My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The darkly poetic prose that beats at the heart of Midwinterblood is something that took me quite by surprise. I’ve known of Marcus Sedgwick and I’ve known of his work for a fair while now but never quite got down to it. That’s a shame, because this book, this curiously weird and haunting and viciously moving book, is quite something.
It opens with Eric Seven, a reporter visiting Blessed Island. What unfurls there is a series of stories, echoes almost, which reverberate over thousands of years. That’s almost too simplistic a description for the circular, curvaceous, back-tracking narrative at the heart of Midwinterblood. Perhaps a better way to describe it is to describe it as a Moebius strip of a book, constantly shifting and with a different orientation each time you look at it. But even that’s wrong, a poor way to describe these strange stories that stand separately and fit sequentially and then make you flick back and forward and leap from page to page as you discover the connections that make you pause, make you shiver and make your heart break just a little bit more.
So that’s a thing right there isn’t it? A book that cuts different wherever you cut into it. A book of such profound structure and art and grace that it makes you slow down in case you miss something. A book that makes you look twice at what you’re holding. A book that doesn’t really feel like a book at all. A book that sort of feels like it’s holding everything that you’ve ever needed to know about things.
It’s a strange, unsettling, and brilliant experience, this.