Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

FFBC Blood Red Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick

Posted October 20, 2016 by Emily in Blog Tour, Review / 4 Comments

FFBC Blood Red Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick

FFBC Blood Red Snow White by Marcus SedgwickBlood Red Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick
Published by Roaring Brook Press on October 25th 2016
Genres: Historical, Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

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.

Told as three linked novellas, part one captures the days of revolution but retells the story as Russian Fairy Tale, with typical humour and unashamed brutality. Part two is a spy story, set over the course of one evening, as Ransome faces up to his biggest challenge, and part three is a love story, full of tragedy and hope, as every good Russian love story should be.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I was definitely expecting some sort of fairy tale retelling when I picked this one up. Right on the back, is says “Equal parts thriller, romance and fairy tale”. The title makes it easy to be mislead as well. Regardless of how much they want to sell this one as a fairy tale, it isn’t. That doesn’t make it bad. In fact, I quite enjoyed it. I just don’t think it should be described as a fairy tale in equal parts when it is very much only historical fiction.

Arthur Ransome, the main character of the book was a real person. He was a children’s author who became a correspondent for UK newspapers in Russia and later, a spy. The vast majority of the details in this book are true, which I loved. The fiction came in where the details of what actually happened isn’t clear. The author also took some slight poetic license where Arthur Ransome could have been included in a meeting but probably wasn’t.

I really liked this book because it made it obvious how little knowledge I have about Russia. The book covers the time during the Bolshevik Revolution. All I know about this time period in Russia’s history comes from the children’s movie, Anastasia. It really opened my eyes to how much interesting history knowledge I’m lacking. I loved how the interesting history was intertwined with the story. It was the perfect balance of nonfiction and just enough fiction to keep it interesting.


About the Author

marcus sedgwickMarcus 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. The most recent of these nominations rekindled a fascination with Poe that has borne fruit here in (in The Restless Dead, 2007) the form of “The Heart of Another” – inspired by Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Of his story, Sedgwick says, “This was one of those stories that I thought might be a novel originally but actually was much better suited to the tight form of the short story. I had the initial idea some years ago but was just waiting for the right ingredient to come along. Poe’s story, as well as his own fascination with technique, provided that final piece of the puzzle.”

He used to play for two bands namely playing the drums for Garrett and as the guitarist in an ABBA tribute group. He has published novels such as Floodland (winner of the Branford Boase Award in 2001) and The Dark Horse (shortlisted for The Guardian Children’s Book Award 2002).


Tour Schedule

October 17th

October 18th

Milky Way of Books – Review

October 19th

Bittersweet Enchantment – Guest Post

October 20th

Her Book Thoughts – Review

October 21st

Once Upon a Twilight – Promotional Post

October 22nd

Intellectual Recreation – Review + Favorite Quotes
The Alchemy of Ink – Review + Playlist

October 23rd

When Curiosity Killed the Cat – Review + Favorite Quotes



SST Review: Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith

Posted October 25, 2015 by Emily in Blog Tour, Review / 0 Comments

SST Review: Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith

SST Review: Dreamstrider by Lindsay SmithDreamstrider by Lindsay Smith
Published by Roaring Brook Press on October 6th 2015
Format: ebook
Source: Free for Review, Netgalley

A high-concept, fantastical espionage novel set in a world where dreams are the ultimate form of political intelligence.
Livia is a dreamstrider. She can inhabit a subject's body while they are sleeping and, for a short time, move around in their skin. She uses her talent to work as a spy for the Barstadt Empire. But her partner, Brandt, has lately become distant, and when Marez comes to join their team from a neighboring kingdom, he offers Livia the option of a life she had never dared to imagine. Livia knows of no other dreamstriders who have survived the pull of Nightmare. So only she understands the stakes when a plot against the Empire emerges that threatens to consume both the dreaming world and the waking one with misery and rage.
A richly conceived world full of political intrigue and fantastical dream sequences, at its heart Dreamstrider is about a girl who is struggling to live up to the potential before her.

I really enjoyed this book. When it comes to fantasy, I’m a sucker for a unique and interesting culture and this book has it in spades. I absolutely loved the religion! This world’s ‘God’ is called The Dreamer and he watches over them in their dreams. Dreams are sacred. In this book, it’s possible to travel to Oneiros, the dream world, when one is asleep. However only the sacred priests are allowed to do this. The Dreamer governs Oneiros and answers prayers, while the Nightmare is the dark side of this coin. Luckily the Nightmare was killed many years ago by the Dreamer. It is no longer is able to plague the people of Barstadt.

There are three main countries in this book, all at the brink of war with each other. I loved the different and distinct identities these countries had. Barstadt believes in the Dreamer and has a caste system. The elite caste lives above ground with every amenity while the tunnelers, the lowest of the low, live below ground, essentially as slaves, without even citizenship. Farthing is much more liberal. They believe that their citizens should be free to feel the whole range of emotions. Farthing is home of pirates and scoundrels. The final kingdom is the Land of the Iron Winds. The Land of the Iron Winds is much more militant than the other two with a Commandant instead of an Emperor who rules with an iron fist.

The entire story is based around political intrigue. It’s a little different than most because the spying is intertwined with the dreamstriding. Liv, and her ability, are integral to all of the plotting. This story really reminded me of the Kushiel’s Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey, which is also very much about spies, court manipulation, and pretending to be something that you are not. I loved the mystery of it all. Trying to figure out what people’s true motives were and who you can trust.

I was shocked when I got to the end and realized that this was a single story, not a series. That’s so rare these days. Especially because this book was so good. Everything is all wrapped up but there are so may things that I would love to know more about. Farthing for instance! I would love to a companion novel set there. I’m really hoping that this isn’t the end of this world after all.

About the Author

Author of YA historical thrillers SEKRET and SKANDAL and the forthcoming YA fantasy DREAMSTRIDER (all from Macmillan Children’s). Russophile, foreign affairs junkie, nerd.


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