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Blood Red, Snow White

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  949 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
It is 1917, and the world is tearing itself to pieces in a dreadful war, but far to the east of the trenches, another battle is breaking out - the Russian Revolution has just begun...

Blood Red, Snow White captures the mood of this huge moment in history through the adventure of one man who was in the middle of it all; Arthur Ransome, a young British journalist who had fir
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 6th 2007 by Orion Children's Books
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Zee No. Unless you want your pupils reading how Rasputin was caught with no clothes on and his penis hanging out! Or how some Russian aristocrats prefered…moreNo. Unless you want your pupils reading how Rasputin was caught with no clothes on and his penis hanging out! Or how some Russian aristocrats prefered men instead of women. Might confuse or upset the little ones. This is for age 14 and up. Year 8 in UK terms is roughly 12 y o. (less)

Community Reviews

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Feb 01, 2009 Rosianna rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Sedgwick's authorial voice is nothing short of sensational, the fairytale quality running under his retelling the bloody Russian Revolutions through the eyes of Arthur Ransome. The novel is split into three parts, and Sedgwick jumps between stories until they lace into one another and never once lose pace or connection with the reader. It is an exceptional piece of writing, and reminded me strongly of other quasi-factual works such as The General in his Labyrinth, The Red Necklace and The Book T ...more
Nov 23, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, historical
Wow. I have to say that this was one of the best historical fictions that I have ever read. The author is absolutely fantastic in the way that he manages to weave such a gripping story while still making it completely historically accurate. I loved the style of writing as well and the way it changed, as though the narrator was speaking right out of the book and reading it to me, in the first third of the book, but then the style was slowly altered until the story was being told from Arthur Ranso ...more
Sep 20, 2015 Marina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-star, own
I really enjoyed this novel. The research done by Sedgwick is superb.

I loved how magical the novel was, at least at first, and then the fairytale faded away and the reality of a Russia at war with itself and others became true and brutal. The difference was rather jarring and I almost wished for the fairytale style to have been used throughout.

I enjoyed the naivete and an almost innocence of the main character, his belief in the path of good and that people can get along. He wasn't a good perso
Like all fairy tales, this story is told in three parts. The main story is the adventures of Arthur Ransome, yes that Ransome, in Russia during the revolution. The first part of the novel is told like a fairy tale. In fact, Sedgwick captures the tone and feeling of Old Peter's Tales. The second is told in third person, and the last section is told by Ransome himself.

Sedgwick includes some interesting things in the appendix.

While the book does get classified as fantasy, it is fantasy more in tone
Feb 06, 2014 Kate rated it it was ok
Revolutionary Russia, and Arthur Ransome as spy... what's not to LOVE... but what a clunky and disjointed mix of styles. It's a "Concept". Ugh. First, allegory and fairytale prose in Part I, then pseudo-mysterious present-tense in Part II, and then past-tense spy novel Part III. I just wish he'd stuck with the story, and used the fairy-tale pieces to knit it together a little more artfully--and less "art-ey". Could have been great. Interesting reading about Ransome, though, and the beginnings of ...more
Jan 10, 2011 Yolande rated it liked it
I bought this book because of the gorgeous cover, and the fact that it was about Russia. I didn't know it followed the lifeline of a historical figure until I finished it. I thought the characters stayed a bit flat, and it took me a while to get 'into' it. Nevertheless, it was a good read a nice way to read about the Russian Revolution.

Favourite quote: "He lived, and now, being a character in a book who has survived to the final page, he lives forever." (p. 202)
Kim Dyer
Jul 17, 2014 Kim Dyer rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed-on-blog
My views with regards to this novel are incredibly mixed.

All three stories - especially A Russian Fairy Tale - were beautifully written and rich in symbolism. The image of the sleeping bear for the attitude of the proletariat and reoccurring contrast between red and white were both incredibly striking and memorable.

It was also nice to read a story that presented an unbiased view of Bolshevism as so many simply use communists as villains. This novel made the appeal of communism very clear, showin
Dec 01, 2010 Robert rated it did not like it
Shelves: historical
Don't read this book; it is really bad.

It's a stylistic disaster; it is divided into three parts, the first of which is a confused mish-mash of inter-related "fairy-tales". It mixes up Russian history with ideas from Arthur Ransome's book about - Russian fairy-tales! This, I think, is supposed to be clever, because the book is a fictionalised tale of Arthur Ransome's time living in Russia, before, during and after the revolution that brought Lenin to power. In fact it's just an incoherent mess.
Ringo The Cat
By his own admission, “a sense of place” is what often inspires Marcus Sedgwick’s storytelling. Combined with Sedgwick’s almost gothic flair and often Unheimlich and atmospheric way of writing, this has resulted in a couple of gems. In Revolver, for instance, that setting is the Arctic, suitably evoked in an almost claustrophobic way. The 2007 novel, Blood Red Snow White, is quintessential Sedgwick too: a unique setting (Russia during the Russian Revolution) and a mesmerizing style (especially i ...more
Nov 21, 2012 Rita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the plot. I was intrigued at once. Russian fairy tales? Come on, that sounds awesome!

The story evolves around Arthur Ransome, a British journalist, who travels to Russia to report from there during the First World War.

The story is divided into three parts.

Part One - A Russian Fairy Tale:
That first part was just magical. It was told like a typical Russian fairy tale and I loved every part of it.

Part Two - One Night in Moscow:
That part was not that great. I had to force myself through it a
Mar 02, 2010 Maryse rated it really liked it
Once upon a time, there was a young woman who loved fairy tales. While browsing through the YA section of a bookstore, she notices a book "Blood Red, Snow White" by Marcus Sedgwick. Never heard of him, but she's heard of Snow White (and she loves Snow White), so she buys it. A few chapters later, she's mildly surprised to find that this was not about Snow White (or at least Baba), instead it was about a man called Arthur Ransome (never heard of him, either) and the Russian Revolution (which she ...more
Mar 26, 2015 Karin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love the style of writing. It changes within the 3 different parts. First as a fairy tale, then as an observer and lastly in the first person.
I enjoyed the story, the writers craft and the reader's skill.
Jul 13, 2015 Hayley rated it really liked it
Such a dark premise and theme throughout this Sedgewick novel, I wasn't expecting it to be so heavily political, but it gave a FANTASTIC insight into the era of the Russian Revolution. I've been looking for a novel based around the Tsar, so I was quite excited about picking this up. As always, Sedgewick structures his novels in a really unique way, I couldn't quite imagine this story having the same effect as a movie. The plot didn't always have me hooked, but it was a fast read and enjoyabl
HNC Library
May 09, 2014 HNC Library rated it it was amazing
This book was read by student Denise Erandio as part of the Six Book Challenge. Her review won the 4th Top Review prize - here are her winning comments:

"Blood Red, Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick is set in three parts all of which are set in the time of the Russian Revolution. It successfully captures the brutality, danger, and mystery of Russia in the time of revolution through both the narrative of the character Arthur Ransome, an English journalist, and also through the story-telling narrative
I loved the fairy tale aspect of the opening chapters. It was a useful framing device for introducing the characters, sketching out the history and evoking the mood of the Russian revolution. I was intrigued by the spy-history plot in the second half but wanted the pacing to move a bit faster. I'm unfamiliar with the war but it made me curious to look into it more - especially the historical spy background of the character Arthur Ransome. 3.5 stars.
Brogan Bertie
Sep 05, 2007 Brogan Bertie rated it it was amazing
i think this book is great. it is not a full on war book, but more a story of a fairy tale point of view, of the Russian revolution.
The story line comes from many different places and meets each other in the middle.

It is quite a difficult book to understand.
It, to me, comes across poetically written. I do not think it is a light book.
Ain Mc
May 22, 2014 Ain Mc rated it liked it
I'm torn between giving it 3 or 4 stars. Probably it should fall under 3.5 stars. I've never read anything by Sedgwick before but I did read some reviews on his books and most people described him as a brilliant writer who writes beautiful stories.

I agree, though.

There's something about the way he tells his story. Its fairy-tale like vibe and the poetic words used, makes it more complex than just a simple read. But in a good way, of course. Another reason of me instantly liking the book is proba
Mrs Mac McKenzie
This was a little confusing at first, with the three different styles of writing making up the book, however, it all comes together at the end. This story deals with the politics and relationships of the Russian revolution in a fictional way based on the life and trials of the British journalist and author Arthur Ransome as he negotiates life in Russia during World War 1 and the revolution. There are spies and intrigue, favours requested and granted, and wheeling and dealing. Historically accura ...more
Dec 13, 2013 Mizuki rated it liked it
It's a the book is decently written, you can give it a try 3.5 stars.
Dan. Thompson
I wasn't sure what to make of this book when I first approached it, simply because it is split into three sections, and many people have criticised how the author has changed 'style' for each. But having read many Marcus Sedgwick novels, I knew I shouldn't have worried - and in fact, you can see how this 'changing style' novel has influenced his more recent works.

I thought the fairytale first section was wonderfully done - crafting a magical, and often mysterious Russian retelling of folklore an
"He tried to take the magic from Russia, but the magic would not go."

MUY interesante!

Creo que me hubiera gustado muchos más si todo hubiera sido como estaba relatado el primer capítulo (ej. amé la metáfora del oso. // Y quería y creía que el Tsar y su familia iban a ser mayor parte de la historia, osea a tener más parte de la narración porque en la historia estaban), pero luego gran parte de los libros II y III se me hicieron confusas o aburridas y eso no me dejó conectar tan bien con todo lo
Helen Corcoran
Mar 16, 2009 Helen Corcoran rated it it was amazing
The first thing that comes to mind is that at its very heart, this book wants to be a fairy tale and, in that respect, it is very beautiful and pretty much succeeds. One review of this on amazon stated that the style of this book is written to appeal to YA audiences and, as such, adults won't enjoy it at all. I definitely disagree. In regards to tone, this book reminds me of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. It may appeal to MG and YA readers, but there are times where the writing has a sarcastic ...more
I didn’t realize until the epilogue that the main character, Arthur Ransome, was a real man and the author of [book:Swallows and Amazons|125190, the classic British children’s adventure series.

This book is kind of trapped between being a fairy tale and being a historical fiction. It’s closer to historical fiction, with some fairy tale allusions.

It also felt like a Russian Revolution For Preteens! Book. It’s hard to get involved with the characters – it’s all very surface-level. And Ransome’s a
Jul 26, 2015 Nikoline rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young and adults
Recommended to Nikoline by: Ellie
Divided in three sections, Blood Red, Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick tells the story of several stories which combined marks a very interesting perspective on how every single event is a result of another, and will result in another event and so forth.

There never was a story that was happy through and through.

The first section is told as a bitter sweet fairy tale involving a family of a grandparent and two children, starving in the Russian woods, only living on the fairy tales the old man feeds
Lady Knight
Although this novel is one story, the use of three different writting styles made it feel as if it were three books in one. Part One was amazing! I loved the larger-than-life fairy tale feel of the opening section. It paints revolutionary Russia as one giant fairy tale. I was so engrossed that I read part one is one sitting. Part Two was entirely different. It follows one night in the life of Arthur Ransome with flashbacks to key parts of his life. Still interesting, but not as good as part one. ...more
Don Christie
Nov 17, 2010 Don Christie rated it really liked it
Arthur Ransome, famous for writing about children who had fun doing nothing much...and making it sound exciting. Still one of my favourite authors. His Swallows and Amazons series about upper middle class children holidaying in the English Lake District could be further removed from his experiences as a Bolshevik sympathiser, friend of Lenin and lover of Trotsky's secretary - who he eventually married.

Blood Red, Snow White is a fictional account of Ransome's career as a journalist who covered an
Megan (YABookers)
4.5 stars

“There never was a story that was happy through and through.”

Blood Red, Snow White is set in 1917. The world is partaking in a dreadful war, but Russia is fighting another war, away from the front lines but in its own heart. The Russian Revolution has begun. Blood Red, Snow White follows Arthur Ransome, a young British journalist who witnessed the revolution first hand.

The start of Blood Red, Snow White really did capture my attention. It is written fantastically, and so like a fairyta
Courtney Johnston
About once a week, I am simultaneously appalled and delighted my my general ignorance. Appalled, because no-one likes finding out they're less well-informed than they thought they were. And delighted, because finding stuff out, is, frankly, cool. Even if you're a bit late to the party.

I knew Arthur Ransome only as the author of 'Swallows and Amazons', which I've not read. I certainly didn't know that he was a journalist who had an unhappy marriage to a slightly unhinged woman, Ivy, and ran off t
LH Johnson
Nov 06, 2013 LH Johnson rated it really liked it
Segwick is such a writer. Such a writer.

I have always struggled with the bald facts of history and the way that whilst precision and figures are all very good, somehow all I want to see - all I need to see to understand this moment - is the look on the girls face as she watches her love walk off to war. History resides in people. We are our story. We walk in the feet of these stories every day. My problem with history was that I loved it, but what I loved, wasn't history. It was something out of
Alice Radwell
Oct 11, 2011 Alice Radwell rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: historical fiction lovers
First of all, I'd like to credit the sheer talent of Sedgwick in crafting a piece of historical fiction where everything mentioned can be traced to an actual person or event in Russian history. There is a powerful truth driving the novel's story, and when you register that practically everything happening is a fictionalized account of a real brutality, the whole novel becomes that much more engaging, and that much more horrifying.

I really enjoyed the three-part set up; Sedgwick manages to keep e
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Marcus Sedgwick was born in Kent, England. Marcus is a British author and illustrator as well as a musician. He is the author of several books, including Witch Hill and The Book of Dead Days, both of which were nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award. The most recent of these nominations rekindled a fascination with Poe that has borne fruit here in (in The Restless Dead, 2007) the form of "The Hea ...more
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“There never was a story that was happy through and through.” 17 likes
“He had learned something already in the course of his journey. If you carried a closed wooden box, people want to know what is in it.” 5 likes
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