Sunday, 8 June 2014

Review || Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick ★★★★☆
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.

I don't even know how to begin talking about this book. I read it in two sittings--and truthfully, the only reason I put it down the first time was literally because I was required to do something else besides read. (Darn those day jobs!)

Let me be honest here, I am a huge sucker for these kinds of stories. The whole reincarnation, finding and loving each other across time thing? Huge sucker. I eat this stuff up. And this book offered its own delightful twist on the trope and I was just enthralled.

I really enjoyed the fact that Eric and Merle's relationships across time were not always as you'd expect. It was just romantic love, but familial love, love between friends, love between strangers even. It was such a fresh take on everything.

And not only that, but Sedgwick's storytelling is just on point. Things unfold in reverse chronological order, and by the time you've made your way through a few stories you start to put the pieces together. But even still, things twist and turn and invert upon themselves in unexpected ways.

Even as I sit here, right now, writing this review, I'm still realizing how some of the pieces slot together. I seriously just had another revelation as I was reflecting on the stories. It's a book that begs for a reread--which was, in fact, my first instinct after having put it down. And I'm not usually one who's big into rereading. But there's so much rich detail that I know I've missed on the first pass through. And now, knowing the big picture, I want to dive right in again and pull it back apart.

Despite sounding complex, the prose is simple--but deceptively so. Just like the book itself, it's hiding other meanings if you dig deep enough. The writing is evocative too, painting a picture of the scene as you read.

The more I reflect upon this book, the more I realize how good it really was. And that's enough to bump my initial rating of 4 stars up to 4.5. Highly recommended!