Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black lives up to her striking name—she’s a curious girl fascinated by science, living in , “a year the devil. Read Common Sense Media’s In the Shadow of Blackbirds review, age rating, and First-time author Cat Winters successfully creates a creepy, gruesome. In , “a year the devil designed,” the U.S is engaged in a terrifying new type of warfare abroad while its citizens back home are ravaged by the Spanish flu.
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This engaging young adult mystery is filled with wonderful haunting old photos, unsettling visions of war by wounded and disturbed soldiers, and fear of being the next casualty of the Spanish Flu pandemic, but the scariest part of this ghostly tale is that “The only real monsters in the world are human beings.
Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Inthe 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. 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.
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IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS by Cat Winters | Kirkus Reviews
Lists with This Book. Jan 12, Emily May rated it it was amazing Shelves: The lovely Cat Winters joined us over at the blog to talk about the inspiration for this novel and writing about women in I thought this was fantastic – one of the witners books I’ve read in a long while. When I think ofI think of a world torn apart by war. When I think of death inFo picture a bleak image of The lovely Cat Winters joined us over at the blog to talk about the inspiration for this novel and writing about women in When I think of death inI picture a bleak image of those trenches filled with corpses, surrounded by rats and filth.
I did not, however, think of the Spanish influenza that infected million people and killed between 20 and 50 million of those – until now. Now, it’s pretty much all I can think about. In the Shadow of Blackbirds is an incredibly atmospheric novel that captures the fear of fighting an invisible enemy at home while your loved ones fight the foreign threat across the globe.
This is not a nice story. Plain wooden boxes become the coffins of the latest victims and they lie piled in the street, waiting to be carried away on the back of trucks. People cover their faces with masks and peer anxiously at those standing next to them, checking for the first signs of illness.
Your neighbour who you were speaking to just yesterday might very well be dead today after being hit with a fever during the night. Winters takes you back to this time of fear ot dread; and into this world she introduces a fantastic heroine and a supernatural mystery. Mary Shelley Black yes, named after the author is a budding scientist in a man’s world – the author manages to subtly weave a few gender equality struggles into the story without letting it overtake cst main plot focus “why can’t a girl be smart without it being explained away as a rare supernatural phenomenon?
Her father has been imprisoned as a traitor for refusing to fight in the war and she has been sent to live with her aunt a widow who is working in the shipyard while the men are absent. I love how Winters carefully shows the world at this delicate time down to the details of how women’s roles began to shift and change – it was an eye-opener for many to witness the fact that women were fully capable of performing the same jobs as men.
Mary Shelley’s childhood sweetheart – Stephen – is off fighting on the front line and she waits impatiently for his return. In the meantime, she sceptically poses for Stephen’s brother, Julius, who blackbords to be able to photograph spirits.
When the spirit stood next to Mary Shelley in her photograph turns out to be Stephen, her whole world is tipped upside down.
And it gets even crazier when he appears to her with a confused message Mary Shelley is determined to find out just what is so important that Stephen has become trapped between life and death on a mission to deliver the information to her.
The author guides Mary Shelley on a journey to meet mediums and hospitalised soldiers, there is not one second of this novel where I didn’t fully believe I was in amid the opium dens and new technology. I also loved the rather unique relationship between Mary Shelley and her aunt, the development of it had such a genuine feel.
They are two very different women but each are strong in their own ways and they support each other endlessly, even whilst simultaneously driving one another crazy at times.
For once, I am very sad that this book is a standalone because I would love to see more from the two of them – they make such a wonderful pair. But I can’t complain about anything in this, I honestly don’t have a single bad thing to say about it.
You should read this book. I also think this might appeal to those who thought The Diviners was a bit too View all 44 comments. Mar 21, Wendy Darling rated it really liked it Shelves: The author’s note at the end confirms her interest in that era, as well as in the epidemic of influenza that killed 50 million people worldwide towards the end of the first world war.
In the Shadow of the Blackbirds is certainly steeped in her research of both those eras, and the mash-up of time periods and genres work together beautifully, with historical drama, ghost story, and mystery all present in one immensely readable volume. What I liked best: Mary’s visits to the sick ward, where we gaze with unflinching eyes at the terrible toll that war takes on human life and liberty.
The desperate belief in futile home remedies, the doctor who is obsessed with measuring the weight of souls, and other immersive historical touches that were organic to the story. An unusual romance with an unexpectedly strong and sensual pull to it. Unforgettable secondary characters, particularly a weary young soldier who has seen too much.
A few hair-raising moments where the supernatural world meets the living. Its examination of how fear plays tricks with your mind, so you’re never really sure what’s real and what’s not. I did find Mary Shelley Black ‘s name to be a bit distracting, particularly since it is repeated in full so often, and I was more drawn to the second half of the story, which I felt was better plotted, a little less crazed view spoiler [I know, it’s sort of weird to say that, given what happens later–but between the back story explanations, the sudden flashbacks, Mary’s being struck by lightning, etc, there was a lot going on!
Mary herself is also a character who engaged more of my interest than my whole heart, though I grew to like her more as her world started unraveling. It actually reminds me a little bit of Sarah Waters’ superbly chilling Affinitythough with a more straightforward plot and less complexity of language–and minus the lesbian subtext, of course.
Still, this is a wonderfully unusual novel that I highly recommend to fans of Libba Bray’s The Diviners. I read it in a matter of hours, and count them an evening well-spent. An exceptional debut from an author to watch.
In The Shadow Of Blackbirds by Cat Winters – review
Whoever designed the cover art, illustrations, etc. View all 36 comments. What an original little gem: From page one I felt connected to every one of these characters, first of all Mary Shelley, a strong and clever heroine I instantly loved I wish there were more YA leads like her, blackbigds be honest. In my opinion Cat Winters perfectly nailed the characterizationmaking me care for characters even before meeting them: Before I knew What an original little gem: Before I knew it my heart was in my throat, my belly in knots, afraid to follow Mary on her journey.
But blwckbirds won me over was the unexpected quality of the plot especially because I didn’t read the blurb, which gives away too much in my opinion. More than once did I find myself clasping my hand over my mouth, widening my eyes and giggling out of surprise: Do you believe in ghosts?
Not that it stops them from creeping the hell out of me. See, my mum used to tell everyone that I channeled spirits because of that time when I told her that someone was dead without nobody knowing blackbrds yet.
As far as I’m concerned, it was only a sad and creepy coincidence, but my mother never really saw it that way, and it became the story every one of my friends religiously heard her recall over the years.
Since then I’ve been afraid of spirits, even knowing how irrational my fear is. All this because I once was a spoiled child who said something mean.
Payback is a bitch. That’s why I couldn’t shake off the impression that someone was watching me while I was reading, not to mention that the pictures freaked the hell out of me. Trust me, if someone told me that they could capture spirits’ soul in pictures, I would brush it off laughing and rolling my eyes, as Mary did. Yet some passages made my blood run cold, so much that I couldn’t breathe. Perhaps I’m a chicken. The line between right and wrong blurred into a haze.
I strongly believe that historical knowledge is needed to stop making the same mistakes again: Obviously I read a lot of books about both World Wars because literature is really prolific about them in France.
As we follow Mary’s story, we get to see how dark and dangerous this period was: Between the flu and the prevailing paranoia, Mary’s world is shredded into pieces. Mary’s father was taken into custody as a traitor because he proved himself to be against USA’s participation in that war. If my knowledge about the way US citizens dealt with WW1 is close to zero, here are some facts about the Great War I do know that I simplify some of them, but it is neither the place nor the time to write an History paper.
Yet this book, and the November 11th anniversary coming this week made me want to talk about it. There’s something to say about a book that makes you want to revisit your History.
In my opinion anyway. This poster, published in in France, chills the air around me so much it reminds me of those Mary sees everywhere: Look how good it act, you stupid.
Between andhundred, if not thousands French soldiers were sentenced to death by their hierarchy because they refused to carry on fighting. For those of you who speak French, I strongly recommend reading Paroles de Poilus: