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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "It's quite a horrible story. I love it."
WHITE CROW is a deliciously dark, gothic tale of obsession, good versus evil, friendship and love. The story centres around Winterfold Hall and a young girl called Rebecca. In the late 1700's, Winterfold Hall belonged to a man who became obsessed with following one line of knowledge; the knowledge of what happens to us after death. Now, hundreds of years later, Rebecca...
Published on 24 July 2010 by Brida

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2.0 out of 5 stars Slow Paced and Not Enough Substance
White Crow is a tough book to like. On paper it seems that this would have been an incredible read, whereas in reality, it struggles with pace. As a huge fan of Marcus Sedgwick I couldn't help but feel disappointed in the narratives. It was a book that tried to be something it isn't, and that's a thriller.

The three narratives that run alongside each other all...
Published 6 months ago by Dan Thompson, Author


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "It's quite a horrible story. I love it.", 24 July 2010
By 
Brida "izumi" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: White Crow (Hardcover)
WHITE CROW is a deliciously dark, gothic tale of obsession, good versus evil, friendship and love. The story centres around Winterfold Hall and a young girl called Rebecca. In the late 1700's, Winterfold Hall belonged to a man who became obsessed with following one line of knowledge; the knowledge of what happens to us after death. Now, hundreds of years later, Rebecca has moved into the small community of Winterfold for the summer holidays. And although more than two hundred years have passed, the story of Winterfold Hall is not quite finished yet.

That is all I want to say in relation to the plot. I do not want to spoil it for anyone reading this who then decides to read the book for themsleves. As one of the characters themselves say in the book, "It's quite a horrible story", but like them, "I love it".
Although this is a novel aimed at teens, adults would easily enjoy it too. I literally devoured it; within one afternoon I had finished it. Sedgwick grabbed hold and did not let go for one second. It is extremely dark - not just in relation to the story behind Winterfold, but also in regards to the other plot of Rebecca and the people around her; the secret of her dad, the history of the girl she befriends are just two exapmles of this. This had the effect of almost every page being tinged with a sense of unease. The two stories, and how they weave together, really come to life so much so that by the end you feel freaked out to say the least!

I cannot recommend this novel enough. For anyone who enjoys very dark, atmospheric books this really is up your street. And, a word of warning for those considering to buy this for younger readers; it is scary and there are things that you may not think appropriate for some, so you may want to look over it before passing it on.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars White crow by Marcus Sedgewick, 14 Mar. 2011
This review is from: White Crow (Hardcover)
White Crow
Described on the front cover as "a modern gothic thriller" White crow mostly takes place in the here and now, but part of the narrative comes from 1798 through the diary of the local vicar. The action takes place in the small village of Winterfold, on the east coast, which has long been losing land to the sea and which was once a thriving town. Over two thirds of the place has fallen into the ocean. Rebecca moves there for the summer with her father, who obviously has something to hide and is running from the past. She meets a strange girl called Ferelith who has always lived in Winterfold and shows Rebecca some of the more interesting aspects of the place and tells her much about the local history and superstitions. The written narrative is told from three different perspectives which are identified in the text by differing type faces. We, as readers, have Rebecca's story told in conventional print; we have Ferelith's story told in sans serif print; and finally we have the vicar's story from 1798 told in a gothic style print. Many of the buildings are the same as those in 1798: Winterfold Hall; the inn called The Angel and the Devil and the church. The title White crow comes from Ferelith's belief that the existence of a white crow proves the existence of the impossible. As in other novels by Marcus Sedgwick, this novel challenges young readers' linear concepts of time, but has a gripping and unexpected denouement. Not for the squeamish, but will appeal to readers of 12+ with a taste for horror and ghost stories.
Julie Parker
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark, rich and scary as a blood meal. Gothic horror meets 21st century teenage-angst. Beautiful stuff., 14 April 2014
By 
Andrew D Wright "Andrew W." (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: White Crow (Paperback)
Like most things; maturity, meetings, the cooking of the chicken in the oven for dinnger, I arrive late to Marcus Sedgwick's work. Book eleven into this man's dark-obsessed output and I'm starting to put this omission right. I listened to this on Audiobook where the triple layered narrative told from three points of view worked well. I would imagine if reading this you'd really need to keep your wits about you to keep track of what's going on and when you are. Intelligent stuff, never patronising it's YA audience and proof again that this genre brings out the very best and most challenging writing.

We find ourselves in Winterfold, a corrupted village, that is falling, quite literally, to the sea. This creates some great gothic horror moments, the crepuscular bloat of the graveyard spilling its rotted contents into the cleansing ocean just one of them. Once a thriving place, Winterfold's now a shadow of it's former self, a maiden de-flowered, a residence now running with rats. And to this collapsing edifice of Englishness comes 16 year old Rebecca and her father, a police detective with darkness in his past. They want to spend the summer away from the city where her father's mistake at work has led to him being harried and vilified by press and public alike. Rebecca's point of view is one of our three perspectives through the story, she's alone and lonely, having left behind her friends and boyfriend, who, it very quickly turns out, has moved on to pastures new. Rebecca is befriended by Ferelith (best and most unusual name award) a girl who could quite easily be a ghost she is so pale, white and deathly. She's not (although I did wonder if she was for a while), but she's tortured by her own personal demons, what happened to her mother being chief amongst them. Ferelith provides the second POV (point of view) for our narrative exploration of the darknesses folded deep into the creases of the human soul. Ferelith is fascinated by Rebecca, her love for her is obsessive and quickly turns dark.

In the shadow of the past, back when Winterfold was thriving, we find our final narrative thread. Interspersed through the story we follow the dark adventures of the local vicar from two hundred and fifty years earlier. Fascinated by the work of a scientist type who's just arrived in Winterfold from post-revolutionary France this allegedly reverent chap abandons any pretensions he is doing God's work, pursuing instead his own dark curiosities about what awaits us on the other side of death. The scientist type, a kind of Frankenstein mingled with Dr Jekyll, has created an infernal machine which delivers its unwitting victims to the hinterlands of death. Together, God's servant and the scientists begin to explore this hinterland, murdering people who are curious and stupid enough to take them up in the offer of being able to tell them whether they are going to go to heaven or hell.

This is a beautifully dark and rich novel, gothic, ghostly, frightening and genuinely bleak. Winterfold epitomises the fall to corruption of the characters; Ferelith, tortured by her past, the vicar from the seventeenth century taking his dark journey of curiosity into the realm of the spirits and Rebecca, lost and waif-like, vulnerable without ever seeming so. The narrative makes us the decider, the chooser of what to believe and what not too believe, it subtly dabbles with deep questions of darkness and death and what might be beyond the grave, never coming down on either side of this question. Ferelith is an incredibly potent character as is the village itself, Rebecca our personal avatar into a dark, weird and corrupting world. This felt a bit like an Edgar Allan Poe gothic novel re-imagined for the 21st century YA audience, there is the mechanical nature of the infernal machine and the deep questions of hell or heaven. But it is also a very modern novel about personal pain and how it twists our view and makes us more vulnerable to further corruption, taking us, like the scientist's infernal machine, down a rapid slippery slope into dark, dark places. And just like Winterfold's dilapidated church falling a grave at a time into the sea there's a point at which a return to the light, to solid ground, no longer becomes possible and we can only cling on to the vestiges of what we once were, forever shadowed by what has happened to us. Tragic Ferelith is that, as is Winterfold and the vicar from the past, only Rebecca offers us a way out of the corruption. Does she? Or is she pulled under too? You'll need to read it to find out...

Oh, and the White Crow, what's all that about? The narrative seeds for this story germinated around a quote from Henry James psychologist brother, William according to an author's note on one edition. The quote runs; "If you wish to upset the law that all crows are black, you only need find one that is white." Ferelith makes a claim that she is the White Crow, the reverend dabbling in dark and blood is searching for the mystical creature too, the one proof of life after death and what awaits us.

Powerful stuff, highly recommended.

**** Four stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and scary friendship that will haunt you, 9 Nov. 2011
This review is from: White Crow (Paperback)
This is a real gripping tale about a new girl in a small town for the summer that has clearly had to leave her loved life in London behind to be with her father in a remote place that holds no interest for her. She soon mets a strange girl called Ferelith and to say she's strange is more than an understatement because she makes strange seem positively normal. She has an aura about her and a presence that makes you feel uneasy and reading her thoughts and point of view made me feel on edge; like she was about to do something I wouldn't like. The book is told in 3 parts mainly from the side of Rebecca as she has to adjust to life in the town, Ferelith as she befriends Rebecca and shows her the hidden gems where they both live and a tale from the town's past that holds importance over the lives of both girl's without any of them knowing it. It's a spilt tale that has you asking so many questions that you can't quite get to grips with if you've had any answers before you start asking more questions.

I thought this book was utterly fab and really enjoyed watching the two time threads slowly working together and it was like a building up of a huge tapestry as the past and present slowly came together to make you see what would be in the future. I found Ferelith to be so creepy at first and kept wondering if there was more than meets the eye when it came to her back story and the fact that she seemed to know so much weird stuff about the town. It was freaking me out a bit. I think i'm always waiting for the bad guy to jump out and say boo.

The only thing I wanted to see more of was the relationship between Rebecca and her dad because it's clear that there is a lot of back story there and the reason's why they left London and why their father/daughter bound is so fractured but you only catch glimpses. I think if the story had ended at a later stage in Rebecca's time in the town then we'd have seen more of her dad in her life but it sort of felt right the amount we did see. She was distant from him but craved to be close again so it made sense that he was there but not overly involved in her world because it was how she wanted it in a way.

Another fabulous book to add to the string of classic Marcus Sedgwick tales on my bookshelf.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Books to do before you die, 26 July 2010
This review is from: White Crow (Hardcover)
This book is incredible. You always get a refreshing inspirational take on things with Marcus and this dosent disappoint. Like previous story telling it comes via converging characters through multiple story lines. It will make you think,change,challenge and revalue your own views on right and wrong, life and death. Building superbly into a macabre and chilling game for the girls that makes you question the extent you ever really know someone. Awkward situations beautifully told in the case of Rebecca and her father that remind you of being there yourself once. Marcus Sedgwick writes like none of his contempories and stands alone in his originality. It is almost a crime to pigeonhole his work as its for everyone and you could easily miss out on a tale that will stay with you forever.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Slow Paced and Not Enough Substance, 17 Aug. 2014
This review is from: White Crow (Hardcover)
White Crow is a tough book to like. On paper it seems that this would have been an incredible read, whereas in reality, it struggles with pace. As a huge fan of Marcus Sedgwick I couldn't help but feel disappointed in the narratives. It was a book that tried to be something it isn't, and that's a thriller.

The three narratives that run alongside each other all differ in style. Rebecca, the protagonist is troubled by the forced move to Winterfold; her dad a shamed policeman whose decision caused the death of a young girl. In Winterfold she meets eccentric Ferelith, who is far from your normal teenage girl. As they grow closer to one another, their relationship is tested by Ferelith's constant questions of life.

Rebecca grated on me. I was really hoping that somewhere down the line Ferelith was going to give her a big slap. I found her totally unlikeable, having nothing to relate to her with. Ferelith on the other hand is unique, mysterious and full of character and it is a shame we don't get to discover too much into her past. It seems Sedgwick poses the questions, but never really answers them.

Where the book does succeed is in the eeriness of Winterfold. Especially as we discover (through the third narrative - from the POV of a man of the cloth) that back in the late 1700s, devilish things occurred in Winterfold, as the 'foreign doctor' has built a secret machine that help people discover who will come for them in their passing: an angel? Or the Devil?

I never really understood the change in style. Rebecca's narrative is told in third person present and Ferelith's first person past. I'm afraid to say that this book is very much style of substance, with just an ounce of mystery to it to keep you reading.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Full of Suspense!, 6 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: White Crow (Paperback)
I was incredibly lucky to win a bundle of signed books by Marcus Sedgwick. I'd read extracts of his work but I'd never read the books. I was very excited when they arrived. I started White Crow first as that was the one I was most looking forward too. The extract I read was incredible scary. For the first time I was nervous about reading a book. I don't read too many horror novels and from reviews I knew this was scary. It is full of suspense that makes your heart beat faster. It plays tricks on your mind and it is brilliant.

White Crow takes place in a small village called Winterfold. Rebecca and her father move to the village to get away from their past back in London. They only have each other and even Rebecca doesn't agree with this decision. For months they've been falling apart and now they barely speak. In the small boring town of Winterfold a legend is hidden in the ruins of The Hall. Rebecca meets the the weird Ferelith, a girl who has lived in Winterfold all her life. They become friends and together they uncover the terrifying secrets of the past.

White Crow is told from three different perspectives. We have Rebecca, the new girl in Winterfold. Ferelith, the creepy girl who has lived there all her life. Then we get journal extracts from a seventeenth century priest. The priest strays from the path of god and begins participating in some horrible experiments with a strange french doctor.

Rebecca was an interesting character. She had problems with her father and she was so alone. All of her old friends forgot about her and now she was in a new town all alone. We see her begin to question herself and even her father. So many things have gone wrong for them and she's not happy. She meets Ferelith a sharp intelligent girl, who questions life in very interesting ways. Together they have a weird friendship but they both seem to get something out of it. The priest and the Doctor have a weird relationship as well. I think it reflects the relationships of Ferelith and Rebecca but in a different time period.

This book was full of suspense but it wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. Although younger teens would find it slightly terrifying. White Crow was a great read that was very enjoyable. The writing was simple making it easy to read and enjoy. I've already started another Sedgwick book and I'm really enjoying it. This is a very interesting book that does make you question life and whats beyond. I really recommend it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars White Crow, 1 Aug. 2011
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This review is from: White Crow (Paperback)
Told from three different points of view, White Crow blends past and present in a chilling exploration of the possibility of an afterlife and heaven and hell. Firstly there's a third person narrative following Rebecca, who's been forced to move to the quiet seaside village of Winterfold. She's angry and lonely, having left all her friends and boyfriend behind, who seems to have immediately moved on and forgotten about her. Through this narrative we get to know the town of Winterfold, the eeriness and uncomfortable heat burning down on the town this summer. I thought the descriptions of the village, which is slowly being corroded by the sea, were fantastic and incredibly atmospheric. A slow tension builds from the very first page, with the sinister setting almost having a character of it's own. Then there's a first person narrative from Ferelith, a strange girl who befriends Rebecca. I loved how in these sections we get to know the ferelith that Rebecca is unaware off, which makes her all the more vulnerable. We don't know what exactly Ferelith is up to, but we do know she's not right and her odd behavior grows more concerning as the book moves on.

Finally we have the diary of an Eighteenth Century Rector, who in his fear of the afterlife and desperation to know if he faces heaven or hell is dragged into a gruesome experiment. I found these diary entries deliciously terrifying as they become more and more frenzied and sinister and was desperate to know how it was connected to the two girls. I have to admit to having my stomach turned at one gruesome point, and I'm pretty hard to shock! I actually fell asleep and dreamed about this book, so be warned-it could give you nightmares.

White Crow is compulsive reading. Once you start you won't be able to stop. Both the intensity of the friendship between Rebecca and Ferelith, the increasingly shocking diary entries, creepy and atmospheric setting and unfolding mystery make this a one sitting book which will have you turning pages frantically. The ending left me a little confused to begin with, I had to reread it a couple of times to see if I missed anything, and then had to put the book down and think about it for a while. Coming up with my own answer I can see the ending is somewhat open to interpretation. One things for sure, when you close this book it will stay in your mind a long time after. I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves a dark, gothic horror and think it would be perfect for a heavy, thundery summer's day.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A gruesome and pleasing gothic tale, 10 Nov. 2013
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: White Crow (Paperback)
This is quite a gruesome tale of the obsession with what happens to us after we die.

This is the story of what happens in the village of Winterfold, once a prosperous market town, now a derelict, haunted place consisting of a tiny community waiting as their houses and home slide into the encroaching sea one at a time.

Rebecca comes to Winterfold with her dad, a troubled man who needs to escape from it all. Rebecca doesn't want to be there, doesn't really know where she wants to be, but knows that her whole life is sliding out of control. Then she meets Ferelith, a semi feral teenager, haunted by death and obsessed by sucking the damaged Rebecca into her dark and twisted passions.

The story splits and splits, third person narrative interspersed with Ferelith's views, or maybe they aren't always Ferelith's views, we are never quite sure, and the diary entries of a deranged priest, two hundred years dead, also obsessed by the question of life after death.

This is a haunting, oppressive tale, of fragmented view points, disjointed personalities and troubled minds.

It is beautifully written, and the doomed village and the relentless heat of a seemingly endless summer, all, carefully drawn by Sedgwick only add to the palpable air of menace and rising hysteria in the book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Freaky. Gothic. Weird. Awesome., 26 May 2011
This review is from: White Crow (Paperback)
White Crow was the creepiest book I've read in a long time. And I'm a hardened Stephen King fan!

It is very reminiscent of old school horror movies - very Hitchcock. It's all smoke and mirrors, misleading you, even when you feel it down to your bones, only to have the rug ripped out from under you.

White Crow takes place in a small village that is slowly being eaten away, dropping greats section of it directly into the sea. It's the kind of small village that you groan at in horror movies - the one where the car happens to break down, or the unfortunate characters get a lift to (think Leather Face's hometown). Though nothing is actually sinister with the village itself, key landmarks are enough to give the place a gothic, creepy feel. Together with the cloying heat of summer, the pages feel as though they are creeping up your hand and wrapping around your throat, choking the life right out of you.

told in split narrative, we get the story across a few centuries from three different voices. This book was incredibly well written. It was blunt and straight to the point, never holding anything back, not even for a moment.

This book is well suited for anyone who likes a bit of a spiked pulse while reading, a bit of mystery and ancient texts.
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White Crow
White Crow by Marcus Sedgwick (Hardcover - 1 July 2010)
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