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My Swordhand is Singing (My Swordhand is Singing, #1)
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My Swordhand is Singing (My Swordhand is Singing #1)

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  1,655 ratings  ·  241 reviews
WHEN TOMAS AND HIS SON, Peter, settle in Chust as woodcutters, Tomas digs a channel of fast-flowing waters around their hut, so they have their own little island kingdom. Peter doesn't understand why his father has done this, nor why his father carries a long, battered box, whose mysterious contents he is forbidden to know.

But Tomas is a man with a past: a past that is tra
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 9th 2007 by Wendy Lamb Books (first published July 25th 2006)
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Community Reviews

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There are two types of authors in this world-

1 Authors like Stephenie Meyer & John Green who would write anything repeatedly (Yes, anything at all), for their books to be sold. Whatever their books may be, not empowering they are. Whoever these authors are, not inspirational at all. Commercial and confusing. Absurd and unnecessarily dramatic. Contradictory and annoying.

2 And then against all the odds, there’s Marcus Sedgwick, indifferent to fame, highly underrated and extremely brilliant.
I have become a bit cynical lately concerning the vampire story. To me, is has been overflated, becoming a punchline to a really bad joke. MY SWORDHAND IS SINGING added little to the pantheon of vampire stories, but it did leave this reader feeling as Mr. Sedwick was going somewhere with this world of his. Granted, the ending did little to affirm that he stands alone as King of Vampire Mountain. But, the way he told his story impacted me. Sure cliches abound. But what he does with the cliches im ...more
This story of evil in a bewintered peasant village harkens back to traditional vampire lore, stripping away modern accretions of sexiness and glamor. Its strongest aspect, however, is not the supernatural element but the effective depiction of early modern life: fragile and bleak, fraught with danger, and controlled by peer pressure and folk practices.
Review from Badelynge
Marcus Sedgewick takes us to a cold lonely place in the 17th Century in this YA style short horror novel. The dead haunt the snow covered forests of Transylvania. An isolated village hides from the dark and what lurks at the shadow's edge, painting their windows with tar and and trusting that evil will not cross their defences. Sedgewick draws on the vampire folklore of the region to deliver a horror story that predates the more romanticised trappings of the last century. A
May I invite you to take a quick look at the nicely-designed creepy cover art and the cool title. Then turn the book over and read the blurb about father and son who live in the woods… everyday the father digs a channel around their hut without telling his son why and he also keeps a mysterious old box whose contents the son is forbidden to know. Sounds dark and scary? well, turns out it's a YA book. I was expecting good old horror goriness but instead I got coming-of-age and cute illustrations. ...more
Maelstrom Reviews
Nov 09, 2008 Maelstrom Reviews rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Horror Lovers
Recommended to Maelstrom by: Youth Librarian
Shelves: charybdis
This review is copy-paste from the Charybdis. You can see it in it's natural habitat here :

I knew right from the first chapter that this was going to be my eerie-fest of the month. I mean honestly, the story starts with… well. You’ll just have to find out.

Tomas and Peter are humble woodcutters, burying themselves in the woodlands outside of Chust, a small town hemmed in by the darkness of the great forest. They share everything in the sparse area, except for the past behind one secret. A long w
Empire of Books
First off, I can’t believe I haven’t read this, and after the epicness of it all, I feel even worse! My Swordhand Is Singing is a true vampire novel. None of your Twilight-ish vamp falls in love with a human theme here. Oh no. This is the stuff of true vampire legend! Taking you right back to 17th century Eastern Europe where the legends of the vampire were first born and bred.

This is a truly good book. It’s addictive, a quality that all good books need. It’s gripping. Full of suspense. And twis
This particular author is quite a prolific writer of YA stories in a variety of genres, but it was the mid-European horror story setting that drew me to this particular book.

Peter and his father, who drinks too much, have found themselves something of a home as woodcutters for a village, though they choose to live on its outskirts and associate with the villagers as little as possible. The village then sees two deaths, which are blamed on wolves even though it appears unlikely to say the least.
Sienna Logan (Lost to Books)
OK, so because it is Halloween I have decided to re-read one of my favourite horror books. I still remember the scared feelings I had as I lay in bed after finishing this book for the first time. Reading it at 2am with just a fire light was definitely not the best idea... I lay awake for hours after the last few pages but even though I was scaring myself with my over active imagination I just couldn't stop reading. I loved the title and this is originally what drew me to the book as I really enj ...more
I loved this 17th century, Eastern European vampire tale.

For me the story evoked the feeling of Peter and the Wolf, a classic that I first came to adore as a wee lad. The ending - rather the fact that I had reached the end of the book - was bittersweet. I enjoyed the experience of reading Segwick's tale so much that when there were no more words to consume, I felt a bit empty, as if I'd experienced a loss. That's the hallmark of a good book, at least for me. The push-pull of loving the story bu
Fantasy Literature
Are you sick of wannabe vampires who sparkle rather than self-combust in the sunlight, and who mope around high schools instead of stalking the terrified living in order to slake their never-ending thirst for blood? I know I am, which is why I thoroughly enjoyed Marcus Sedgwick's My Swordhand is Singing, a vampire tale that does away with modern interpretations of lovelorn emo-vamps and instead draws upon the oldest known records of these creatures in order to shape its chilling story.

My Swordha
A delightful little novella that calls to mind earlier, darker Grimm's fairy tales before they were sanitized for children's consumption. Sedgwick plays with old European superstitions remarkably well and I was reading this I thought how wonderfully this would do as a dark fairy tale movie that's become so popular these days a la Snow White and the Huntsman, only done much better.

I think a good comparison to this novella would be as the young adult version of Angela Carter's excellent feminist
Jul 25, 2014 Yasmin added it
Shelves: to-read-again
This book and it's vampires were so amazingly scary, I still shudder at the thought of being outside alone.
Mike (the Paladin)
Here we go again. To all of you who love this book, I'm sorry. For me one description sums this books up.....:

Way too much wind up for way too little payoff.

I read all the positive reviews and kept waiting for the "terror" to kick in. About page 114 (of 204) while Sophia was explaining to Peter about the Winter King and the Shadow Queen and all the other stuff that most readers had probably already put together it dawned on me "it wasn't going to happen". Except for this being vampires instead o
So this is actually the first of a two-book series of Gothic young adult tales dealing with vampires.

First, let me say am happy to report that, these vampires do not sparkle. In fact if that's the kind of vampire story your interested in, do not pick up this book or the other one "The Kiss of Death".

Both books in this series are good old Gothic horror tales of creepy things that go bump in the night. The protagonists are good hearted and initially completely overwhelmed by the horrors that are s
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Natalie Tsang for

Marcus Sedgwick's MY SWORDHAND IS SINGING is a dark novel with a heavy emphasis on thick, snowy forests of Eastern Europe, gypsies, and superstitious town folk. It is the perfect setting for a scary story, but it is also much, much more.

Tomas and his teenage son, Peter, are a pair of traveling woodcutters with a mysterious past that settle down in the village of Chust one winter. Before long a string a deaths strike the village. Peter is perturbed b
Maria M. Elmvang
I had no clue what to expect upon starting this book, yet for some reason I'd gotten the idea that I wouldn't be impressed by it. I think it must have been a mixture of the cover, the lack of a blurb on the back of the book, and just the general 'feel' of the book in my hand. I'm not saying it makes sense, I'm just saying that that's how I went into the book. After the first couple of chapters I was ready to give up on it as a lost cause, but as I'd been asked to read it with an eye on translati ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I'm not really into vampire stories these days, so it was with trepidation that I began to read this book. However, the vampires in this story are not the slickly dressed neck-biters, but closer to the original, folkoric idea of an animated corpse seeking the blood of the dead. Sedgwick draws upon the earliest traditions from all over eastern Europe to create this chilling, suspenseful tale of a small village in the woods and the evil overshadowing it in the winter gloom. Our hero, Peter, has be ...more
Thomas Cicatiello
WARNING!!!!!! Don't read this in the dark. This terrifying tale will haunt your dreams. At least it did for me. It all starts with a suicide. The only question is how does one person hang himself, and at the same time, rip his own heart out? The answer is... ZOMBIES!!!!! The only hope for them is a young boy. His father is an alchloholic, but he has a dark secret. A VEEEEERY dark secret. And of course there is some romance. This boy has to choose between a girl he has known since he's moved to t ...more
Achieng Onguru
This book is scary in a way that will make you question what you were doing with you teen years. The story takes you back to the original Vampire folklore of Eastern Europe(Dracula e.t.c.) that is well told with the morbid nature it commands. To me, it sounds like a story that should have been left around camp-fires because of the chills down the spine that it inspires and the sporadic moments of depression. With a little bit of imagination you can almost see the creepy things happening right be ...more
Sanni The Wallfower
I am a little bit sick and I've been at home all day so I have time to read. (Usually I just watch TV and eat!)

This book was great. An idea is nice and you understand it easily. And yes, my skin got goosebumps. (In chapters 20,21 and 24.) I expected that the vampires of a story are owners of white skin and sharp teeth. No, they are like zombies. They live under the ground, they don't need blood and... Well, they are like zombies.

About the characters, I don't know what I should say. Nothing speci
Creepyyyyyy...A good suspense/horror novel. Easy but pacy. Just what we look these days. As the author had pointed out, it dabbles into the folklore behind the rise of VAMPIRES! The story runs in and around our main protagonist- Peter, a teenager, who with is drunkard father has settled down on an island in the outskirts of the village after living most of their life as nomad. The story deals with Peter trying to make an understanding of his life, his drunkard father, the secrets kept from him a ...more
Kelly Moore
The creepiest thing about this book was that even though it's about certain blood-drinking, sunlight-allergic, extremely scary non-living people, they are almost never mentioned directly. The small community living in a huge, dark forest in the middle of nowhere prefers to pretend that these creepy and dangerous nighttime visitors don't exist. However, soon it becomes impossible to ignore what is happening, and then things get really gross and freaky. If you like scary books and are interested i ...more
Love it !
bone chillingly gothic XD
C. S.
The premise is pretty good. We have a small town in Eastern Europe sometime maybe in the 1800s and they have a dark secret. And our hero is an outsider, so he's sort of learning about this secret along with the reader.

However, it was kind of slow, which was okay. The tension was pretty good in the book, and I wanted to know what happened next. I have to say I was disappointed, though, by the way things wrapped up. It felt very anticlimactic.

The biggest problem I had with the book was a sliding p
♍ichael Ƒierce
Aug 14, 2014 ♍ichael Ƒierce marked it as to-read
Recommended to ♍ichael Ƒierce by: Tracey
This is a much MUCH better cover than the available English editions!


Who wants a book with some guys face all half-cropped with his eyeball all shoved at you!? I'll wait to see if they eventually make an English edition with the cover above!
Somewhere in eastern Europe the villagers are being terrorised by the hostages, the local gypsy name for the vampires. The tension builds slowly to an exciting finale and the book is one long atmospheric tale. The author weaves various myths and legends from different countries to create a unique take on the vampire lore. It was wonderfully written and so enjoyable that I whizzed through it in one day.
Minä kun en fantasiaa lue enkä kauhua. Mutta tämän kirjan kansi oli jo sellainen, että teki mieli lukea. Niin valkoinen ja jotenkin paljas. Ei täynnä kaikenmaailman ornamentteja kuten usein fantasiakirjoissa, jotka jää multa lukematta.

Kerrassaan hieno kirja. Pakko saada näitä lisää. Meinaan samaa kappaletta, jotta voin alkaa vinkata tätäkin kunnolla.
The prologue seemed promising, but for the first half of the book nothing seemed to be happening. Nothing even came close to the intended plot. It was just a bunch of random stuff I didn't give a shit about. Slow as hell, I couldn't stand anymore after nothing was happening even halfway through the book. Didn't care anymore what happened afterwards. I felt too cheated.
Natalie Sellers
My Swordhand is Singing tells the story of a village haunted by supernatural beings. After various mysterious attacks, Tomas and his son Peter must do anything to survive and fight off the corpses of the fallen. A twist on European folktales of vampires, the duo must battle against the monsters with the help of each other, travelling gypsies, and a mysterious sword in a box. As they face the monstrous townspeople turned vampire, the two are forced to do things they ever imagined. They both need ...more
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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
More about Marcus Sedgwick...

Other Books in the Series

My Swordhand is Singing (2 books)
  • The Kiss of Death (My Swordhand is Singing, #2)
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