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Customer Review

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary and Impressive, 2 Dec. 2005
This review is from: Bloodtide (Puffin Teenage Books) (Paperback)
I've not previously read Melvin Burgess - I don't really know why. I've certainly read a lot about him and admire a children's writer who puts so many difficult and gritty issues into the headlines. Perhaps I didn't read him before because I was worried that he would be too issue-driven. Any way, finally, I've read one of his titles....
Bloodtide is utterly terrifyingly addictively readable and not a little shocking. I take my hat off repeatedly but also am somewhat mazed by the idea that any writer (even one as unflinching as Burgess clearly is) should think of the bloody and despoiling Icelandic sagas and find in them the inspiration for a children's book. Well - Burgess did and more power to him - as it springboards him into the most breathtaking showpiece. Bloodtide pecks vulture-like at almost every element of human emotion and gnaws wolf-hound style at the moral dimensions thrown onto the book's exceptionally violent battle ground. As you'd expect of a post-apocalyptic saga blood lust, ambition, greed, lies lay much of humanity to waste. A certain frisson is added by a bit of matricide here, some incest there, cloning, genetic engineering, oh you name it - but also some ill-fated trust and love.
Burgess plays with his characters - some mutant by dint of scientific tinkering, others mutated by simple human inhumanity - in an appropriately god-like fashion. And he plays his readers expertly too.
In short: I was gripped, sickened and exhilerated by bloodtide and think Burgess to be one of the most impressive writers I've encountered this year. I am positively jealous of his skill.
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