Monday 17 January 2011
White Crow by Marcus Sedgwick
Published in 2010 by Orion.
The earth quakes, the graves burst open, the dead arise and stream on in endless procession. The trumpets of the apocalypse ring out.
Normally I like to write my own blurb, but I think the book's blurb says it all perfectly, so why mess with perfection.
'Two lives, two centuries apart. But they walked the same paths,, lived in the same house, became obsessed by the same question.
When city girl Rebecca steps into the quiet streets of Winterfold that relentlessly hot summer, her uneasy friendship with strange elfin Ferelith sets in motion a shocking chain of events.'
I loved this book. It was dark, it was creepy and it really was a modern Gothic thriller. The story appears fresh and original and full of the unexpected.
The story is told in three parts which are all intertwined as the book progresses, each revealing a little more as you read it. In the first part you have the narrative told from the point of view of Ferelith, a young elfish looking girl who takes an uneasy interest in the lonely Rebecca. Ferelith is rather fixated upon Rebecca and you can't help but wonder whether she is in love with her. Yet the way she treats her, is strange and frightening. One evening with Ferelith and you would want to be put in a straitjacket. She really is scary or perhaps misunderstood.
The second part is written in diary format but in third person, so you view the story from Rebecca's viewpoint. This shows you how Rebecca deals with her sudden exile to the seaside and how she copes with the uneasy friendship that blossoms between Ferelith and herself.
The last part dates back to the 17th Century and is the diary of the local rector who lived in the house where Ferelith now resides. He talks about his involvement with the new arrival and the sinister turn their friendship takes.
This story is breathtaking. The characters are so well written and so believable, each conjuring up a past that shows exactly why they ended up in the situations they did.
No book has scared me this much, since The Little Stranger which I read last year. There was one part in it, where I made my husband stay up with me until I had finished it, because I was really quite scared and I couldn't work out which way the story would go. One of the later settings in the book has the most macabre feel towards it and you wonder how Rebecca didn't leave the book a gibbering wreck. It was darker than Du Maurier's Rebecca, much darker, but had that eerie quality to it. It isn't a horror book, but it is definitely creepy. The ending was a shock, but if I had really thought about it I should have seen it coming. Sedgwick really is a master of disguise when it comes to setting up clues. They were there, I just didn't see them.
The book takes a deep dark exploration into the existence of God and you cannot help but feel that the characters carry out an experimental if not macabre investigation. I dare you to follow their investigation to find the truth.