Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick
Summary: Two people, seven different stories that take place on an island where a mysterious, dragon-shaped flower grows. The circumstances may change, but some things remain the same.
My thoughts: First I must comment upon a small thing that means a lot to me: the reference and utilization of ancient texts. It’s clear by the end of the novel that Marcus Sedgwick has experience with Old English, and he uses that experience to make his stories (the ones set in the past) feel authentic. The acknowledgments page also mentions that Midwinterblood is based upon a painting from 1915 (click here to view it). If you read the book, and then examine the painting, you’ll be struck by the similarities (and you’ll also realize how stinkin’ cool it is that Sedgwick based his novel on a painting).
Nerding out aside, let’s talk story. Midwinterblood is composed of seven stories that initially seem unrelated (except perhaps having some names in common). As you progresses through the novel, though, you’ll notice little parallels—parallels that make the story as a whole somehow bigger and more fascinating. You can’t really go into Midwinterblood expecting answers, but you’ll be presented with tidbits that let you form your own conclusions. I love when authors allow readers to use their imaginations: often this leads to a fuller-feeling book.
Because Midwinterblood is so short, and because the stories themselves are even shorter, it’s difficult to comment upon characters. The two constant souls, if you will, change dramatically through time and space. But that’s precisely the point of the novel: it challenges the phrase “meant to be” by placing the two characters in a different kind of relationship (familial, romantic, acquaintance) or body in every story. We’re not supposed to care about the roles they’re playing, we’re supposed to focus on their bond.
Midwinterblood is a beautifully crafted book, but I can see it being overlooked because it doesn’t have a hooky storyline, or fast-paced writing. I’d recommend giving it a chance, especially if you’re fond of adult fiction (Midwinterblood reads like one).
For those who like: historical fiction, fantasy, reincarnation stories