Mini Review: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

Midwinterblood
Marcus Sedgwick

Roaring Brook Press
I received an advanced copy of this book in return for an honest review.
Released February 5, 2013
272 pages
Literary Fiction / Short Stories / Supernatural

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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.

This was a really interesting book that was nothing like I expected. It’s a series of seven short stories all intersecting by way of a mysterious island full of mystery and hidden history. It’s like Lost except without a weird science cult or smoke monster or bear cages or… okay, it’s nothing like Lost. It’s a story told over centuries beginning with the a short told in the near future of a journalist who goes to Blessed Island in search of a story about immortality only for his trip to go terribly wrong.

Nothing worked how I expected it to. The two main characters reappeared in story after story with different familiar relationships and dynamics that are unexpected yet oddly similar. Even as background characters in the story of an archeological dig, the two main characters have a heavy presence in each story. The short stories progressively go back through World War II, Viking days and even further back in time, introducing new types of characters and oddly supernatural elements.

This reads like literary fiction with the occasional paranormal twist. It flows like it’s meant to be read out loud with phrases often coming off as lyrical and flowing. It reminded me of short stories like Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery that you know is horribly twisted, but can seem fairly innocuous on the surface all while being written in a manner that leaves you slightly unsettled in its beauty. Overall Midwinterblood is beautifully written and an incredibly quick read that’s worth a visit even for those who may not enjoy short stories or literary fiction otherwise.

 

I received an advanced copy of this book from Macmillan in return for an honest review. Thanks Macmillan!