At its heart, Midwinterblood, by Marcus Sedgwick, is a love story. It’s the story of a love so strong that it lasts through seven lifetimes, with each lifetime composing a part in the book. But it’s more than just romance. There’s mystery and horror, and even a bit of historical fiction.
I’ve actually read Midwinterblood twice. The first time was a year ago, or thereabouts, and I was so taken with the story, that it seemed like I told everyone I met about it. I told them about the plot, how crazy it was and how strange some of the parts were, how it blew my mind! After all, it starts out in 2073 with an investigative journalist named Eric Seven heading out on assignment to a remote island somewhere in Scandinavia, where he has heard that its inhabitants, who make use of a rare flower called the “Blessed Dragon Orchid” (or the Dracula Orchid) have begun to live forever. While there, he meets Merle, and can’t help but feel as if he’s met her before, despite this being his first trip to Blessed (the island), and her never having stepped foot off it. Against his better judgement, he falls in love with her, and the rest is history… literally. From there, the book moves back in time.
There’s a part about an archaeologist, a WW2 pilot, and a painter. Then there’s a ghost story and a bit about a vampire before the story turns to a time unknown where a king must make the ultimate sacrifice to save his people. All this happens before returning, full circle, back to Eric Seven’s story.
Like I said, I really enjoyed the plot, which despite the book being a short 260-ish pages, is surprisingly intricate. Nearly all the pieces fit together so precisely, that I had to read it a second time just to see the breadcrumbs Sedgwick left for us- subtle hints at what was to come (or what had already happened). I also liked that Sedgwick wrote it in a fairly straightforward style. You’re not likely to find any crazy vocab words in this one, a fact that made the book really, really easy to read. It is not without its flaws though.
If really well-developed characters are your thing, it might be best to pass on this one. While I loved running through the pages, eating up the lines, excitement over discovering what was to happen next leading me to finish the book in a single day, I didn’t feel like I really knew any of the characters. Still, it’s definitely worth reading. If plot is your thing (you know who you are), and you like a genre-bending read that leans toward the mysterious, then this one is for you.
A quick note on Marcus Sedgwick- he is a British, award-winning author who’s been writing for about 16 years. His books have won many awards, including the Printz Award in 2014 for Midwinterblood. Sedgwick also received two Printz Honors (runner-up awards), for Revolver and The Ghosts of Heaven. If you don’t know anything about these awards, just trust me- they’re a big deal. They’re given each year to the single best book written for teens.