The Foreshadowing by Marcus Sedgwick #BookReview

foreshadowingTitle: The Foreshadowing
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Series: N/A
Format: Hardback, 305 pages
Publication Details: July 2005 by Orion
Genre(s): YA; Supernatural; Historical
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it. 

Goodreads 

bookdepo

 

It is 1915 and the First World War has only just begun.

17 year old Sasha is a well-to-do, sheltered-English girl. Just as her brother Thomas longs to be a doctor, she wants to nurse, yet girls of her class don’t do that kind of work. But as the war begins and the hospitals fill with young soldiers, she gets a chance to help. But working in the hospital confirms what Sasha has suspected–she can see when someone is going to die. Her premonitions show her the brutal horrors on the battlefields of the Somme, and the faces of the soldiers who will die. And one of them is her brother Thomas.

Pretending to be a real nurse, Sasha goes behind the front lines searching for Thomas, risking her own life as she races to find him, and somehow prevent his death.

Review

I read The Foreshadowing quite a while ago now (I’m really behind on non-ARC reviews), but it’s still quite vivid in my mind, such is the command of Marcus Sedgwick. 

I had this book sitting on my physical TBR shelf for ages, just waiting for the right time, and after a string of blahhhh reads I finally picked it up. And did Sedgwick let me down? No of course not, he rarely does!

The Foreshadowing is a harrowing tale of plucky Sasha who is gifted (or cursed) with premonitions of people’s deaths. Her parents and brothers don’t believe her, or more to the point – don’t want to believe her because her gift terrifies them, and in turn they make her life unnecessarily difficult and isolated, as well as perpetually plagued by these horrific visions. 

All Sasha wants to do is help people. She wants to be a nurse, but her father believes young ladies of her stature should marry, not work. But when the war begins, things start to change. Sasha convinces her father to let her volunteer at the hospital. It is here her premonitions really start to haunt her and it’s only a matter of time before she sees her brother’s death and realises that she’s the only one who can save him. 

This book was everything I’ve come to expect from Marcus Sedgwick. It is beautifully written, full of mystery and a sprinkle of magic, with characters so well developed you want to take a bullet for them. 

The Foreshadowing is a book you’ll get emotionally invested in with a protagonist who relentlessly tries to right the wrongs of war and oppression. 

unicorn rating 4

The Foreshadowing is available now in paperback, hardback and digital

Top Ten Tuesday: You gonna write it, I’m gonna buy it! #TTT

icon4-tttTop Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the image to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is: Top Ten Of Your Auto-buy Authors (no matter the genre or what it’s about…you’ll buy it from these authors!).

I actually don’t have that many auto-buy authors because I get books from so many different places – friends, Netgalley, etc. Even some of my favourite authors like Patrick Ness I don’t actually own many books by…terrible really!

Here are the few that I do count as Auto-buy authors…

Scarlett Thomas: I still haven’t got round to buying her latest novel, The Seed Collectors, though!

Marcus Sedgwick: I don’t own ALL of Sedgwick’s books, but I’m getting there!

Colin Bateman: I love both of his series, Mystery Man and the Dan Starkey novels. The only ones of his I haven’t tried yet are his kids books.

James Frey: I haven’t read any of the Pittacus Lore books, but I will buy any of Frey’s other books!

Marissa Meyer: OK so she’s only written the one series so far, but I love everything about her books and will now buy everything she writes.

Darren Shan: With the exception of his books aimed at the younger audience such as the Zom-B series, I’ll pretty much buy all of Shan’s books.

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I’ve Read the Most

icon4-tttTop Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the image to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is: The Top Ten Authors You’ve read the Most Books From.

If you’re experiencing dejá vu right now you can be forgiven. We did a similar list (Authors we OWN the most books by) last year, and because I’m lazy and would like to save some time I’m going to re-use that post – the answers are pretty much the same.

The only additions I would make is that I’ve read at least 3 more Bateman books listed, and maybe 4 more Stephen King ones but didn’t keep them. I would also add Alice Hoffman and Susan Hill to the list – I’ve read at least 5 each of theirs.

Here was my original post

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Ooooh I liked this one! There’s something really satisfying about having multiple books by the same author. I particularly enjoy my Derek Landy shelf because I have them all in hardback and they’re beautiful!

Firstly, here is my main bookshelf in all its glory. It’s actually quite tidy at the moment.

IMG_2208

 

1. Darren Shan (16)

  • The Saga of Darren Shan (12)
  • The City Trilogy (as D.B Shan (3))
  • Lady of the Shades

2. Derek Landy (10)

  • Skulduggery Pleasant (9)
  • The Maleficent Seven

IMG_2211

3. William Shakespeare (9)

  • Hamlet
  • Othello (2)
  • King Lear
  • Twelfth Night
  • The Tempest
  • The Complete works of… (2)
  • Tales from Shakespeare

4. C.S Lewis (8)

  • The Chronicles of Narnia (7)
  • That Hideous Strength

5. Scarlett Thomas (7)

  • Dead Clever
  • Bright Young Things
  • Going Out
  • PopCo
  • The End of Mr Y
  • Our Tragic Universe
  • Monkeys with Typewriters

6. Rachel Caine (7)

  • The Morganville Vampires (7)

 

7. R .L Stine (6)

  • Assorted Point Horror (6)

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= Philip Pullman (6)

  • His Dark Materials (3)
  • Sally Lockhart (2)
  • Clockwork 

=Stephenie Meyer (6)

  • Twilight (5)
  • The Host

8. Stephen King (5)

  • The Shining/Doctor Sleep (2)
  • Needful Things
  • Cujo
  • Under the Dome

9. James Frey (4)

  • A Million Little Pieces/ My Friend Leonard (2)
  • Bright Shiny Morning
  • The Final Testament of the Holy Bible

10. Bateman (4)

  • Mystery Man (4)

I could keep going with the 4’s for a while  but I won’t. I also felt like I should have included Alice Hoffman and Susan Hill because I’ve read so many books by them, but for one reason or another I haven’t kept them all.

I’m especially interested to see if everyone else’s owned and read books are as similar as mine. Do you keep most of the books you read? Feel free to leave a link to yours 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Why Aren’t We Friends Yet!?

icon4-ttt
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

The topic for this week is: Top ten authors you’d like to meet…

Hmm I kinda wish this topic hadn’t come up so soon after top ten favourite authors of all time as there’s quite a bit of cross-over here, but I’ll try and mix it up a bit. For that reason I’m going to do a few authors I have met as well as those I want to meet.

Authors I’d Like to Meet

Click on the author pictures to view their Goodreads page, and book titles link to reviews or related posts.

Scarlett Thomas
authors1I’d like to pick Scarlett’s brain about the MA in Creative Writing she teaches in Kent as I’ve been toying with the idea of doing it. I just haven’t had the money. But maybe one day…being taught by one of your favourite authors has to be worth it, right?
 

James Frey
authors4 I would love to find out what James Frey is really like, does he live up to his controversy? What were his real intentions behind Full Fathom Five? After exchanging a few emails with him (does that count as meeting?), I’m pretty sure he’s a good guy who’s been unlucky to gain such a bad reputation, but I’d still like to grill him. 😉
 

Kiera Cass
authors14
I’m mean seriously, who wouldn’t want to meet Kiera Cass?

I feel like we would BFFs, bonding over One Direction and just generally causing havoc together. It would be the best.
 

 

Derek Landy
authors9 I’d totally be all over going on a pub crawl with Derek Landy. It would be hilarious! I reckon he’d be a great drinking buddy….someone will probably tell me he doesn’t drink now and my dream will be shattered.
 

Patrick Ness
authors10 Patrick Ness is clearly a great human being. I think we’d get on famously.

I’d wait til we were firm friends then punch him for putting me through The Chaos Walking trilogy. But then we make up and watch some Buffy togther. Standard.
 

Sarah J. Maas
authors13
Speaking of Buffy, Sarah J. Maas is a huge Buffy fan apparently so I would love to talk Buffy and kick-ass leading ladies with her. She’d be a hoot, I’m sure.

Favourite Authors I’ve Met

Marcus Sedgwick
authors2 Love, love, love, love, love. I was lucky enough to meet and chat with Marcus Sedgwick at YALC last year, and he was just lovely. I’m sure he won’t mind me saying, but for some reason I thought he was gay and quite disappointed when he mentioned his wife (because y’know..fag hag queen over here), but I’m over it. He was also looking rather nice…damn that wife. Not really, I’m sure she’s lovely.
 

Holly Black
authors12
Holly was brilliant! I can’t even remember what we chatted about but we seemed on the same wave length. She is another one I’d love to go out drinking with. I think we’d make great friends. Where are you Holly, let’s go vampire hunting together?
 

S.J Watson
authors11
I met S.J Watson after a talk he did with Rachel Joyce at the Ham & High Literature Festival a few years ago. It was just after Before I go to Sleep was released and I hadn’t read at the time but he gave a great talk about writing from a female perspective. He was really sweet.

Looking forward to seeing who everyone else has chosen and why. Feel free to leave your link.

Blood Red, White Snow by Marcus Sedgwick

bloodredsnow
Title: Blood Red, Snow White
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Series: N/A
Edition: Paperback, 304 pages
Publication Details: July 6th 2007 by Orion Children’s Books
Genre(s): YA; Historical Fiction; Fairy-Tales
Disclosure? Nope, I borrowed it from Dora, thanks Dora!

Goodreads // Purchase


It is 1917, and the world is tearing itself to pieces in a dreadful war, but far to the east of the trenches, another battle is breaking out – the Russian Revolution has just begun…

Blood Red, Snow White captures the mood of this huge moment in history through the adventure of one man who was in the middle of it all; Arthur Ransome, a young British journalist who had first run away to Russia to collect fairy tales.

Review


Only Marcus Sedgwick could successfully write a spy-thriller-cum-fairy-tale-cum-love story written in the Russian Revolution. I mean seriously, I don’t know how he does it.

It’s no secret that I love Sedgwick. I’m currently trying to work my way through his books that I’ve missed and Blood Red, Snow White was at the top of my agenda.

The book is told in three parts, all of which are written beautifully yet different in styles. The first, is written as a fairy-tale and depicts the early days of the revolution, using a great bear as a metaphor for Russia.

The second, is based on the real life of Arthur Ransome, a writer who went to Russia to learn more about Russian fairy-tales but who ended up working as a journalist and getting unwittingly involved in the surrounding war, and seen as a potential spy. Here, the lyrical fairy-tale style of writing gives way to a more suspenseful spy-thriller.

In the final part, Ransome falls in love with Evgenia, Trotsky’s secretary, which presents all kinds of problems, not to mention his estranged wife and daughter at home. This part of the book raises more questions as to where Ransome’s allegiances lie. Should he choose the woman he loves, and turn his back on his own country? Or should he use his position to try and keep the peace?

I’m so glad I loved this book, because I was pretty dubious about how a book could be all of these things. But it is, and the way Sedgwick adapts his writing to the different parts is what makes it a success. I’m also glad because I don’t always find historical fiction that exciting, but mix in a fairy-tale and bam! So good!

I thought Blood Red, Snow White was such a clever book; using a relatively unknown historical figure who wrote fairy-tales, and turning his life into a fairy-tale itself is a genius idea, and Marcus Sedgwick pulls it off so well.

unicorn rating

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Authors!

icon4-ttt
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

The topic for this week is: Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Authors

Seriously guys, why are you doing this to us!!?? Choosing ten favourite authors is just mean! But after much deliberation, I have chosen my ten. I can not put them in order though. That’s just too hard.

Click on the author pictures to view their Goodreads page, and book titles link to reviews or related posts.

Scarlett Thomas:

authors1Scarlett Thomas has taught English Literature at the University of Kent since 2004, and has previously taught at Dartmouth Community College, South East Essex College and the University of East London. She reviews books for the Literary Review, the Independent on Sunday, and Scotland on Sunday. She has written seven novels, including The End of Mr. Y and PopCo.

Books Read: Bright Young Things; Going Out; Dead Clever; PopCo; The End of Mr Y; Our Tragic Universe

Marcus Sedgwick:

authors2Marcus Sedgwick was born in Kent, England. Marcus is a British author and illustrator as well as a musician. He is the author of several books, including Witch Hill and The Book of Dead Days, both of which were nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award.

Books Read: My Swordhand is Singing; White Crow; The Book of Dead Days; She is Not Invisible; Blood Red, Snow White; Dark Satanic Mills; The Ghosts of Heaven

Darren Shan

authors3Darren Shan (born July 2, 1972 in London, England) is the pen name of the Irish author Darren O’Shaughnessy, as well as the name of the protagonist of his book series The Saga of Darren Shan, also known as The Cirque Du Freak Series in the United States. He is the author of The Demonata series, as well as some stand-alone books, and a series of books for adults under the alternative name of D.B. Shan.

Books Read: The Saga of Darren Shan 1-12; The Birth of a Killer; The City Trilogy (Procession of the Dead, Hell’s Horizon, City of Snakes); Lady of the Shades; Zom-B

James Frey

authors4James Frey is the author of A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard. After battling with alcohol addiction and spending time in rehab, he wrote A Million Little Pieces which was published in 2003 in America and the following year in the UK to critical acclaim. He wrote the sequel, My Friend Leonard about life after rehab, which was published in 2005 in the US and the year after in the UK. He is also one of the authors that share the pseudonym Pittacus Lore, author of the Lorien Legacies.

Books Read: A Million Little Pieces; My Friend Leonard; Bright Shiny Morning; The Final Testament of the Holy Bible; Endgame

David Levithan

authors5David Levithan (born 1972) is an American children’s book editor and award-winning author. He published his first YA book, Boy Meets Boy, in 2003. Levithan is also the founding editor of PUSH, a Young Adult imprint of Scholastic Press.

Books Read: Will Grayson, Will Grayson; Hold Me Closer; Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist; Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares

Marissa Meyer

authors6Marissa Meyer lives in Tacoma, Washington, with her fiancé and two cats. In addition to her slight obsession with books and writing, she’s big on road-tripping, wine-tasting, and hunting for antiques. Meyer is represented by Jill Grinberg. CINDER, the first book in the Lunar Chronicles is a futuristic re-envisioning of Cinderella in which Cinder is a cyborg mechanic

Books Read: The Lunar Chronicles (Cinder; Scarlet; Cress)

Colin Bateman

authors7Colin Bateman was a journalist in Northern Ireland before becoming a full-time writer. His first novel, Divorcing Jack, won the Betty Trask Prize, and all his novels have been critically acclaimed. He wrote the screenplays for the feature films of Divorcing Jack, Crossmaheart and Wild About Harry. He lives in Northern Ireland with his family.

Books Read: Mystery Man (Mystery Man; The Day of the Jack Russell; Dr Yes; The Prisoner of Brenda); Dan Starkey (Divorcing Jack; Shooting Sean); Murphy’s Law; Empire State

Kurt Vonnegut

authors8Kurt Vonnegut, Junior was an American novelist, satirist, and most recently, graphic artist. He was recognized as New York State Author for 2001-2003.

He was born in Indianapolis, later the setting for many of his novels. He attended Cornell University from 1941 to 1943, where he wrote a column for the student newspaper, the Cornell Daily Sun. Vonnegut trained as a chemist and worked as a journalist before joining the U.S. Army and serving in World War II. His experiences as an advance scout in the Battle of the Bulge, and in particular his witnessing of the bombing of Dresden, Germany whilst a prisoner of war, would inform much of his work. This event would also form the core of his most famous work, Slaughterhouse-Five, the book which would make him a millionaire. This acerbic 200-page book is what most people mean when they describe a work as “Vonnegutian” in scope.

Books Read: Slaughterhouse-Five; Timequake; Breakfast of Champions

Derek Landy

authors9Derek Landy is an Irish writer and screenwriter. In addition to the bestselling children’s/YA series of Skulduggery Pleasant books, a supernatural mystery series starring Skulduggery Pleasant, a skeleton detective, and Valkyrie Cain, a young female magician, he has written two screenplays that have been made into films: the IFTA award winning “Dead Bodies” and the IFTA nominated “Boy Eats Girl”. Landy himself was nominated for an IFTA for Best Script.

Books Read: Skulduggery Pleasant 1-7; The Maleficent Seven

Patrick Ness

authors10Patrick Ness, an award-winning novelist, has written for England’s Radio 4 and Sunday Telegraph and is a literary critic for The Guardian. He has written many books, including the Chaos Walking Trilogy, The Crash of Hennington, Topics About Which I Know Nothing, and A Monster Calls.

He has won numerous awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Booktrust Teenage Prize, and the Costa Children’s Book Award. Born in Virginia, he currently lives in London.

Books Read: The Chaos Walking Trilogy (The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer; Monsters of Men); A Monster Calls

I’m pleasantly surprised how many British and Irish writers I have on my list, it was totally unintentional.

Looking forward to seeing who everyone else has chosen. Feel free to leave your link.

Lazy Saturday Review: The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

ghosts
Title: The Ghosts of Heaven
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Series: N/A
Edition: Hardcover, 424 pages
Publication Details: October 2nd 2014 by Orion Books
Genre(s): YA; SciFi
Disclosure? Nope, it was a gift!

Goodreads // Purchase

The spiral has existed as long as time has existed.

It’s there when a girl walks through the forest, the moist green air clinging to her skin. There centuries later in a pleasant greendale, hiding the treacherous waters of Golden Beck that take Anna, who they call a witch. There on the other side of the world as a mad poet watches the waves and knows the horrors the hide, and far into the future as Keir Bowman realises his destiny.

Each takes their next step in life. None will ever go back to the same place. And so, their journeys begin…

Review


You should all know by now that Marcus Sedgwick has become one of my favourite authors in recent years. His books seem to fall into two categories; dark and foreboding, or beautifully poignant, but they all have one thing in common – they are written wonderfully.

The Ghosts of Heaven is no exception, but… sigh, I was quite disappointed. I think my main issue was the format. It was hailed as a book in which the four parts of it can be read in any order and still make sense. I thought the idea was pretty cool and wondered how he’d managed it.

Well, in my opinion, it can be read in any order because this is a book of four completely different stories. I mean sure, I get the spiral thing, and see the tenuous links between each of the stories, but they are essentially four short stories with one common element. It kind of reminded me of some of David Mitchell’s books – all of which I didn’t enjoy.

That being said, I was completely enthralled by the futuristic part involving Keir Bowman who is scheduled to wake up on a spaceship every ten years, and is journeying to a new earth-like planet to inhabit. Only every time he wakes up, more of the crew are dead…

This one was definitely my favourite of the four, it was dark and twisted and reminded me why I love Sedgwick – he can write in every genre – so I’ll try not to dwell on my disappointment of this one. You can’t win them all, right? And anyway, the book is very pretty!

unicorn rating 3

Available to buy in both paperback and hardback, from Waterstones now.