'll admit that I really did want to see how everything fit together, so I kept reading. I did really like Part One, Four, and Six - they were mysterious, creepy, and oddly enough made the most sense. As for the plot as a whole . . . I'll talk about that at the conclusion.

Believability: Not applicable.

Writing Style: Some stories are in present tense, others are in past tense, and a few flipflop between both tenses. Strangely enough, it isn't confusing, and the Author's exquisite style made me actually like the present tense. I may not have been a big fan of the plot, but I did really like his writing. It invoked a lot of emotions and caught my attention. So while I was getting frustrated with puzzling out the plot, I was able to take a break and just enjoy the writing.

Content: None.

Conclusion: Part Seven connects all of the stories, and it makes as much sense as something like this can (which isn't much). I had a pretty good idea that the story was going in the direction that it ended up taking, so it didn't really come as a surprise. But what bothered me the most about Midwinterblood was it was just weird. I've done a lot of weird books before, and this certainly wasn't the weirdest, but it was the type of weird that I don't especially care for. I can definitely see how this book might appeal to some people, but it just didn't meld with me.

Recommended Audience: Girl-and-guy read, sixteen-and-up, fans of weird paranormal short stories/Gothic-like romantic plots might enjoy it.

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