Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: 2013
Page Count: 262
My Thoughts after the first read First read September 2014
Midwinterblood was the Printz Award winner for 2014
Because this is a reread for me, I thought I would do a spoiler free section of this review and another section that gives away a few plot points, because I really want to get my thoughts about this one down. So the first section will be spoiler free, and the second section will contain more in depth thoughts. If you have read this, I would love to discuss it with you in the comments. My first read review linked above is also spoiler free.
This book doesn't really have a synopsis on it any where. I went into it totally blind when I read it for the first time, and I'm really glad I did. This book is really hard to summarize, but if you have read Sedgwick before, this is definitely his style; if you liked his other works, you will like this one. This book plays with time, fate, mythology, magic, and the unique form aides in the mysterious atmosphere of the novel. The novel is made up of seven short stories that connect to one another, but take place over a thousand years or so. Sedgwick is a master of controlling time, and has earned his spot on my list of favorite authors. This book is really unique and universal; it would appeal to readers of all ages and many reading tastes.
In-Depth Thoughts (some plot points may be discussed)
I loved this book the first time I read it, and knew immediately it would be a book that I would reread every year; I loved this one so much more the second time around. I loved being able to pick up on little hints and motifs throughout the stories that I missed the first time, and I was completely sucked in while reading and couldn't put it down, even though I knew how it ended. Everything connects so beautifully in this novel, and it left me in awe once I finished it; Sedgwick's writing is beautiful and elegant, but yet simple. Even though each story is only thirty- fifty pages long, they are full of such story and development; each short story could easily be expanded into a novel that I would love to read, but they are also the perfect length within the novel. I'm telling you Sedgwick is a genius and reading his novels can only be described as an experience (a bit of a magical one at that.)
While there are many other books that contain the idea of souls finding each other in many lives, this one is very unique. The two souls in this novel- Eric and Merle- experience love in many forms. They are not just lovers, but mother and son, best friends, or they impact each other's lives without even directly meeting each other. The lives that these two souls live and their connection in each life is full and meaningful. The small touches of magic that are weaved into Sedgwick's novels are always so believable and well done.
I also took some time to research the painting that Sedgwick said inspired this novel: Midvinterblot by Carl Larsson. It is one of Sweden's most talked about paintings, and has quite an interesting story behind it. The title translates to "Mid-Winter Sacrifice" and I didn't realize this until I spent some time looking at the painting, but the UK cover of the novel is taken from the painting. I really wish this would have been the US cover as well, because the US cover has nothing to do with the novel, and I think the girl on the cover will make some male readers hesitate to pick it up.
Here's more info. on the painting if you are interested, or if you want to see the painting in a larger size. If you've read the book, I highly recommend at least looking at the painting, if not reading about it. It's so interesting and really makes the book come alive.
The executioner figure from the Midvinterblood painting
The UK (I think) Cover of the book
Have your read this? What did you think? What's your favorite Sedgwick novel?