By Marcus Sedgwick, published by Indigo (Orion).
What would you sacrifice for someone you’ve loved forever?
Eric and Merle meet each-other on the strange, childless island of Blessed in 2073. As soon as Eric, avid newspaper journalist, sees the beautiful Merle for the first time, he is certain that they have met before in past lives… and he is right. In fact, Eric and Merle have lived seven past lives, and in each one they have loved each other, whether they’re wife and husband or mother and child. Midwinterblood is a chilling tale told in seven riveting parts, one for each life and based around the times of seven different moons.
I’ve read this book before- just before it was released in 2011- but decided to re-read and re-review it as it has just been shortlisted for the Carnegie book award! It was as brilliant and as haunting as I remembered it. Marcus Sedgwick has written this brilliantly, and the connections between the different lives were spooky and clever. I especially loved how the seven stories were told backwards; starting in 2073, and working backwards to thousands of years before, as there was- for example- two bodies found by archaeologists in the 2011 part, then it revealed who the bodies were and how they got there a few stories later. Sounds confusing, doesn’t it? Well, it wasn’t. Marcus Sedgwick’s writing was very successful and made this complex, plot and novel structure understandable.
Eric and Merle’s characters were enjoyable. Their personalities didn’t really need to be visibly explained at all- their undying love was shown between the lines really well. I also thought it was a great twist that Tor, from the 2073 story, kept appearing in the backgrounds of the earlier ones. I would say he was the only antagonist of the story, as he seemed to be trying to draw Eric and Merle apart. Eric, Merle, and Tor, all had varying names throughout the stories- as an example, Eric’s- in the last story (the one furthest back in time) was Erikir. Still, like the complex plot, it was understandable.
In total, Midwinterblood was an amazing novel. I’ve never ever read anything quite like it before. It was beautifully written, and executed well- I don’t think any other author would’ve been able to pull off such a layered plot. I loved the unique layout and the undying love between the characters. It was a haunting story that will send shivers up your spine- It’s full of murder, betrayal and star-crossed lovers. I really hope this wins the Carnegie medal!