Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Book Title: Midwinterblood
Genre: Young Adult – Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror/Mystery??
Type: Stand Alone
Format: Hardcover, 272 Pages
Publishing Date: February 5, 2013
Summary: 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. A Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of 2013 & a Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013. [summary from Goodreads]
My Thoughts: I am currently taking a class that focuses on adolescent literature, which should have been the best class that I’ve taken so far in my pursuit of my B.A. in English because I absolutely love YA literature, but unfortunately my professor is a bit too self involved. What I mean by this is that he spends more time pushing his own perspectives on every book we are reading rather than remaining objective and opening up the discussion for all viewpoints. However, even with this annoying teaching method bringing down my once potential love affair with a college class, I have really enjoyed reading some of the assigned books. The first of which is called Midwinterblood and normally, based on the cover alone which I am completely guilty of caring about, I would never pick up a book like this one. The cover art is made even more bizarre after reading the novel and finding that nothing about it translates to the story, plus I really don’t like people on my book covers. I don’t know, it feels kind of weird to me. Haha! Wow, I am a nit-picky reader! ANYWAY, I did a bit of digging and discovered that there were originally two alternate covers for this book when it was first published, covers that were incredibly perfect in my opinion, but they were apparently changed to this fugly one because I guess people felt that the originals gave too much of the story away?? Well that is absolutely impossible to do and here is why…
This book was a complete mind fuck. Pardon my language for those of you who are more sensitive to such things, but I honestly have no other way to describe it because every minute, hour, and day after finishing this book has revealed brand new thoughts on it where I find myself sitting there going “OMG! THIS IS BRILLIANT!” It is one of those extreme love/hate relationships, especially because it took almost the entire book to get any sort of answers, which to the authors credit he really pulled off the outcome. I was very apprehensive at first because this was an ambitious plot to take on but my hat is off to Sedgwick for sure. So, even with my crazy up and down experience, the finished product garnered Midwinterblood five stars and I think the author might be a genius too. I mean, this guy wrote a seven part story that is relatively simple in it’s idea and then added subtle things into each piece that make the reader feel a bit out of control. It is pretty difficult to explain but the general gist of things is that there are two central characters that appear in each story, Erik and Merle, and their names slightly change given the time period each piece is set in and their roles in each others lives switch up too. The novel runs backwards through time from the most modern to a period that is so far back the author is even unsure of the exact year. There are hares, which are pretty important as the tales spiral further into the labyrinth of “WTF is going on here?!,” a guy named Tor, who may or may not be a reference to Norse mythology (which my professor is completely sold upon), everything takes place on Blessed Island, and there is a rare orchid that only grows on this island that is said to be a magical dragon flower that may or may not prolong the lives of people on the island. Also, there is a lot of tea drinking and things always get very fuzzy with each sip, so as the reader I wanted to smack Erik every time he brought the dangerous cup to his lips. STOP DRINKING THE DAMN TEA!!!
Anyway, I am sorry for my erratic brain spillage here but this book has really befuddled me. Have any of you read it??? If so, please discuss it with me in the comments. I’m amazed with how many new things come up as I talk about it with others. If you haven’t read it, I’m pretty sure that you should. Grab a cup of magic tea and get sucked in. It’s a short book that you’ll either love or hate, but I assure you that one thing is certain, you will have a strong viewpoint about it come the final page. Let my poll from my class solidify the strong views evoked here: it was a split of 70/30 with the majority fiercely hating it. So take the gamble, roll those proverbial dice, and let me know! 😀 Oh, and did I mention that it won the Printz Award in 2014?
“If a life can be ruined in a single moment, a moment of betrayal, or violence, or ill luck, then why can a life not also be saved, be worth living, be made, by just a few pure moments of perfection?”
“Eirikr lies on the table, staring into the night sky, staring at the uncountable stars that are shining brightly down on him.
What lives, he thinks, are lived by the men up there?
What do they do?
What do they believe?
What do they see?
Do they see me?
He wonders about them all, all the many lives that have been, and that will be, and wonders why they are not all the same, why they are what they are. It cannot be, he thinks, that when our life is run, we are done. There must be more to man than that, surely?
That we are not just one, but a multitude.”