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Monday, 3 May 2010

Review - Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick

Publisher: Orion

Publication date: August 2009

Pages: 217

The recent Carnegie shortlist and a visit from Marcus at one of our libraries motivated me to read Revolver. I have recommended his books to young people in the past because of the quality and beauty of his writing. This book was no different.

Revolver is set in the harsh climate of the arctic circle. The main character Sig, his sister Anna, Stepmother Nadya and father Einar live in a hut on the other side of a lake, near a mining town. The setting is isolated and bleak, but the picture of the family relationships painted in contrast, is one of love and warmth. Both his mother and stepmother are religious and his father is fascinated by a revolver pistol he keeps in their food store.

You join Sig on the day his father passes away whilst travelling home across the precarious ice covered lake on his sledge. When his sister and stepmother go to break the news of his father's death in the town, a frightening stranger from his father's past arrives making demands and it is up to Sig to deal with a fatal situation once and for all.

As a reader you find yourself immersed in the cold, hard nature of life in the arctic. I immediately empathised with Sig the 14 year old boy who has lost his father, and struggles to come to terms with the loss. The story skips back and forwards smoothly to Sig's childhood memories of his father, scenes in his parent's earlier life and back to the present day with the frightening stranger. Throughout the book you desperately want to find out what happens next. Clues are provided, but I rarely managed to make a link between them and the outcome of the story. I finished the book in a couple of hours.

Needless to say the events shape Sig's journey into adulthood and have a real impact on his and his family's life. A dramatic, emotive and thrilling tale, which draws you in and transports you to another place and time. Brilliant!


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