The blurb says:
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.
My verdict: beautiful, haunting and unlike anything else I've read. Highly recommended for those who enjoy a well-crafted story. Don't let the teens keep it to themselves!
This book gripped me instantly. I read it over three days of a very busy working week, which says a lot on its own. I'm not going to leave it there though *grin*. The novel has superb writing and makes intelligent use of folklore/myth, so it was always going to be a winner for me. I still managed to be surprised by just how fantastic it was though. I read recently somewhere that Marcus Sedgwick spends a long time planning (I think I read months), and this book is testament to that degree of careful thought.
The novel as a whole is like an orchestral suite, with different movements all sharing a key theme and a set of motifs which flow through the whole, adding cohesion and providing (I'm sure) satisfying recognition on re-reading. As always, Sedgwick's prose is relatively sparse yet beautifully lyrical. He doesn't waste words, nor does he need to use complex vocabulary to weave a clever story.
A particularly effective aspect of the opening story was the Wicker Man-style creepy vibe. This helps build the sense of inevitability which propels us through all the stories back to the beginning of it all. The trailer conveys this dark and spooky tone brilliantly.
Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely and it's a real contender for the best book I've read this year. I think it's worth saying that, for all the 'doomed lovers' stuff implied in the blurb, it's not a 'romance' title. Also, as an Indigo publication, it's being targeted at the Young Adult market, but I think there's life in it as a literary chiller for adults too.
My grateful thanks go to Orion for providing me with a proof copy of this wonderful book for review.
This is my nineteenth review for the British Books Challenge.