A reporter in 2073 investigates a remote island said to have discovered the secret to immortality, an archeologist in 2011 tries to dig the island's secrets from the ground, a downed pilot in WW II trying to go home, further back a painter, further back a ghost, further still a vampire, and last or first a Viking king. Throughout it all a love that lives and dies again and again. Seven stories that all make on tale of Midwinter Blood.
I can see very easily why this won the prestigious Printz Award. It is dark, lyrical, haunting, and stays with you every time you put the book down. It is a sad, beautiful, and frightening look at lives interconnected by love, loss, and violence. This isn't a ghastly and gory look-out-it's-right-behind-you!!! kind of book, it's a much creepier slow building tension. The feeling of inevitable and inescapable doom. The very first chapters introduce you to a strange, seemingly perfect island. Since, we've all seen the movies and read the books about perfect small towns, that alone puts the reader on edge. Sedgwick ratchets up the tension quickly but vaguely. You know something is very wrong, but not what. This will be a recurring theme!
Sedgwick jumps each story further back in time repeating images, phrases, and similar characters. This can be maddening at first, because you get so little to go on to solve the ever weirder mystery. Even when you finish the book entirely you may feel like you have more questions than answers. I'd like to go on record as calling that a good thing. It's so refreshing to read a book that respects teen readers enough to let them come up with their own answers.
What's so great about this book, is that it's deep and simple. Sedgwick relies on as few words as necessary making it a stark and spare style that fits his story and themes perfectly. It also makes it so much easier to be swept quickly again and again on the currents of time. This is a rare and unique novel that should be read by anyone that loves a good story, especially a dark and haunting one
You can find Midwinter Blood in our catalog here.