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In 2073 on the remote and secretive island of Blessed, where rumour has it that no one ages and no children are born, a ritual sacrifice takes place.

It echoes a moment ten centuries before, when, in the dark of the moon, a king was slain, tragically torn from his queen. Their souls search to be reunited, and as mother and son, artist and child, forbidden lovers, victims of a vampire, they come close to finding what they've lost.

But can love last forever?

264 pages, Hardcover

First published October 1, 2011

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About the author

Marcus Sedgwick

111 books1,546 followers
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 Heart of Another" - inspired by Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart." Of his story, Sedgwick says, "This was one of those stories that I thought might be a novel originally but actually was much better suited to the tight form of the short story. I had the initial idea some years ago but was just waiting for the right ingredient to come along. Poe's story, as well as his own fascination with technique, provided that final piece of the puzzle."

He used to play for two bands namely playing the drums for Garrett and as the guitarist in an ABBA tribute group. He has published novels such as Floodland (winner of the Branford Boase Award in 2001) and The Dark Horse (shortlisted for The Guardian Children's Book Award 2002).

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,274 reviews
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,573 reviews33.9k followers
February 4, 2013
Why are readers drawn to horror? Read our Q & A with Marcus Sedgwick, the Printz honor author of Midwinterblood. Plus win a finished copy of this fantastic book!

4.5 stars Blood-soaked nightmares. Of another time. Of another place. Of another life.

The unusual story of Midwinterblood begins in the future, in the year 2073. A young journalist named Eric arrives on a remote island, where it is rumored that the people live forever. He is immediately drawn to a woman named Merle, but soon begins to notice that the locals are behaving strangely...very strangely. Little does he know that his story is but one chapter in a piercingly poignant, savage saga that stretches across time and transcends the boundaries of life and death.

I love fiction that is unsettling, particularly when it comes to the YA genre. Eric and Merle's story has elements of the shrieking madness of the film The Wicker Man, including a distinct undercurrent of unease and disturbing pagan rituals. To tell you too much about the seven interconnected stories would be to give away too many of their delicious secrets. But following the opening segment, the plot moves backwards in time, and by the third story "The Airman," the pieces start fitting together. My favorite ones are "The Painter"(1902), "The Unquiet Grave" (1848), and "The Vampire" (10th Century), many of which are violent, pensive, and sad. One of the things I like best about the plot is how Eric and Merle are bound together throughout the centuries, and yet their relationship is never the same. Sometimes they are lovers, sometimes they are children, etc., but there is always a connective emotional thread between them.

The prose is descriptive and powerful, with fragments of rough beauty jutting out from the horror contained in the intricate framework of the story.

Behind them grew a tree, an odd tree, with a straight trunk, and a pointed crown of brilliant green leaves. Gold objects hung in the glossy leaves, and Bridget was startled as she saw they were skulls. Shining golden skulls.

Although I read a great many books for sheer entertainment value, it's coming across an author like Marcus Sedgwick that reminds me how very formulaic many YA books tend to be. When I read his chilling gothic mystery White Crow last year, it freaked me out--I couldn't believe the intensity of the emotional pitch, or how the persuasively suggestive writing played tricks with my perception. Midwinterblood solidified the author's place on my list of favorite writers, and I will be seeking out every title of his that I can get my hands on. I wish we saw more YA with this degree of depth and complexity.

If you're the type of reader who prefers goth over gore, mood over mayhem, or disquiet over digust, this is exactly the kind of horror story that will appeal to you--one that is odd and beautifully strange, and one written with passion, but also with great restraint. Unapologetically bold, horrifying, and desperately doomed, Midwinterblood is not a book any reader could easily forget.

Recommended for: fans of Monstrous Beauty, When the Sea is Rising Red, and other dark literary YA, and for adults who may want to try out some quality young adult fiction. Also recommended for fans of the time-crossing elements of Cloud Atlas, as well as the crazy fun of The Wicker Man.

This review also appears in The Midnight Garden. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.

Midwinterblood Tour Stop

We're very pleased to be kicking off the official Midwinterblood Blog Tour next Monday, February 5th! Stop by for our Q & A with author Marcus Sedgwick, when you may also enter to win a copy of this spectacular book.
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,084 reviews17.5k followers
August 7, 2020
For some reason I considered giving this four stars, but honestly, why should I? I read Midwinterblood in one sitting, I still can't think of a single thing I didn't like, and it kind of changed my life. This deserves a full five and a place on my favorites list.

Marcus Sedgwick is such an odd writer. His books don't quite have a genre. Are they sci-fi? Are they magical realism? Are they suspense? Maybe. Partially. But those genre labels don't come close to describing his books. The only other book I can even compare to the two of his books that I've read might be Where Futures End by Parker Peevyhouse, another one that I loved. I feel like I need to establish a new genre for his works alone. I can't recommend this to you by genre; I can only say “read this if you like books where you won't fully get it until the end and you don't see anything coming”.

One thing is certain— Sedgwick has a talent for dramatic tension This book was just so twisty and fascinating that I couldn't put it down. And not only could I not put it down, I felt so engaged constantly. I even had visceral reactions to all the twists. For example, there's a bit right at the end of part four that kind of changed me as a person?? Just... the symbolism. I legitimately had to take a few deep breaths because I felt so fucked up. It was really unsettling. There's a line at the end of section six that also fucked me up. I don't know why I didn't see it coming, but I didn't at all and I almost choked when I read it.

This book made me pretty emotional too. The end of part five actually made me cry a little. I just... I didn't see it coming, but it changed me. I am shooketh. I don't even particularly know why - the characters are fine, but nothing very special. It was the humanity and eerie nature of this story that I loved so much.

And again, I can't spoil what made me emotional. I can't spoil what made me happy and unhappy. I was just so, so engaged in all of this. All I can say is please put this on your tbr. Please.

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Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
March 30, 2012

What a pleasant surprise this book was. It's the first one I've read by Marcus Sedgwick, I've been putting off reading his other works after hearing them repeatedly described as "weird". And I get that, this was extremely weird and the kind of book that makes very little sense until the end. But it was a great story, the writing was brilliant and I really liked the whole concept.

This is a very difficult review to write beyond using rather empty adjectives like "amazing" and "great", mostly because it was so odd. What can I write without giving something important away? I will say that this has made my mind up about needing to read the author's other books, I already have Revolver sitting on my shelf and I plan on getting to it as soon as possible.

The actual idea behind this story is one that has been explored many times but the way in which it is done here is highly original (and slightly mind-boggling). I can understand why Sedgwick's books are not very widely read, especially seeing as he is writing for a teenage audience. In my local library, his books aren't even in the teen section, but on the 8-12 shelves. There's very little chance that younger readers will care for his writing even if they do manage to understand it. Perhaps both he and his publisher need to rethink the target audience?

Many thanks to UK Book Tours for sending me this ARC.
Profile Image for PopiTonja.
95 reviews11 followers
December 27, 2021
Što sam se više približavala kraju ove knjige, to mi je disanje postajalo sve teže. I sada na samom kraju, ne znam da li sam ovaj uzdah ispustila zbog toga što je priči kraj ili zato što sam konačno završila ovaj vremeplov koji mi nije dozvolio da prestanem sa čitanjem.
Svako novo poglavlje je nova priča, koja poput dela neke slagalice, traži da se postavi na pravo mesto i upotpuni celinu. Jednu od njih sam bukvalno osetila na koži naježivši se, druga me je udarila silovito u grudi, treća mi je ščepala srce... Svaka je izazvala i probudila to “nešto” što je, verujem, piscu i bio cilj.
I sada kada sam došla do kraja i sve povezala i složila ovu slagalicu, pomislila sam da sam na početku... ali stranica više nema... Zato jedino što mi preostaje je da sednem, pokrenem ponovo ovaj vremeplov i još jednom proživim ovo sve.

Da, tako je to!

"Zivecu sedam puta i trazicu te u svakom. Uvek cemo biti zajedno. Trazicu te i volecu u svakom.
Da li ces me pratiti?"

.... "Da",prosaputa, "praticu te".
Profile Image for Ferdy.
944 reviews1,109 followers
October 28, 2014

This was a bit of an unusual YA novel, there was nothing really YA about it (except maybe the insta-love).
The premise and the mystery of sorts was quite engrossing until the actual 'reveal' at the end, which was a let down. The characters, the relationships, the worldbuilding and the ending weren't that great either.

-What's what: The seven lives of Eric, Merle and their so called love. Each reincarnation has a different short story of sorts and are all set on the mysterious Blessed island.
The first story set in 2073 focuses on journalist Eric, who visits the island to investigate the rumours surrounding it. Once there he feels a connection with Merle, then weird things happen and the stories about their past reincarnations are told.

-This didn't seem like a YA book, nothing about it felt like YA. None of the main characters were teenagers or younger, and there were no themes that were YA centred. There was nothing about school/education, family, identity, friendship, first relationships, the future etc.
It didn't read like an adult novel either as the writing was too simplistic. It was a rather random mystery about two characters who fell in insta-love and that was it. There was no character or relationship development, there were no struggles or issues or themes or messages. It was quite an odd read.

-Was I supposed to be rooting for Eric and Merle? They barely even interacted in the first story, their relationship was non-existent. And the other stories of their past selves put me off their romance completely. They started off as husband and wife, but they were later also mother and son, siblings, and old man/young neighbour girl - after that it felt creepy for them to be attracted to each other in their present lives. I was left thinking why supposed soulmates would be reincarnated as siblings and mother and son? Why, just why?

-I was more interested in the mysteries of the island and its secretive inhabitants than the love story between the two MC's. I wanted to know what was going on on the island. Why was the dragon flower only on one half of the island? Why was it hidden when everyone on the island used it? Why did Tor and everyone else think sacrificing Eric would mean they could have kids again? It wasn't like they were living in the olden days where they believed in sacrifice and whatnot. If the islanders wanted kids so badly why didn't they stop using the plant which made them barren? Did other versions of Merle/Eric remember their past selves? Why did Eric suddenly remember everything at the end? Was Tor reincarnated too? Did he remember his past life? Why was the island so isolated, secretive and separate from the rest of the world? What was with the hares? Why was there little modern technology on the island? How was it that Merle died in 2002 in The Airman story yet in 2011 she was a middle aged woman with a teenage son? How could one plant have such a variety of uses? The dragon flower was used for sleeping, healing, killing, prolonged age and forgetfulness. How could it be the main ingredient for such different things? The 2011 Eric knew where the past Viking version of himself was buried, he also knew the life he had wasn't his last one.. So he remembered his other lives, did he not then find it weird that his mum was his lover/wife in the past? Did his mum remember their other lives? If not, why? Why didn't other past Eric's/Merle's ever remember? Did 2011 Eric only remember because he had brain damage? What was with the random ghost telling the story to the kids? What was with the random vampire?
I was expecting a lot more answers by the end, very little was explained, it was like we were meant to accept things because that's just the way it was. I wanted proper answers and proper worldbuilding.

-The whole centuries long 'love' story of Eric/Merle started because the first Eric from back in the day was a king who willingly sacrificed himself to the gods so his island/people would be fertile. Anyway, when he was dying he promised to live seven lives in total (why not eight or nine or twenty?), and he asked his wife to follow him. He said he would look for her in each life so he could love her and they could be together. The queen went crazy after his death and then disappeared for years, and when she reappeared she basically shrugged and said she would follow him. I don't know how or why them simply saying they would be reincarnated again and again actually made it possible. Anyway, the other lives/stories have them reuniting or sort of reuniting but never actually being together. So yea, their reincarnations ended up being a bit of a damp squib.

-The love story between Eric/Merle should have been epic considering it started centuries ago and they promised to be together in each of their next six lives because they just loved each other that much. Instead in most of their other lives there love was either weird, non-existent or meh, which made their love story even more unconvincing and daft. It didn't help that the Eric in the first story didn't even seem to love Merle much. He was all 'from all three of my wives, she's been my favourite, she's a pretty cool lady'. And then when he was dying he was suddenly 'ooh, I'm going promise to live more lives so I can be with my fave wife again, also me saying that we'll be together again will ensure my supposed beloved wife will never move on from me, also I want my last words to be dramatic'. It was hard to find their 'love' romantic or tragic when pretty much all the feelings involved were shallow and unbelievable.

-The first story in 2073 (their seventh/last life) with the journalist visiting the island and falling in insta-love with Merle ended with both of them being sacrificed. Which made all their lives pointless, the whole point of their reincarnation was so they could be together again, they never got to be together properly in any of their lives. And since their seventh life was meant to be their last they would never be together again, so all those lives were kind of pointless.

-In The Archaeologist story Merle/Eric were mother and son, it was weird and cringey. Also, the parent/child love they had was utterly mundane, Merle seemed mostly annoyed by Eric.

-In The Airman they didn't even meet, Eric was married to some other woman he loved (so much for his everlasting love for Merle!) and Merle was child in a different country. Eric saving Merle's father wasn't them being together or loving each other, so that was another story which made Eric/Merle's centuries 'love' more ridiculous than tragic.

-In the The Painter, Eric was an old artist and Merle was a child/his neighbour, they didn't love each other, they just had a little bit of a granddad/granddaughter relationship for a few months. Eric cared far more about his painting/art than Merle and Merle cared more about the apples she found. Not that I wanted any romantic love between the two, but if I was meant to believe in them being soulmates and tragic lovers who were torn apart then there should have been a profound connection between the two, not just a grumpy neighbour getting to know his neighbours.

-In The Unquiet Grave Eric was Erica and she fell in love with Merle, which was forbidden since they were both women. The love Erica/Merle had in this one was the most convincing and epic. The other stories paled in comparison and made Eric/Merle seem like two twits who were never actually in love.

-In The Vampire they were twins, I expected them to have a strong bond that no-one could break or compete against but instead they were normal siblings. Eric was more interested in his dad and Merle wasn't even all that bothered about Eric.

-The various stories didn't make Eric/Merle tragic or epic or meant-to-be, if anything I was convinced there was nothing profound or deep about them. They were just two dramatic fools who made silly promises to each other and their reincarnations proved there was nothing much between them, and that they could more than live fulfilled/happy lives without one another.

All in all, I wasn't impressed with this. Even though the idea of reincarnation and epic love has been done to death, I was still intrigued by it. Sadly, the execution of it all was a let down. It was just a weird story.
Profile Image for Vanessa J..
347 reviews598 followers
August 31, 2015
4.5 out of 5 stars

See this?

I changed my bio on my blog to include Marcus Sedgwick amongst my favourite authors. After reading The Ghosts of Heaven, White Crow and Midwinterblood, I finally realised he belongs there.

What is Midwinterblood? It's a story about two souls, told in seven parts. It starts in the year 2073 with the journalist Eric Seven arriving on the island Blessed, in which there are strange rumours about the people. When he gets there, he meets a beautiful woman called Merle and something clicks in him.

You've surely felt those déjà vu moments, don't you? Well, this is what happens to Eric: He feels as if he has met Merle before, but he can't recall where he saw her.

However, before he finally gets his answer, the people on the isle decide to sacrifice him. And so starts the book.

I've got to say I love Sedgwick's writing. It's so... sublime. For every author on my favourites list, I have a word to describe their writing style. For Leah Raeder, for example, that word is explosive. For Marcus Sedgwick, the word I've chosen is sublime. It transports me to another word, and it drugs me.

That sounds dramatic, doesn't it? Well, say what you will, but that's how I feel. Thing is, he has a way to deliver words that make you get instantly hooked in the story and the labyrinth that's beneath it (because they can get hard to understand sometimes, or they can play with your mind), and I'm not saying this lightly.

I don't want to spoil too much about the story, but just know that it is really captivating. It starts in the year 2073, and it goes backwards from there. The more you read, the more you're going to understand the complexity behind what the synopsis says.

Some people describe Marcus Sedgwick's books as weird. I don't agree with them. Yes, they're really different to most YA books, but that's what makes them special. Maybe people say they're weird because his books don't have any of the content present in most of the popular YA books. I don't know, and I really don't care. What matters is that I love them.

Reading Midwinterblood only confirmed what I already accepted as a fact: Marcus Sedgwick is a genius. I'd love to know how his head works. My expectations for anything by Sedgwick are now beyond high. That's a risk when reading books, but I really doubt he will disappoint.
Profile Image for Neil (or bleed).
965 reviews741 followers
October 29, 2020
EDIT: I found a copy of Midwinterblood in Booksale.
But I can't find this cover/edition on Goodreads. Shame.

"To bless means to sacrifice, and in blood."

The first time I learned about Midwinterblood is when I've read a post about Printz-honor books of 2014. Midwinterblood is one of the short-listed. In the end, it won the prestigious Michael L. Printz Award. But I didn't read the book at that time since I thought I will not enjoy this book. And that's one of the worst mistake I made in my life because now that I've read all I can say is I LOVED it!

Midwinterblood is one of the books that "if you know less before reading it, the better". I had the experience for that. I started this book without much knowledge what it is all about and I'm glad for it since I had really appreciated the book's beauty and brilliance. So, to be fair, I won't say much (because frankly, I really don't know what to say lol).

Midwinterblood is an epic tale of love and memories that transcends time. It is a compelling and page-turner. It is unique and original. It is odd and weird. I don't exactly know what is happening in the first chapter but it made me curious as fuck. Which is an enough reason to push through and boy, it was all worth it. Chapter by chapter, it builds up my anticipation and that gut feeling inside my chest. That feeling which, somehow, I already knew what I am reading and at the same time, I don't. I swear, Marcus Sedgwick is a hella good of a writer for doing this to me.

If you already read his books, you know, he didn't write a typical YA novel and that's what I liked about him. Midwinterblood is not an exemption. So, yeah, READ IT! :D

Profile Image for Danielle.
806 reviews400 followers
February 8, 2021
2017 F.A.B. Bookclub pick # I.❤️. F.A.B.

This is a hard one to review. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like this one before. It is a bit creepy. It all ties together as it jumps back, back, back. As your reading each part you know it’s related but not completely sure how until the end.
Profile Image for Regan.
366 reviews109k followers
July 15, 2014

THIS WAS REALLY REALLY COOL! The story telling in this story is A+. I am an absolute sucker for novels with multiple story threads that eventually tie together!
Profile Image for Paige  Bookdragon.
938 reviews610 followers
November 2, 2015

This book has a Viking, Vampires, Ghosts and very powerful orchid. Now don't knock this book down. If you haven't read any Marcus Sedgwick, then it's time you should.Midwinterblood is one of the weirdest book that I read.

Here's a tip: You have to finish the book.

Some people find it difficult to finish the book because it's weird. Well, poptarts are weird but still, you eat it because it's for your own good. Same with this book, all the weirdness connects and after the last page of the book, you'll find yourself in dazed and you'll say "I need a moment.."

The first few chapters of the book really scared me. Because who thought deja vu is deliciously creepy?Then the story began to unfold and Marcus Sedgwick swept you away with a love story that defies time and logic.


I have a habit of reading weird stories and I appreciate them, so if you want a different kind of story that doesn't have any cliche on it, then go please check out Midwinterblood. It'll blow your mind.
Profile Image for Chantal .
337 reviews825 followers
August 9, 2015
3.5 stars

I finished this book more than a week ago and I still don’t know how to review or rate it. How do you review a novel like this? The story is so much stranger and so different from other things I’ve read that it’s difficult to compare. What I do know though is that I really enjoyed it. It only took about a page before I was sucked into the story; the novel is very intriguing and once you start you won’t want to put it down.

I’m not going to tell you what Midwinterblood is about because I think it’s a book you should go into blind. All I will say is that it consists of different story threads – almost like separate short stories – that all tie together in the end.

Here are the reasons why I enjoyed Mindwinterblood:

- The writing: This is my first Marcus Sedgwick book but it definitely won’t be my last. His writing style is fantastic: it’s beautiful yet simple and pulls you into the story immediately. Sedgwick has this ability to create atmosphere in only a few sentences where other authors need paragraphs upon paragraphs (if they manage it at all). His writing transports you; I felt like I was right there, living life on Blessed Island, drinking the tea, smelling the flowers. For me, the writing was the strongest aspect of the novel.
- Reading this novel felt a bit like taking a vacation. It was as if I was living in another world, everything else fell away. I don’t know if that was because of the writing style, the setting or both but I felt really relaxed after I had finished.
- An old, overused concept was made new. I won’t get into details because of spoilers but this book basically takes a story that has been done over and over again and manages to make it feel totally fresh and different. It didn’t feel like a rehash, it didn’t feel like something I had read before. Usually, my biggest problem with this particular storyline is that it often feels somewhat…cheap, but Midwinterblood was the opposite, it was intricate and beautiful.
- The story felt both timeless and ageless. This book is marketed as YA but honestly, I’m not sure why. I think adults would enjoy this book just as much as teens if not more.

What didn’t work for me:

I’m struggling to put my finger on it but I think there was just something missing for me. For one thing, I didn’t connect with any of the characters. There was barely any characterisation. Now, that sounds a lot worse than it actually is: this story isn’t really about attachment to the characters but much more plot and theme driven. However, it is at its core a love story and unfortunately I couldn’t really root for the lovers. I felt very detached.

My other and main problem was the ending. It didn’t satisfy me. I had SO many questions and none of them were answered. This book is very intriguing and interesting and I JUST WANTED TO KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON. Ultimately though, the ending didn’t give me anything that I hadn’t already guessed. Things weren’t properly explained and maybe (probably) that wasn’t the point of the story but it still made me sad. When I’m so invested in a book it’s difficult for me to just accept things without questioning.

Midwinterblood is an engaging book that is excellently written but won’t be to everyone’s taste. I recommend it to those readers, who want something different, something a little strange.

As for me, I can’t wait to pick up another book by Marcus Sedgwick.
Profile Image for Beth.
1,144 reviews113 followers
February 23, 2014
After telling people all week that I don't understand how Newbery and Printz criteria actually lead to objectivity, I'm going to try to review this book objectively as an exercise.

1. Is there a plot arc? No. There is no plot. This is a character-focused work.

2. Is there a character arc? Surprisingly, no.

3. What is the writing like? Well, the first few pages switch awkwardly between past and present tense, but after that the writing is very good. The tone is moody and atmospheric, and the first part excellently conveys a sense of building dread. But once the direction of the book is revealed at the end of the first part, some of that dread dissipates.

4. Are there any loose ends that don't seem to have a place in the story? There are some poorly integrated elements, most notably the dragon orchids.

5. Here's some subjectivity for you (if you think everything until this point was subjective, too, I completely agree with you; I think responses to books are all subjective): I liked the explanation of the name Blessed Island. I thought that was well done.

Ultimately, Midwinterblood reminded me of Romeo and Juliet and The Lottery with a dash of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, minus all plot and with poorly drawn characters whose sole identifying characteristics are relationships through seven generations. I have no idea why it won the Printz, which is about par for the course for me over the past few years.
Profile Image for Elena.
821 reviews86 followers
April 12, 2014
I read this for a book club, and the other book club attendees loved it. They loved it because it was new and different and fresh, because it compelled you to continue reading because you just had to know what was going on, and because it was beautifully written.

I concede all of the above points. It is new and different and fresh, it's beautifully written, and this isn't a book you can really bring yourself to DNF. But when I reached the end, my reaction was, "Huh. Well, that was...weird." I spent the day leading up to my book club discussion trying to figure out if I thought it was good-weird or bad-weird, but in the end, it was just...weird. I didn't like it, but I didn't really dislike it either. I just find it kind of bafflingly odd.

If you like weird, you might love this. This book is weird from top to bottom, inside and out. It's got a weird structure, weird characters, weird interconnected stories, and a weird blend of myth and reality. The book is divided into seven parts, and each part is weird in its own unique way.

This isn't something I would have picked up without the book club impetus, and this is one of those times when I really could have lived without that extra push. I don't feel like precious hours of my life were wasted with this one, but I don't feel like they were really put to good use either.

In sum: Just really strange, leaving me with feelings of ambivalence.

P.S. I also have no idea why this is marketed as YA, other than the length and the fact that Marcus Sedgwick had previously published in that genre. It's really not YA in theme, tone, or the age of its central characters, so, uh, what else is there?
Profile Image for alittlelifeofmel.
884 reviews343 followers
January 13, 2021
Fantastic. Just fantastic.

This is an utterly unique and fascinating story! I have never read anything like it and I think that is a small part of what made this absolutely fantastic to read!
This story follows 2 characters through 7 different stories in a descending timeline. It starts in 2073 with 2 characters, and you get to hear their lives all the way back to the 9th century. It's a story of love and mystery and reincarnation and it's absolutely beautiful.

I will admit, one of the things I loved the most is the audiobook narrator's voice. His voice + the eerie music they played between each story was just such a mood setter that I really enjoyed it,

The writing? Stunning. I heard of this from a friend of mine (Ming I'm looking at you) and I had honestly never heard of Marcus Sedgwick. But his writing is so poetic, so simplistic and beautiful and detailed that I just loved it!

I don't have much else to say, I really think everyone should read this book!
My favourite story of the bunch was The Painter incase you're wondering :)

Around The Year in 52 Books Challenge #35 - An award winning book (Printz Award)
Profile Image for Fahim.
232 reviews108 followers
January 21, 2020
تابلوی نقاشیِ minvinterblot اثر کارل لارسون ، نقاش سوئدی ، الهام بخشِ مارکوس سجویک برای نگارش این رمان بوده است.
داستان این نقاشی ، مربوط به فداکاری یک پادشاه و قربانی کردنِ خود، برای رهاندنِ ملتش از قحطی است.
داستان اریک و مرلی هم درست از قبل از لحظه ی قربانی شدن پادشاه توسط جلاد آغاز می شود که در هفت اپیزود که ارتباط معناییِ خاصی با یکدیگر دارند و با ترتیبِ زمانیِ معکوس روایت می شود.
اریک و مرلی عشاقی هستند که قرن هاست از هم جدا شده اند و به گونه ای تناسخ وار ، در زمان های مختلف و به شکل های گوناگون با هم ملاقات می کنند. گاه در قالب دو دلداده، گاه در کالبد مادر و پسر و گاه در نقش خواهر و برادر....که همواره به هم عشق می ورزند اما هر بار نیرویی آنهارا از هم جدا می کند و ارواح آنها در زندگی های بعدی و در کالبدهایی نو به جست و جوی یکدیگر می پردازند....
ژانر کتاب موهوم و رازآلود و اندکی تخیلی است که جذابیت خاصی به این اثر بخشیده اما از طرفی سبک نگارش بی نهایت ساده و روان و خالی از هرگونه آرایه ی ادبی آن ، کتاب را بیشتر مناسب گروه سنی نوجوان ساخته است.
Profile Image for Monica Edinger.
Author 10 books336 followers
March 4, 2013
From this blog review:

I’m a far-ranging reader, happily reading a picture book one minute and a book for adults the next. Professionally, being a 4th grade teacher and reviewer, not a librarian, I tend to read only YA that really intrigues me for one reason or another and I have to shamefully admit that until now what I’d heard about Marcus Sedgwick’s books — that they were dark and creepy — did not make me want to read them. But recently, I saw something interesting about his latest, Midwinterblood, just as a copy showed up in the mail and so I took it home to read.


The book has an unconventional structure that someone told me is like Cloud Atlas, but while it does have a sort of similar time sense, I’d say it is otherwise completely different. Beginning in 2073 on the island of Blessed, it moves back in time, with an epilogue connecting back to the book’s start. There are seven stories in total, all set on the island, heading back and back and back through time. And by way of these distinctive narratives we are startled to encounter characters we have already met in the earlier stories, characters who care, hate, most of all, two who love throughout eternity. Separately these are ghost stories, love stories, and even something that might be termed dystopic. Playing on tropes of folklore, horror, myth, historical fiction, fantasy, and science fiction, Sedgwick imaginatively weaves something highly original and completely compelling. While Midwinterblood is its own distinct thing, mulling it over now, I think of Laini Taylor’s Lips Touch Three Times and the stories of Margo Lanagan.

Most of all, it is gorgeous. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Victor.
255 reviews4,548 followers
December 7, 2021
Minha exata reação ao terminar: ??????????

Vamos lá, o que achei. Um pouco desapontante. A conclusão e a explicação de todo o livro foram insatisfatórias e não me convenceram muito. As coisas foram se encaixando só depois que terminei a leitura, e mesmo assim ainda fiquei um pouco confuso.

Ele é daqueles livros que você vai lendo vários "contos" aleatórios e que te deixam sem entender muita coisa, mas no final uma explicação rápida une tudo. Já vi isso acontecer de forma fantástica em "O Vilarejo", mas aqui parece que faltou impacto e tudo acabou sendo meio ambíguo. As histórias avulsas são bem legais e interessantes, mas me deixaram na expectativa por uma conexão que, no fim, não me agradou.

A escrita demorou um pouco pra me pegar, mas com o tempo ela foi fluindo. Não é 100% a minha praia, e não me deixou totalmente confortável, mas consegui me adaptar. O clima geral do livro é bem sinistro e alguns aspectos da história são bizarros. Não me importei muito com todo o mistério da ilha, mas o clima que ele proporcionou foi interessante e me deixou curioso até o fim.

A intenção do autor tinha muito potencial, mas acho que... Meh. Acabei me frustrando. Esperava algo mais. De qualquer forma, é uma leitura rápida e vale a pena dar uma chance - tenho certeza de que muita gente vai gostar bem mais do que eu.
Profile Image for Megan.
521 reviews343 followers
February 11, 2013
I had not heard much about MIDWINTERBLOOD before I picked it up one day on a whim. I had heard good things from a few of my favorite bloggers, and I thought, “Why not?” It’s a story combining the past, the present, and the future, intricately linked in mysterious ways by an island with a very mysterious history. My first reaction was to think of CLOUD ATLAS, but the more I read this story, the more I found myself racing through the pages, I began to realize it was something else entirely.


MIDWINTERBLOOD is not a story like any that is told in young adult fiction often. In fact, in a sense, it isn’t truly just young adult fiction – it is young adult, it is middle grades, it is adult. It has a crossover appeal that will draw in older teens and adults instantly with its variety of characters ranging from archaeologists to journalists to children. On top of this, MIDWINTERBLOOD is a story that begins with the end. And it ends with the end. But the way that Sedgwick intricately entwines the threads of plot was something that immediately called to me.

The story is complex, revolving around characters known mostly through the years as Eric and Merle – a changing cast of ages, times, and once gender (sort of) that all comes back to the fact that Erik and Merle are the spirits of two people wrapped in an ancient love, tied to Blessed Island.


It might not be a traditional horror movie of axe-wielding psychopaths, but at its core, MIDWINTERBLOOD is a story of, well, blood. It’s very bloody, based on the back of an event many centuries ago that resulted in bloodshed. In fact, the seven stories inside its pages revolve around death and include monsters, myths, witches, ghosts, and bombs. Creepy kids are also another major player here.

Once I got about 50 pages into MIDWINTERBLOOD, I was hooked and read the rest of the book – it’s rather short, just so you know – in one sitting. I flipped the pages compulsively until I reached the ending and went, “Wow.” It’s a circuitous book that makes sense only if you read the entire book from beginning to end, taking note of every instance of their lives, especially noting the very last vignette and the happenings of the beginning (well, it is the beginning – the beginning is the end is the beginning is the end is a Smashing Pumpkins song with some more endings).

But there are issues. One, I was never sure how this was truly a young adult novel. Most of the characters we find are adults, with a few exceptions. Even our main characters in various stories are adults. The narration style was another hang up for me. The way the story was told was somewhat odd and different, and not something I ever truly meshed it. It was always noticeable, especially in the one vignette that was told in first person (maybe it was noticeable because it was the only time the present-tense style ever seemed to fit). But other than this, the story was amazing and almost perfect.

VERDICT: An unexpected book, but not without a few issues, MIDWINTERBLOOD is a chilling but enthralling story that pulls you in with ghosts, vampires, and murder, and refuses to let you go until you realize that every word makes sense in the great scheme of things. Definitely check this one out.
Profile Image for Tijana.
734 reviews191 followers
January 26, 2018
"Krv zimske noći" mogu da preporučim mladima od četrnaest do osamnaest godina koji:
- nisu gledali film "Wicker man"
- nisu čuli za Frejzerovu "Zlatnu granu"
- nisu čitali "Red Shift" Alana Garnera u kome je osnovna ideja ovog romana obrađena mnogo, mnogo, mnogo bolje.

Koncept je zanimljiv i neću ga spojlovati (mada, one gornje tri stvari su već dovoljne za debelo spojlovanje, izvinite) ali izvedba je prilično oskudna. To naročito važi za prvi segment koji je izrazito loše napisan, u monotonom stakato ritmu, gde se kratke rečenice samo nižu a na svakih desetak reči ide novi pasus. U kasnijim segmentima se pisanje dosta popravlja, ali i dalje nije baš impresivno. Ima i više logičkih propusta/neuverljivosti koje su već nabrajali i drugi prikazivači pa ja ne moram (osim činjenice da neko ko je umro 2002. nije mogao da se reinkarnira u osobu rođenu cca 1970. To je baš... propust). Opet: koncept jeste dosta zanimljiv i pisac jeste uložio izvestan trud, i da nisam čitala Frejzera i Garnera bila bih, možda, frapirana idejom, ali prosto... uzmite bolje Red Shift, gde imate i istu osnovu zapleta i mnogo bolji a svedeniji stil i upečatljivije likove i beskrajno produbljenije poznavanje istorije i mitologije i bol koji vam srce para umesto Sedžvikove blage njanjavosti.

(Dobro, Garner je nepriznati genije i nije fer porediti Sedžvika s njim, ali sve stoji, šta mogu.)

Profile Image for autumn.
272 reviews42 followers
March 1, 2018
this was COMPLETELY amazing and unforgettable - the kind of book that as soon as you finish it, you want to flip right back to the beginning and start again. please do yourself a favor and dont read any spoilers, any reviews, even so much as a blurb; just read this asap!!!
Profile Image for Kirsty .
3,223 reviews329 followers
January 27, 2015
Midwinterblood is everything I have come to expect from a Marcus Sedgwick book. It's creepy, clever and keeps with you long after you finish reading it. Oh and you need to read every page before the whole thing finally clicks into place and fully makes sense.

The book is told in sections, each section going back in time from the one before it. I found this way of story telling to be really unusual and a clever way of telling a story. Getting the little snippets throughout time meant you started to get an overview and started to see a pattern of the story as a whole.

There is a main story that runs through the whole book which you start to find more and more out about as the story unfolds itself as you delve deeper into the history of the downright sinister island where it is set.

It's hard to say exactly what this book is about without giving too much away about the plotline. Needless to say the story itself twists in turns in way I never saw coming and the storyline is so interesting that it kept me reading page after page. It plays with the ideas of past lives and what a person is willing to sacrifice for someone they love.

Another awesome offering which emcompasses everything I have come to expect from a Marcus Sedgwick and well worth a look.
Profile Image for Zorana Mitrović.
104 reviews47 followers
March 14, 2017
Ne sećam se da sam nekada čitala nešto slično ovome.. eventualno "Vremeplovčeva žena", ali opet dosta drugačije.

Još uvek je misterija kom uzrastu je ova knjiga namenjena pošto stoji na dečjem odeljku, al' definitivno nije dečja, na knjizi piše 13+, ali retki su tinejdžeri koji bi ovu knjigu razumeli na pravi način i kojima bi se dopala.
Pretpostavljam da je namenjena svima pa ko prepozna nešto svoje u njoj- prepozna, ostali neće biti nešto preterano oduševljeni.

Roman je podeljen na 6 priča i počinje 2073. pa se sa svakim poglavljem i novom pričom vraća sve dalje u prošlost.

Duše Erika i Merl se u svakoj priči iznova pronalaze i gube, ali nisu u svakoj priči ljubavnici niti su istih godina.. pa čak ni suprotnih polova. U nekima se čak i ne sreću lično već kroz zajedničke poznanike saznaju jedno za drugo.

Magija, sujeverje, legende, običaji i ceremonijalni obredi.. ova knjiga svakako ima poprilično zanimljive momente.
Najviše mi se dopalo poglavlje o slikaru iz 1902. :)

Interesantna je priča i na neki način mi je postala draga, sviđa mi se kako je osmišljeno svo to preplitanje, ali moram da priznam da sam očekivala da me malo više pomeri. Zbog toga ocena između 3 i 4.
Profile Image for isidora crni biser.
164 reviews62 followers
July 22, 2017
Jesus! Ova knjiga me je tako zbunila sa prve dve priče da sam se zapitala jesam li ja toliko tupava da uopšte ne kopčam o čemu se radi i u kom pravcu ide O.o I još na koricama piše uzrast 13+, pa se kontam kako će neko od 13,14,15 godina da ukapira ovu knjigu O.o No, tek u trećoj priči počinjem da kapiram ko, šta, gde, kako... I sa svakom novom pričom, polako popunjavam praznine i gomilu pitanja koja su mi se stvorila u glavi.
Nisam još ovako nešto čitala. Ova knjiga je kao sklapanje slagalice, rešavanje zagonetki. Zanimljiva ideja, mada slabo realizovana i sve je nekako pretrčano na brzinu. Niđe nikakvih osećanja. Imala sam velika očekivanja. No, svakako je bilo zabavno čitanje. I eto, nisam tupava, valjda 🤔

Više o knjizi na blogu Crni biser & Prodavnica snova http://crnibiser87.blogspot.rs/2017/0...
Profile Image for Saleh MoonWalker.
1,801 reviews272 followers
July 2, 2017
شامل هفت داستان مختلفه که از درون به هم مرتبط هستن و در بازه های زمانی مختلفی در جزیره ای به نام Blessed اتفاق می افتن. داستان اول در سال 2073 اتفاق می افته و اریک سِوِن به این جزیره اومده تا تحقیق کنه که چرا افراد اونقدر اونجا ساکن میمونن. اما با زنی با نام مِرل آشنا میشه و هدفش کم کم، کمرنگ میشه. در ابتدا هدف داستان ها و نحوه ارتباطشون زیاد مشخص نیست اما با گذر زمان کم کم معلوم میشه و به داستان ترسناکی تبدیل میشه. ایده اینکه چند باز زندگی کنی و اینکه یه نفر رو در چند زندگی مختلف ببینی، جالبه. با اینکه داستان ها جالب نوشته شده بودن، اما مقدارش کم بود و زیاد نمیشد با شخصیت ها همزادپنداری کرد. نثر ساده و خوبی داشت و سرعت پیشرویش مناسب بود.
Profile Image for Aida emeh.
38 reviews26 followers
April 30, 2018
کتاب هفت تا داستانِ جدا جدا داره
این داستان ها قصه ی هفت زندگیه اریک و مرلی هستش که در زندگی های مختلف در زمانای مختلف در طول ده قرن همدیگرو میبینن و باز هم به دنبال هم میگردن..
نثر کتاب هم خیلی ساده و خوش خوانه..
همچین ایده ای رو خیلی وقت پیش که میخواستم داستان بنویسم تو ذهنم داشتم واسه همین خیلی برام جالب بود..اگر کتابی در این مورد کسی سراغ داره بهم معرفی کنه حتما..ممنون
Profile Image for N.N. Heaven.
Author 6 books1,827 followers
January 16, 2019
One of the most original set of stories I've ever read. I seriously couldn't put it down.

My Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Mr. N
Profile Image for TheBookSmugglers.
669 reviews1,983 followers
October 25, 2011
Original review posted on The Book Smugglers

Thea’s Take:

I have heard good things about Marcus Sedgwick, so when we were offered the chance to review Midwinterblood, I jumped at the chance. I wasn’t sure what to expect with Midwinterblood, but I certainly had no idea that I would love this book so much. Beautifully composed in seven parts, traveling backwards in time to the origin of Eric and Merle’s tragic story, Midwinterblood is a reverse-palimpsest of sorts – wholly unexpected, haunting, and utterly memorable. I loved it.

It’s hard to write this review without spoiling any twists, but I can speak in generalities about how well planned and executed this novel is. Midwinterblood is like a set of matryoshka dolls; each story has another story locked within it, as some detail or memory of an earlier life. The novel in its entirety is the story of two lovers, each born again in seven different incarnations on the same small island, struggling to find each other and achieve some kind of happiness together across the centuries. How exactly their stories play out and why they are chasing each other across different lives, of course, is the true heart of the book and I won’t spoil that for you.

I will, however, say that I loved that Eric and Merle’s love is reborn in different ways. They are not always born as lovers – once they are siblings, once they are mother and son, and so on – but they always find a way to be with each other, somehow. It is this twist that made the novel so much more poignant for me as a reader – because doomed love over the ages is a familiar enough theme. Reincarnation as love in all of its forms is something wholly different. Of all the stories, I will say that my favorites are that of the doomed fishmonger and the merchant’s daughter and the brother and sister that must evade an undead threat.

Finally, I should mention how perfectly eerie and fitting the setting of Blessed Island is, with its hidden population, its mysterious hidden side, and its dragon-like flower that holds the secret to youth and life. When we are first introduced to the island in the year 2073, and its peculiar, childless inhabitants with secrets to protect, it’s all very Wicker Man-ish.2 I wished that there was more of a uniting thread that would tie Blessed Island and its uniquely potent orchid as well as the conceit of the different types of moons to the story of Eric and Merle, but other than that, Midwinterblood is pretty near perfect. Absolutely recommended, and I’ll definitely be around to read more from Marcus Sedgwick in the near future.

Ana’s Take:

Having read and enjoyed Marcus Sedgwick’s White Crow, I was very keen to read Midwinterblood. I was expecting a solid, spooky Halloween read but got so much more than that. The book surprised and delighted me with each of its interconnecting stories.
It is a story divided in seven parts and it’s about love and sacrifice. It starts at the end – when Eric and Merle meet and fall in love at first sight. Except, it is not the first time they meet and even though the story starts in the future (in 2073), the root of it all lies in the very distant past – and each subsequent story goes back a bit in time going back to when it all started. 3

The brilliance of this book is manifold.

Part of it comes from the structure itself, divided in small chapters, each story set in a different era as they go back in time. Although the setting – a small, mysterious island – is the same throughout and so are the set of the protagonists (well, sort of), each story reads different from one another – they could be entirely independent had it not been for the ever-present feeling that they are not. Then there is the fact that each story has at least one a very unique distinctive element and most of them are even written in different genres: there is a War Drama, and classic Horror and even a terribly sad Ghost story.

Then, there is the fact that this is a love story that acknowledges many different types of love and this is what moved the book from simply good to awesome for me. There is love between mother and son, between siblings, between friends and yes,of course romantic love which also included love between two people of the same gender.

My absolute favourite was the aforementioned Ghost story because of not only the story itself but because the author managed to include a story-within-a-story-within-a-story with a twist. Genius.

Midwinterblood is a very short book, a quick read (seriously, I devoured it within 2 hours) but one that packs quite the punch. From the beginning it brims with tension and one can’t help but to be engulfed by a suffocating sense of Impending Doom (making it a perfect Halloween read) but more than that, it is a story with heart and it’s full of sadness and sweetness and beauty. I loved it.


Ana: 8 – Excellent

Thea: 8 – Excellent
Profile Image for usagi ☆ミ.
1,197 reviews277 followers
February 1, 2013
There's something so gorgeously unsettling about this book, yet I couldn't put it down. I just knew that I had to find out what happened at the end, through this journey across time, going backward with each short story linked therein. If you want something new, dark, and luminously beautiful with sensory imagery and language that will make your skin crawl, "Midwinterblood" is most definitely your book.

I think the largest issue I had with this book was its sparseness - it was both the best and the most problematic issue of the book. While Sedgwick definitely has a way with sensory imagery and language, its sparseness both contributed to the mystique of this story, of all of the characters and how they tied into each other and the past(using the relationship web school of worldbuilding), and he can describe a whole lot in only a few words, I feel like he could have expanded upon some of that language, characters, and world just a teeny tiny bit more and still retain how gorgeously dark this book was.

However. The language itself was nothing short of dream-like - I plowed through the entire book in one (ONE) sitting. It definitely seduced me and it's a breath of fresh air in the YA genre, that's for damned sure. I was immediately sucked into Eric/Merle/Tor's worlds across time of how everything related to each other, and I couldn't get enough. The end was a bit abrupt, but for me, it worked quite a bit considering how Sedgwick crafted this book. There's a lot of weighted mood here, a lot of pain, but all of it is crafted into something absolutely stellar.

Though the story as a whole itself is very complex when put together at the end, the base of the world and the characters themselves are very simply built - no convoluted overwrought characters fighting in a love triangle like so much of we've seen in YA as of late. The characters act simply, and though the seven stories help us understand their motives better, their generally very simple in all aspects even throughout all seven lifetimes compared so much of YA lit today in general. It was such a breath of fresh air. The great thing is that even young YA will enjoy this book because it's so easy to follow. Yet at the same time, it's extremely profound. We follow a set of people throughout a few thousand years of time, not keeping one single gender the whole way through, and their interactions do change from lifetime to lifetime. Its themes are also simple: reincarnation, forgetting/remembering, separation, and acceptance (as Erik keeps saying throughout the book, "And so it is"). But all of it is woven together into a plot so tight you'll want to keep turning the pages.

There's not a lot of happiness in this book. There's a lot of painful reality, even for a magical reality genre book. There's a lot of gloom, a lot of human darkness (even in a slightly inhuman setting), and a focus of studying the failings of humans - especially in regards to how they take care of each other in a social setting. This is not a light, fluffy book - but that's what we need more of in YA. It makes you think. It makes you work for the final answer you find in the epilogue, even though it's so simply constructed. There's a lot of soul-searching (literally) that goes on in this book, and a lot of characters being used as symbols. And bringing together ALL of the aforementioned into one story? Not easy. Not easy at all. Yet it all worked, and worked beautifully. So I have to take my hat off to Sedgwick for constructing such a wonderful story.

Final verdict? This is the perfect book if you're feeling a bit moody or you want to explore the idea of humanity as very faulty creatures. Definitely not the feel-good book of the year, but you know what? That's one of its best features. Absolutely luminous and definitely one of my favorites of 2013 so far, "Midwinterblood" is out February 5, 2013 through Macmillan in North America, so definitely be sure to check it out when you get the chance!

(posted to goodreads, shelfari, and birthofanewwitch.wordpress.com)
Profile Image for Taylor.
465 reviews134 followers
March 21, 2020
“Eirikr lies on the table, staring into the night sky, staring at the uncountable stars that are shining brightly down on him.

What lives, he thinks, are lived by the men up there?

What do they do?

What do they believe?

What do they see?

Do they see me?

He wonders about them all, all the many lives that have been, and that will be, and wonders why they are not all the same, why they are what they are. It cannot be, he thinks, that when our life is run, we are done. There must be more to man than that, surely?

That we are not just one, but a multitude.”


I picked up Midwinterblood thinking that I would enjoy it, but I had no idea how deeply I would fall in love with this story. I loved every page, every word of this strange, wondrous book.

I shouldn't be surprised. Marcus Sedgwick has quickly become one of my favorite authors, and he never fails to dazzle me with his out-of-this-world imagination. What can I say about Midwinterblood to fully articulate how epic this book really is?

Midwinterblood is broken up into seven different stories, about an archaelogist, a pilot, a painter, a ghost, a vampire, and a viking. Each story takes place on the island of Blessed, and spans centuries. All are connected by a passionate, fateful love that transcends lifetimes.

I just...I just so completely loved this book.

Midwinterblood is the type of story that reminds me why I love to read. It's been a while since I felt so completely swept away and consumed by a story, and here, Sedgewick is at his best. I can't help but notice that he thrives when writing seemingly separate but wholly connected stories that unravel time and space. He did this with The Ghosts of Heaven, a book I adored, and he did it here. I was truly mesmerized.

There's something breathtaking about this story that I can't completely put my finger on. It's hard to articulate why our heart sings to certain stories over others. My heart felt so in tune with this dark, horrifying, emotional book.

This book is a treasure. Uncovering how each story is connected was so rewarding, and I'm hard-pressed to recall a book this year that made me cry as much as this one did. Not since The Burning Maze had I sobbed like a little baby from a book. The ending to The Painter and The Ghost ripped my heart out.

Sedgwick claimed that his inspiration for Midwinterblood came from Carl Larsson's painting, Midvinterblot, a piece illustrating the sacrifice of the Swedish King Domalde to avert famine.

Midvinterblot, in Swedish, means "Midwinter Sacrifice." If you've read Midwinterblood, you would see how fitting a title it is. I'm getting chills just thinking about it.

I adore this book. I love everything about it, and I want all of my friends and family to read it because it's that good. Please, if you're tired of the same old stories being told over and over again, read Midwinterblood, or any Marcus Sedgwick book you can get your hands on. This was one of my absolute favorite books of 2018, and I can't recommend it enough.


“If a life can be ruined in a single moment, a moment of betrayal, or violence, or ill luck, then why can a life not also be saved, be worth living, be made, by just a few pure moments of perfection?”
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