Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Date of Publication: February 5, 2013
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.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Woah, just put it down and now I’m typing this review. This might just be my most unexpected read ever. I got an ARC from @MacKidsBooks and for that, thank you so much! I went into this novel blindly, just read the blurb at the back of the ARC I got. It wasn’t that enlightening as I just knew that it’s composed of seven different stories. I had no knowledge what might be the overarching team would be or really, anything. I just read it because I have to, because I have to review it, and thank goodness I did because this book is chillingly awesome.
I actually almost put this book down, for future reading, when I’m in a far more patient mood. It’s because it’s actually confusing and I felt sort of dumb reading it because I don’t understand it. The novel’s composed of seven short stories, seemingly unrelated at first, except starring characters with the names Eric and Merle in different forms or spellings. Like one has Eric, another with Erik, like that. Moreover, the stories are titled with the different types of moons in this Scandinavian island, Blessed. The first story takes place in 2073 and each story goes back into the past, to 2011, 1944, 1902, 1848 and so on, all taking place in Blessed Island. And because each story is short, you’re put right into the center of the story. It’s certainly a feat to build a setting in one short story but Sedgwick has accomplished that as he was able to differentiate each time era in so little words. Sure, Blessed Island had some things constant and unchanging, such as it’s fishing community, its expressions and the abundant Little Blessed Dragon orchid and its apparently many uses and its distinct physical appearance. Without being outright scary, he has made me scared reading this as he has written such an eerily frightening novel and island. It doesn’t feel like he’s purposefully scaring you but it just comes that way, which I think is amazing. You just don’t feel quite right while reading this, that you know there’s something going on and that you’d have to get right on the bottom of everything, even if you’d have to suffer several bursts of goosebumps along the way.
That’s why I soldiered on and kept on reading. It felt really eerie reading this and I want to know the secrets of the island and what all of these shorts were telling me. Why is Eric and Merle in all the stories but with different roles? Is this a reincarnation novel? I had lots of questions, which were left unanswered most of the time. But I trusted Marcus because if his words can make me want to stop reading in the dead of night, then I thought he’d deliver, whatever was his goal in this novel. And I am so glad I did read on and finish this book because guys, it certainly gave me the chills.
Little bits and pieces and clues are thrown in each story and at first, you might not actually realize that those are clues. But around the second to the last story and especially the last, all hell broke loose as my reading can’t catch up with my brain processing it. Everything fits together and I’m actually having gooseflesh right now, writing this review as I relive the novel in my mind.
I definitely recommend this to everybody, especially to those who are in for stories that come together in the end. And for fans of the eerie and for fans of love that transcends all divides.
“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?”
About Marcus Sedgwick
Marcus Sedgwick (b 1968) was born in Kent, England. Marcus is a British author and illustrator as well as a musician. He used to play for two bands namely playing the drums for Garrett and as the guitarist in an ABBA tribute group. He has published novels such as Floodland (winner of the Branford Boase Award in 2001) and The Dark Horse (shortlisted for The Guardian Children’s Book Award 2002).