Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: White Crow by Marcus Sedgwick

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White Crow
Marcus Sedgwick
Genre: YA Horror
Publication date: September 18th 2012
by Square Fish (Macmillan)

You or your Alt? Only one will survive.

Some secrets are better left buried; some secrets are so frightening they might make angels weep and the devil crow.

Thought provoking as well as intensely scary, White Crow unfolds in three voices. There’s Rebecca, who has come to a small seaside village to spend the summer, and there’s Ferelith, who offers to show Rebecca the secrets of the town . . . but at a price. Finally, there’s a priest whose descent into darkness illuminates the girls’ frightening story. White Crow is as beautifully written as it is horrifically gripping.

-A copy was provided by Macmillan for review-

With its creepy cover and synopsis, I was sure White Crow would be the perfect read for my creepy loving taste. When creepy turned to odd, and by odd I mean barf-on-some-pages-and-call-it-a-book odd, I knew I was wrong. *sigh*

A very spooky setting, White Crow lands us inside an eerie little town that is being slowly decimated by the ocean. This town inhabits only a small population and a lot of run down or abandoned dwellings. I thought right then it was going to be a fantastically creepy novel, and for the most part it was. Talk of the devil, mysterious room with a bolted down chair and mysterious visitors who never leave? Yeah I’d say that’s pretty freaky. But the execution, holy mother of weird! Told in alternative point of views, we get a sinister history of one of these buildings from a past perspective. This perspective, however, immediately put my guard up when the voice of the character showed little appeal. Albeit part of it was due to it being set in such a long-ago time, and by long ago I mean the 1700s, making the language very hard to get into, but it was also due to the odd way those parts were told. They were mostly glimpses, full chapters that consisted of one paragraph, or even one single sentence, and these glimpses were truly weird, especially at first when you have no idea what’s supposed to be happening. They were random passages from the past involving thoughts of the devil and God. Thoughts that derived of a mad man making little to no sense, not even interesting in a cryptic way–some parts I had to reread and still couldn’t decipher what was happening. It was literally like gibberish. Even though at times it did give me the creeps, I didn’t fully get the hang of this part of the story until past halfway.

The other two perspectives were much more compelling and easier to read. We have Rebecca who is the main protagonist and the first character we’re introduced to. She’s an average girl who just moved to this unfortunate town where she meets out other perspective, Ferelith who is an especially strange person–in looks and in personality. While I did find their story actually fairly intriguing, especially Ferelith’s bizarre ways, there was something off from the whole writing style. The perspectives did not flow well together at all. Made worst by how Ferelith’s was in first person, and Rebecca’s in third. Although it can work sometimes, the alternating persons threw me off in his case, creating an unfortunate disassociation with them both. It was also so short that every perspective seemed to pass and shift in a blur, making it difficult to make sense of anything that was happening. On one side we have the past where we get ominous vague events thrown at us, on the other we get what basically feels like a story with no plot at all, just all this weird… weirdness. I quite honestly don’t know what the point behind the plot was. There were these random elements thrown into it as well, like her father being accused of a murder, or Ferelith’s foster home situation, these were spewed out and not explored in the slightest. It was all super odd!

In short, this book was just a big bucket of weird. I can’t even think of who I would recommend it to. I think it does have its niche of readers would enjoy it, it would definitely need to be readers who like very ambiguous stories, but then again, I’m a big fan of cryptic reads. *shrugs* At least it was short.

2 Espressos


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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31 Responses to “Review: White Crow by Marcus Sedgwick”

  1. Amy

    The style of the writing sounds very confusing. I do like multi POV’s but not when they don’t make sense or work well. I don’t know that I have ever read a dual POV that one is in first person and the other in third. I don’t think I would like that. That’s just weird. I had not heard of this book and it doesn’t really sound like anything I would like. Besides the creepiness it seems like this one just didn’t work.

  2. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    HA big bucket of weird! Love it. I think I could like this… the perspective from the 1700’s kind of scares me but it’s so short that it may not really matter LOL I am definitely curious about this one but happy that I will be starting this author with Midwinterblood and not this. I love when you’re the guinea pig!

  3. kimbacaffeinate

    Oh my, I had this on my wishlist, because like you I thought it was going to be some creepy goodness, and look at that cover. Is the voice from the past the killer? This just sounds weird, and your review has me stepping away slowly.

  4. Nick

    I’ve never heard of this book before, but it looks like a really creepy read from the cover. It’s really too bad that it was more weird than creepy. As for the alternate POVs, I completely agree when you say that sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. This one sounds confusing with one being in the 3rd and the other one being in the 1st. It would put me off too because of the lack of flow I guess.
    Thanks for the honest review, Giselle! 🙂

  5. Camille Picott

    I am not a fan of alternating POVs between first and third person. I’ve never come across a book that makes a compelling case to do it this way. Sorry you didn’t love this book!

  6. Candace

    Well this is one I wouldn’t have picked up anyway since I don’t do creepy (much) but I’m really sorry that it ended up being so disappointing!

  7. Christina

    Uh oh… I don’t really know what this (“by odd I mean barf-on-some-pages-and-call-it-a-book odd”) means, but I know that it’s something I want ZERO part in. So sad that this one’s such a stinker when Midwinterblood has been getting those five star reviews left and right!

    Yikes, he did not make great use of the multiple POVs. That is unfortunate. Only do those if you can do them well. This is my advice to writers.

  8. Sam

    This sounds a little insane, and I almost want to give it a try just to see what it’s like. 😛 The storytelling will most likely confuse me though. I’m trying to picture it from your review and doubt it would be something that would actually work for me. This author’s books sure do get very mixed reviews! I hope your next read will be better, lovely! 🙂

  9. Renae M.

    Aw, I’m so sorry that you didn’t like this one, Giselle! As you know, this was 5 stars for me. I guess I’m weird enough that this works for me? 😉 To be fair, though, I was really engaged in the priest’s historical perpective, more so than you. And that probably made all the difference. Love how you express your thoughts in this!

  10. Melissa (Books and Things)

    Normally I like a big bucket of weird and creepy. However, I’ve had books like this that just didn’t seem to have some root in reality to grasp and actually make the creepy stuff even creepier. It sounds like you needed that pivot point to sort things out. Too bad, it sounded like the book had such great potential.

  11. Jesse Burgoyne

    It sounds like the only way to describe this one is weird. Lol! I like creepy, but I like my creepy to make sense, even if it only makes sense after I finish the book. I’m sure there’s someone out there who will fall in love with this one though. Great review!

    Jesse @ Pretty In Fiction

  12. Annabelle Marie Veronica

    Oh I was looking forward to this one because it sounded so awesome and creepy! But it’s a shame it ended up being really weird. I also have a problem getting into old-fashioned language. At least you’ve saved me from reading it! And as always, stellar review muffin!

  13. Megan R

    Hmm, this one just sounds bizarre. I read Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick last week and I can agree that his writing style isn’t for everyone (although this one sounds MUCH weirder than Midwinterblood). I enjoyed Midwinterblood in the end, but I think I’ll pass on this one.

  14. Danny

    Hehe!!! So it was weird “weird” right? Truly when I saw the synopsis I really thought you’d love this one, sounded like the perfect read for you.. To bad you didn’t like it :((

  15. Lauren

    Oh no, sorry you didn’t enjoy this one! I’ve been wanting to read it for a long time, but I think I’ll check out Midwinterblood first. Though I have been known to occasionally like weird books. I’m intrigued now. I’ll probably give at least the first chapter a try at some point to see if it’s a hit with me. Fantastic review, thanks for your honesty and thoughtfulness!

  16. Alexa Y.

    The cover and the title sound creepy indeed, so I’m sorry that it ended up being weird for the most part. I’ve read one other book by this author (Midwinterblood) which I liked, but I think I’ll steer clear of this one for the moment.

  17. Marthe


    I dont understand why the book is called White Crow..
    Can anyone explain the titel to me?

    Thank you