01 November 2010

Book of the Week (79): "White Crow" by Marcus Sedgwick

Halloween has been and gone, but it is never too late for a creepy read, and White Crow is one of the creepiest I've read for quite a while. With the success of Twilight many authors tried on the Gothic mode, but most of them simply copy the ‘new girl in town falls for sexy supernatural boy’ formula. Sedgwick has a different, more sophisticated, take on this popular genre as the ‘love story’ is between two girls, city girl Rebecca, forced into rural exile, and the haunting, enigmatic Ferelith. This is not a romantic relationship, however, but rather a mind game between manipulator and victim in which the roles subtly progress and shift. Rebecca and Ferelith's story is set in a dormant cliff-top village which is gradually being eaten away by the sea, and is intertwined with journal entries written by a local priest in the 18th century. Slowly, the two narratives move towards each other, united by the common theme of an eternal question – is there life after death? The quest for an answer leads to truly terrifying places. White Crow is a well written, disturbing horror thriller with more psychological depth than what is usually on offer in this genre, which only adds to its creepy factor. Not to be read at bedtime.

Recommended by Noga Applebaum