On the Same Page: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

Title: Midwinterblood

Author: Marcus Sedgwick

Publishing Information:  October 6, 2011

Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Mystery, Horror, Romance

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 272 pages

Source: Bought for my personal library

Recommended For: Fans of books that make you think, and love that moves beyond time.

Related Reviews: Amy’s post on the many moons of Midwinterblood, and Brittany’s review

Have you ever had the feeling that you’ve lived another life? Been somewhere that has felt totally familiar, even though you’ve never been there before, or felt that you know someone well, even though you are meeting them for the first time? It happens. In 2073 on the remote and secretive island of Blessed, where rumor has it that no one ages and no children are born, a visiting journalist, Eric Seven, and a young local woman known as Merle are ritually slain. Their deaths echo 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. In a novel comprising seven parts, each influenced by a moon – the flower moon, the harvest moon, the hunter’s moon, the blood moon – this is the story of Eric and Merle whose souls have been searching for each other since their untimely parting.

“It’s not even as if she is beautiful, not in the way people usually mean. She’s more than pretty, that’s what he can say, but it’s not that that has caught him. It is simply her face, her eyes. The moment he saw them something clicked. He suddenly realized what it was. He recognized her face. As if seeing an old friend, long forgotten…”

Okay, so you read the blurb right? You get the gist? Two people are slain and it echoes multiple lives they have lived together, moments where they keep finding and losing one another as time passes…deep stuff. This was a hard book for me to read for many reasons, almost all of them personal, but I read it and honestly am not sure that I can put into words how deeply it affected me. As you know we Gals on the Same Page write non-traditional reviews for this feature, but what I am going to do is try and put into words why this book affected me on such a personal level. We are about to get a little personal!

First, it is imperative to let you know that a few years ago someone close to me was murdered. As you can imagine this sort of thing affects you for the rest of your life, it is something that absolutely changes the way you view the world and there isn’t a day that goes by that it doesn’t affect me in some way. Second, I should explain to you that I am not a religious person. This is an understatement, believe me, but I believe “to each their own,” and therefore won’t get into my reasons or debates. Well it is no question that when my friend was killed I quickly spiraled down into a very dark place, I obsessed over the trial and hate and pain consumed me and I found it hard to even be around other people. One day I was at work making a cup of coffee and I just couldn’t stop thinking about the trial and about my friend. I hadn’t told anyone what had happened at work but my co-worker came into the break room, looked up at me and said, “Alyssa, Matt wants you to stop reading the articles, you are going to be stuck in the dark.” I felt like the world came crashing down in the at moment all over again. I just started sobbing and somehow managed to ask her “how” and “why” she was doing this to me. To make a long story short, this woman was a Psychic Medium who specialized in past life experiences. I know some of you are probably going to stop reading here due to disbelief and bias, and that is totally fine, this is a no judgment zone. I am not going to get into details about what this woman told me, except that I will tell you that she said we have traveled many lifetimes together, each time missing the mark where we can be together, each time he was lost to tragedy in order to move us forward toward an unknown goal. I am not going to explain to you how she helped me bridge a gap that I so desperately needed and how she gave me something to believe in again. I am just going to tell you that it forever changed me, and though I may not believe 100% in anything, I believe that anything is possible and I believe that everything happens for a reason.

Fast forward quite a few years to when I am road-tripping with Amy, heading home from Brittany’s wedding. I am trying to put into words how it is that I feel so connected to someone I just met, another guest at the wedding. It is nearly impossible for me to explain to her without explaining the story of Matt and how I try to believe that we are all traveling souls who might get lucky to find one another in each lifetime. I explained that it doesn’t always mean you are connected romantically but it is something that can be found when you feel something click upon meeting someone. I explained that this is why I often refer to my friends as my family, because “friends” seems too trivial for someone you are sharing your precious life with. If I am being honest, I was wary to share this experience with Amy, as I had never shared it with anyone else before and I know how skeptical some people can be. I think I tried to make excuses and “I know it seems weird but…” statements but Ame, being the soul friend that she is just looked at me from the passenger seat, and quietly said, “You should read Midwinterblood, I’ll read it with you, but when you’re ready.” Leave it to my best friend to give me the least judgmental response to my story, and also bridge a gap by offering up a book that compares to my experiences. It took quite a few months, and some prodding from the girls, but I was finally ready to try.

“She knows that they both believe the same thing, that 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?”

If you read the synopsis of Midwinterblood, *waits for you to read the synopsis* you will see that Eric and Merle have spent lifetimes searching for each other. Once you read the book things come together and you realize that in each lifetime they aren’t always together as lovers, but as friends, or as mother and son, or as siblings. You may also notice that one of the duo is tragically lost in each lifetime, to better the other’s life, to help them learn and grow. Yeah. That got me. It wasn’t just that though, it was that this book has the ability to open the eyes of the reader to something different. A reminder that we really don’t know the possibilities open to us, an ability to believe that things aren’t so straightforward whether or not you believe in a God or science. It reminded me that it is possible to meet someone and already know them. It reminded me that you never know what demons a stranger is battling, so to be kind. It reminded me how lucky I am to have loved someone, even though I lost them. Most importantly, it reminded me to cherish those people that I am lucky to have in my life day to day. That’s it’s special to have met soul friends later on in life, and they are just as important as those people you have known since you were five, but also that if there is someone that despite years apart, you keep coming back to the comfort of an old companion, don’t ever let them go.

I loved this book so much. After finishing, I sobbed, and I do mean SOBBED into the arms of a loved one. Midwinterblood opened my wounds and left me raw and drained, but it also filled me up to the brim with light and hope and love. It’s a book for you lovers and dreamers, but it’s also a must read for those of you who are still looking for answers…


On the Same Page is a feature here on Books Take You Places that I am hosting along with two of my very dear friends, Amy (Tripping Over Books) and Brittany (The Book Addict’s Guide). Essentially, we will be reading one book a month together and then doing a non-traditional review such as a playlist, character analysis, and so on…To find out more about this new feature, head on over to its dedication page!

6 thoughts on “On the Same Page: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

  1. That sounds like a really intense connection to have with a book but it also seems like a case of the exact right person finding the exact right book. I didn’t pick this one up until this year (and hadn’t heard of it before it won the Printz last year) but I’m really glad I did because I really enjoyed seeing how Sedgwick worked with storytelling and the different connections across lives and stories. He’s a must-read author now. Thanks for sharing this sensitive story with us.

  2. Wow. I love your talk about this (I would call this a talk more than a review). We may have differing opinions on things, but as you said…no judgement zone, no debate (plus, I suck at debating anyway). I just wanted to really thank you for sharing this. I can’t imagine how hard it is to dig into those emotions and feel like they’re just hanging there. So many people experience things that make them do that, but it’s all for different reasons and all in different ways.

    I love when books can touch a person on such a deep level. I mean I love books that I get invested in the characters and stories but when they relate to your life so much…that’s so special. I’m glad you’ve found something like that. And I’m sorry for all you had to go through. I truly am. I’ve faced my own tragedies in life and I know that people just saying sorry isn’t always enough and you can always tell if it’s for real or out of complete awkwardness. This is a for real sorry from the bottom of my heart. I am glad you have found ways to cope and I hope you continue to live your life to the fullest and enjoy those around you. I will definitely be looking into this book. And seriously, thank you so much for sharing.

  3. Alyssa, I think it is wonderful that you chose to open up and share with us why Midwinterblood resonated with you so deeply on a personal level. First, I want to offer my condolences. No matter how much time has passed, losing someone we loved will always leave that empty spot in our hearts.

    Second, I want to say that I do share the sentiments you’ve expressed about finding those people in your life who you relate to completely soul to soul. Whether you’re lucky enough to fall in love, or meet your best friends, it’s the kind of relationship that’s special and can never quite be replicated.

    Third, I really love that Midwinterblood helped you heal, helped you realize the bits of wisdom you’ve shared in this post. I remember reading it and finding it fascinating; after reading your thoughts, I’m suddenly struck by the desire to read it once more and see how (and if) my take on it has changed.

    Lots of love to you, my friend ❤

  4. Oh, my goodness. I am effected (affected?) by your review. Wow. Your story is absolutely incredible, Alyssa and I am so happy you shared it with us. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a few tears in my eyes about your moving words and experience with meeting people you feel immediately connected to. I have people in my life I have felt that with and as much as I now want to read this book I am afraid it will destroy what soul I have left. I am so sorry to hear that you had to lose somebody close to you in such a horrific way. For my personal reasons, I am a very spiritual person but I also believe that there is something about souls that connect with one another having never knowing them before or souls that are meant to find one another or help them in some way, be it God or past lifetimes or science or aliens. There is something working towards a bigger picture. All the hugs and love in the world, your post completely changed my shitty day and gave me a little perspective I needed. *muah*

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