Midwinterblood

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Overview

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...

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Midwinterblood

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Overview

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

Winner of the 2014 Michael L. Printz Award

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, December 17th 2012 issue:

"...a story that’s simultaneously romantic, tragic, horrifying, and transcendental is more than enough to hold readers’ attention, no matter their age." — Publishers Weekly, starred review

Starred Review, Booklist, December 1st 2012 issue:

"Part love story, part mystery, part horror, this is as much about the twisting hand of fate as it is about the mutability of folk tales. Its strange spell will capture you." - Booklist, starred review

Starred Review, Kirkus, December 1st 2012 issue:

"The Time Traveler’s Wife meets Lost in this chilling exploration of love and memory . . . Haunting, sophisticated and ultimately exquisite. " — Kirkus, starred review

Starred Review, BCCB, February 2013 issue:

"Sedgwick’s prose is unadorned yet melancholic. . ." — BCCB, starred review

Starred Review, The Horn Book, March/April 2013 issue:

"Sedgwick’s prose is taut, careful, and chilling." — The Horn Book, starred review

"Reminiscent of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas . . . stark, suspenseful writing." — School Library Journal

The New York Times Book Review - Eoin Colfer
I have never felt I was the target audience for doomed young supernatural lovers across time, but Midwinterblood is so much more than that. It is a tale for the ages, expertly spun and completely satisfying in its conclusion. If you have, like myself, until now spurned this dark corner of the bookshop with its clusters of glaring, misunderstood Goths, I urge you to make your way through the skinny jeans and Doc Martens that bar your way and pick up Midwinterblood. It takes a few chapters for the story to soar, but is well worth the investment. It is something of a cliché for a reviewer to claim he devoured a book in a single sitting, and I have to admit that is not the case here. I began Midwinterblood late one evening in bed, dreamed about it through the night and finished it early the next morning.
Publishers Weekly
“I always prefer a walk that goes in a circle.... Don’t you?” a woman named Bridget says to her daughter, Merle, at one point in this heady mystery that joins the remote northern setting of Sedgwick’s Revolver with the multigenerational scope of his White Crow. Sedgwick appears to share Bridget’s sentiment: as he moves backward through time in seven interconnected stories—from the late 21st century to an unspecified ancient era—character names, spoken phrases, and references to hares, dragons, and sacrifice reverberate, mutate, and reappear. Set on a mysterious and isolated Nordic island, the stories all include characters with variations on the names of Eric and Merle. In a present-day story about an archeological dig, Eric is a oddly strong, brain-damaged teenager and Merle his mother; in the 10th century, when the island was inhabited by Vikings, Eirek and Melle are young twins, whose story answers questions raised by what the archeologists discover. Teenage characters are few and far between, but a story that’s simultaneously romantic, tragic, horrifying, and transcendental is more than enough to hold readers’ attention, no matter their age. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Heather Robertson Mason
This book works backwards. The first story begins with Eric, a journalist sent to mysterious Blessed Island in 2073 to investigate the rare Dracula orchid. There he meets Merle, a woman whose beauty enchants him and who seems to know him even though he's sure he's never met her before. Each story that follows—the story of the archeologist, the story of the vampire, the story of the ghost, the painter, the Viking, the queen—takes place earlier than the one before it going back to ancient history. Each chapter spins a tale of love, but not always romantic love and not always welcome love. The only constant is the appearance of Eric and Merle, but even they take different forms and aren't always at the center of the tale. A difficult book to describe, it is not a collection of separate stories on a theme, but an intricately woven tapestry telling a story through time. At its heart, the book is a mystery wrapped up like a folk tale. Many of the chapters take from well-worn archetypes such as the widow weeping over her lover's grave or the injured soldier being tended by a welcoming family. Each story seems to answer a question left from the previous chapter while asking a deeper one, until all questions are answered in the end. The story is beautifully written, almost like a poem. Even though the main theme, that true love will always find you, is overworked in other books, here it seems fresh and new. It is a book for strong readers only. The non-linear storyline and constant changing of characters from story to story takes some skill to navigate. And while it is an easy book to give up on early, readers who stick with it will definitely be rewarded in the end. Wonderful. Reviewer: Heather Robertson Mason
Library Journal
Sweden’s most controversial painting inspires this tale of a centuries-old cycle of love and tragedy. Hanging in Stockholm’s Nationalmuseum, Carl Larsson’s Midvinterblot (1915) tells the story of a king who is sacrificed by his people in order to end a famine. In Sedgwick’s telling, connected stories of a dragon-flower cult, an archaeological dig, a painter, a vampire, and a ghost point further and further back to the bloody beginnings of the northern isle of Blessed, ultimately landing on the same Norse legend. Themes of love and loss play out in each story, which are tied together by the island, familiar-sounding names, and a foreboding sense of danger. Fans of the television series Lost will find much to like in this atmospheric and emotionally resonant literary achievement.

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Beginning in July 2073, Sedgwick's new novel makes its way backward through time, drawing readers into seven stories from different eras. Whether it is a 21st-century archaeologist, a World War II pilot, or a Viking king, there are subtle but tell-tale signs of the threads that bind them together over the centuries-the echoes of particular names and phrases, the persistence of a mysterious dragon orchid, and other seemingly innocuous moments that all hint at the dark mystery at the center of this lyrical yet horrifying tale. The plot is reminiscent of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas (Sceptre, 2004), with its themes of love and reincarnation, as well as of the cult-movie-turned-book Robin Hardy's Wicker Man (Crown, 1978), with its setting of remote and sinister island inhabitants. The many characters are vividly real and distinct from one another, despite making only brief appearances. Each of these vignettes seem rich enough to be worthy of a novel of its own, and readers might almost wish they could pause in each fascinating, detailed moment rather than be swept through time-and the novel-on the current of a cursed love. Although fans of the author's Revolver (Roaring Brook, 2010) will likely flock to this book to relish more of Sedgwick's stark, suspenseful writing, new readers might find that there are more questions left unanswered than are resolved.—Evelyn Khoo Schwartz, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC
Kirkus Reviews
The Time Traveler's Wife meets Lost in this chilling exploration of love and memory. A dystopian start to the novel finds journalist Eric on remote Blessed Island in the extreme north in the year 2073. Tasked with gathering information on a rare orchid that is rumored to stop the aging process, he feels instant attraction to native islander Merle. As Eric drinks a strange tea brewed from the orchid, he begins to forget his life on the mainland yet remembers feelings for Merle. But how and when did he know her? Seven linked stories progress backward across centuries, following Eric and Merle's relationship as it takes on many forms, such as father/daughter or brother/sister, throughout time. Presented as different cycles of the moon, the stories feature various genres, from realistic and war stories to stories about ghosts and Viking vampires, ending with a hint of mystery to be revealed in subsequent chapters. This form, as well as the novel's reliance on adult protagonists, is a rarity in literature for teens. Inspired by Swedish artist Carl Larsson's controversial painting, Midvinterblot (translated as midwinter sacrifice), Sedgwick crafts these seven treats with spare, exact prose in which no word is unnecessary. Together, their reoccurring motifs of orchids, moons, blood and language--to name a few--reinforce Eric and Merle's enduring love. Haunting, sophisticated and ultimately exquisite. (author's note) (Fantasy. 13 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250040077
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • Publication date: 4/22/2014
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 56,393
  • Age range: 12 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Marcus Sedgwick is the author of White Crow and Revolver, which was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal in the UK and was named a Printz Honor book in the US. The author of eleven widely admired previous novels, he lives near Cambridge, England.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2014

    Awesome!

    This was a wonderfully written book. I enjoyed it so much I read it in one day.

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  • Posted April 26, 2014

    A collection of seven interconnected stories that deal with love

    A collection of seven interconnected stories that deal with love and sacrifice and the many forms both can take. I was intrigued by the time span covered by the book initially and am more than glad I picked it up. I read this in less than 2 days around my work schedule. It is engrossing and haunting at the same time. I would recommend this book not just to teens but to anyone looking for a great fast paced read that is a mystery, a love story, and a ghost story all rolled into one.

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