Monday 17 January 2011

White Crow by Marcus Sedgwick

Pages - 265

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.


  1. Oh I'm so glad you read and loved this one! I did too and now I can't wait to read more of Marcus Sedgwick's books..

  2. Six more months until it comes out in the states... :D

  3. I was excited to see your review of this. I just recently finished reading My Swordhand is Singing which is the first one of his books I've ever read and I loved it. I want to read more of his work, just added this to the TBR list!

  4. Even the cover gives me the creeps!

  5. I think the cover screams dark and creepy so I'm glad to read the book lived up to this expectation.

  6. It certainly does sound dark and creepy; glad u enjoyed this one.

  7. I am with Amanda on that - six more months. (The petulant child in me is stomping her feet and shouting, BUT I WANT IT NOW!)

  8. This sounds so good! And if you made hubby stay up with you while you read, I'm definitely adding this to my wish list. I love a good creepy read.
    Great review!

  9. The book you twittered about,right? :) You sure got me interested in it

  10. Oh you have so peeked my interest in this. Sounds like a great story.

  11. I'm never one to resist a dare, and I *do* have a copy of this around here somewhere. I love how you've described it, especially the fact that it sounds genuinely scary.

  12. Clover - I can't wait too. I own quite a few of his books, so I will be dusting them down.

    Amanda - I am a tease, aren't I. Taunting you with this book. If I had it, I would send it to you.

    Mummazappa - I have that one too, so I will definitely be reading it soon.

    JoAnn - sorry about that. Didn't mean to scare anyone.

    Petty Witter - yes the cover is very dark, but I love it. Looks a bit like Edward Scissorhand.

    Diane - thank you.

    Christina - sorry!

    Naida - right up your street.

    Blodeuedd - definitely worth reading. Loved it.

    Kathy - it was great.

    Lauren - thanks for visiting my wee blog. I love a good scare. Hope you enjoy it too.

  13. This has been on my wishlist ever sice I saw it on the publishers page on FB. I think you just bumped it up a few places and if I don't get it for my birthday... I may have to buy my own pressie :P

  14. Now I want to read this and don't want to read this all at the same time. Might be a little too scary for the kid!

  15. You're making me very glad I recently picked up a bunch of Marcus Sedgwick books that were being discarded from the library!

  16. Wonderful review! This sounds very creepy and good. I especially like that part of it is in diary format - I do enjoy that a lot.

  17. This one sounds so good, Viv! Just like something I'd read. I also do that sometimes when the book blurb is already doing such a wonderful job (perfect!). When it's already so good, I just take the shortcut. :D


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