Title: In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters
Genres: YA, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Mystery
Published by: Amulet Books (Apr. 2, 2013)
In 1918, the world seems on the verge of apocalypse. Americans roam the streets in gauze masks to ward off the deadly Spanish influenza, and the government ships young men to the front lines of a brutal war, creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion. Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black watches as desperate mourners flock to séances and spirit photographers for comfort, but she herself has never believed in ghosts. During her bleakest moment, however, she’s forced to rethink her entire way of looking at life and death, for her first love—a boy who died in battle—returns in spirit form. But what does he want from her?
Featuring haunting archival early-twentieth-century photographs, this is a tense, romantic story set in a past that is eerily like our own time
What I Thought
Wow. Okay, where to start? First, this book was fantastic! When I saw this book, I figured it would be like Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children; It had a mysterious cover, there were vintage pictures inside, and a spooky story line. Despite all that, It’s wasn’t. In the Shadow of Blackbirds is very much it’s own, intriguing, original story (Although, I think it will appeal to Miss Peregrine fans, like myself).
I don’t want to give anything away, but the story didn’t go at all where I thought it would, which I loved! The romance in this story is not like your average love story either. Mary Shelley is not all “Ohh I’m in love with my dead boyfriend! I’m going to go make out with a ghost boy!” Which is something I greatly appreciated, because when I picked up In the Shadow Blackbirds I wanted to read something intriguing and mysterious, not a paranormal romance, and I got exactly what I was looking for.
I also loved all the historical facts in this book. For example, to protect themselves from the flu, people would take drastic measures, such as eating onions constantly to even eating a sugar cube dipped in kerosene! My eyes were really opened to the severity of the Spanish Influenza, and this book made it possible for me to feel the pain and sadness it caused to so many people, on a more real level.
Also, the pictures were wonderful. They were featured at the beginning of some of the chapters and really helped show what it was like to be living in 1918.
Overall, this book is awesome. Go read it! I would recommend In the Shadow of Blackbirds to anyone looking for a unique and mysterious, historical read, as well as fans of Miss Peregrine’s.
Review originally written October 2013.