Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Sunday, June 1, 2014

Plot Summary:
The year is 2073 and Erik has finally made it to the island of Blessed to begin his investigation of the island; no one really knows the history of the island, other than rumors and stories. Erik has been hired to find out the truth, including the mysterious orchid knows as the the "Dracula Orchid," which is rumored to have immense healing powers and actually prolong life. When Merle and Tor introduced themselves to Erik, he has this nagging feeling that he has met Merle before, but how could when this is the first time he has been to blessed and the fact that he is unable to trace the connection using a program called OneDegree (based on the concept of Six Degrees of Separation). Although Erik is unable to use the devices and technological tools he needs to communicate, and research, he is grateful for the hospitality and company. After situating himself in a house the residents have provided him, Erik learns that Blessed is unlike any place he has ever been, including the unusual seasons where some days are covered in complete darkness or light and that everyone seems to be concerned about his research and well-being. From Erik's point of view, Blessed is a place of tranquility and beauty that is hard to not fall in love with, especially Merle. However, Erik notices that there are no children on the island and that Tor is starting to make him uneasy. Despite the fact that Tor is the Ward of Blessed, he seems to be everywhere and that concerns Erik. More importantly, the more time that Erik spends on Blessed, time starts to slip away then his luck changes when he makes it the other side of the island where inexplicable horror lies and the memories of previous lives come flooding back.  

Critical Evaluation:
Marcus Sedgwick is a literary genius. There is a reason why this book won the Printz award and that's because of the amazing storytelling. Midwinter Blood contains one plot where seven subplots take readers on an amazing journey starting from the future that works it way through the past. If one is not a believer in reincarnation, they will be one at the end of this story. To be honest, Sedgwick has literally thrown every literary genre into a tiny book that is exciting, frightening, captivating, and heart-breaking. This story revolves around two souls that are given the names of Erik and Merle. Although their physical entities and relationships differ in each story, the one constant is that they are always together. One theme that flows throughout the story is the various facets of love and loss. In every story, love is the culprit for a lot of the events that happened and it's comforting and disturbing at the same time. The story that touched me the most is the story of David and the family that saved him. Sedgwick has an amazing ability to portray the human condition, which is what makes the reader crave for more. Another dominant theme is sacrifice in the name of love. All of these stories have some sort of sacrifice whether it be body and soul. In David's story, he and Erik sacrifice so much to protect and honor the daughters they love and it's absolutely heart-wrenching because children need their parents and parents need their children. I can go on and on about this subject, but this book would be a great title for an inter-generational book club because teens and adults can discuss amongst one another the value of love, life, and sacrifice.

Information about the Author:
According to his website:
Marcus Sedgwick was born and raised in East Kent in the South-east of England. He now divides his time between a small village near Cambridge, England, and a remote house in the French Alps.

Alongside a 16 year career in publishing he established himself as a widely-admired writer of YA fiction; he is the winner of many prizes, most notably the Michael L. Printz Award for 2014, for his novel Midwinterblood.

His books have been shortlisted for over thirty other awards, including the Carnegie Medal (five times), the Edgar Allan Poe Award (twice) and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize (four times). In 2011 Revolver was awarded a Printz Honor.

Marcus was Writer in Residence at Bath Spa University for three years, and teaches creative writing at the Arvon Foundation and Ty Newydd. He is currently working on film and other graphic novels with his brother, Julian, as well as a graphic novel with Thomas Taylor. He has judged numerous books awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and the Costa Book Awards.

His first title for adults was published in March 2014 in the UK:-
A Love Like Blood. 
US publication will follow in early 2014.

Teen Fantasy, Teen Romance, Teen Mysteries, Teen Horror

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 9 & up

Books Similar to Midwinter Blood:
Awards & Recognition:
  • 2014 Printz Winner

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

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Deborah Takahashi
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My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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