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I Belong

Review: Blood Red, Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick

blood-red-snow-whiteTitle: Blood Red, Snow White

Author: Marcus Sedgwick

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Series: N/A

Publication Date: October 25, 2016

Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages

ISBN-10: 1626725470 (Macmillan)

ISBN-13: 978-1626725478 (Macmillan)

Reviewed by: Zed


Set at the time of the Russian Revolution, the end of a centuries old dynasty, the rise of the Bolsheviks sent shockwaves around the world. This is the story of one man who was there. It’s real history – about the riches and excesses, the glory of the Russian nobility, Nicholas and Alexandra, their haemophiliac son, Alexei, notorious Rasputin, Lenin and Trotsky who ruled from palaces where the Czars had once danced till dawn. The man was real too, his name was Arthur Ransome. He was a writer, accused of being a spy, perhaps even a double agent, and he left his wife and beloved daughter and fell in love with Russia and a Russian woman, Evgenia.

Fictionalising history and blending it with real life, part i is told as a fairy tale. Wise and foolish kings, princesses, enchantresses (characters more suited to fairy tale than reality), wishes and magic, Russia with its vast cold plains and mighty cities, its riches and poverty, all play a part in the downfall of the Czars and rise of the new order. Part ii is about betrayal – Ransome the spy, bleak and threatening. Part iii is a love story, a fairy tale, ending – of Ransome’s love for his daughter, Tabitha, and for Evgenia.

Quick & Dirty: Russian fiction based on real history.

Opening Sentence: Beyond the sunrise, halfway to the moon, and so very far away it would make your feet weep to think about it, lies a land vast in size and deep in sadness.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Blood Red, Snow White started off great. It began like a fairytale told by a loving, wise grandfather. The writing in this part was captivating, pulling me into the story, imagining the ‘young man’ and his leather suitcase. I loved it. And then it’s handed over to the young boy and told from Arthur’s perspective. Worst mistake ever.

Even in a tale with a happy ending, there may be sadness on the way.

The Russian history is interesting enough but unfortunately not my kind of read. I kept wondering whether it was the same author who began this story or not! How can a book do a 180 from such enchantment? We learn about Arthur’s travels, how he’s engrossed in the war without meaning to. However, it was a very slow, draining read.

I was surprised to learn it is based on a true story and I used that as an excuse to explain away much of the bleakness.

The only part of this novel I enjoyed was learning about Russia. There was a lot of narration and Arthur’s love for it had me wondering what such a country is like.

If, like me, you are drawn in by the title then I apologise in advance as you will be sorely disappointed. There is nothing remotely similar to the dreamy fairytale I imagined.

Notable Scene:

Arthur came to the story and found himself a job and somewhere to live.
He also found himself in the middle of a story beyond anyone’s imagination.


FTC Advisory: Roaring Book Press/Macmillan provided me with a copy Blood Red, Snow White. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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