Have you ever had the feeling that you've lived another life? Been somewhere that has felt totally familiar even when you've never been there before, or felt that you've known someone even though you are meeting them for the first time? In a novel comprising seven parts, each of them influenced by a moon - flower moon, harvest moon, hunter's moon, blood moon - and travelling from 2073 back in time to the dark of the moon and the days of Viking saga, this is the story of Eric and Merle who have loved and lost one another and who have been searching for each other ever since.
In the different stories, the two appear as lovers, mother and son, brother and sister, artist and child, as they come close to finding each other before facing the ultimate sacrifice. Beautifully imagined, intricately and cleverly structured, this is a heart-wrenching and breathtaking love story. But it also has the hallmark Sedgwick gothic touch, with plenty of blood-spilling, a vampire, and sacrifice.
©2011 Marcus Sedgwick (P)2011 Orion Publishing Group Ltd
A well told story, I was gripped from start to finish. Our book group are following the Carnegie short list and this is certainly a well written story. The narrator really adds to the tale as does the atmospheric background music.
The publisher's summary is misleading. This is no grand story of thwarted love or great mystery. Maybe my expectations were too high, hoping for a variation of The Time Traveler's Wife perhaps. This is directed at Young Adults and perhaps I am a cynical old bird but I have read and been enthralled by other books written for this demographic, such as the "His Dark Materials" trilogy and of course all the Harry Potter books and the "Chronicles Of Ancient Darkness" series, so overall I was disappointed enough to be moved to write a review.
As I listened to this series of short stories I began to think maybe the editor or author had had a good idea; what if the chapters were reversed and we started with the ending and ended at chapter one?
Part 1 is a weak beginning and would have worked better with fuller character development so that it became a foundation, drawing the reader in to become involved with the protagonists as the subsequent stories describe their recurring interactions. It begins with a vague description of a reporter going to the island of Blessed to investigate the longevity of its inhabitants and extraordinarily low birthrate; hang on - if there are no children born, how come there are inhabitants to investigate? The 2073 description is not futuristic enough to be convincing which doesn't help. Frankly, I felt that the two protagonists didn't have much rapport or mysterious attraction and so their intertwining lives did not mean much or matter to me until halfway through the book.
By the time we arrived at part 7 the reverse echoes of things in parts 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 made sense but by then we could see it coming and there were no surprises. The archaeological story could have been made more of, its import doesn't show until much later in the book, and is a bit lost. Okay there are clues and recurring themes such as the dragon and the hare which worked well, yet I feel the book was probably written in chronological order and then with the reversal of chapters the afterthought of a weak epilogue was essential to make it work.
The narrator did a fine job and was easy to listen to with good accents making the inhabitants of the island where the whole story takes place sound a little other-worldly and distinctly Norse. I particularly liked the author's use of earlier and earlier names and pronunciation as the timeline regressed.
This is no startling 5 star book, but its okay. Perhaps for those who have not come across the concept of Karma or reincarnation this will spark their imaginations, but for me I felt perhaps there could have been more character development in some of the parts and this a longer, more intricate and satisfying book. I plan to listen again starting with part 7 and working backwards! I think I shall enjoy it better.
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