9 Rated Books Book Reviews

Book Review: Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick

Title: Revolver

Author: Marcus Sedgwick

Genre: Thriller, Historical, Young Adult

Publisher: Orion Children’s Books / Square Fish
Publication date: July 16th 2009 / September 27, 2011
Paperback: 224 pages

1910. A cabin north of the Arctic Circle. Fifteen-year-old Sig Andersson is alone. Alone, except for the corpse of his father, who died earlier that day after falling through a weak spot on the ice-covered lake. His sister, Anna, and step-mother, Nadya, have gone to the local town for help. Then comes a knock at the door. It’s a man, the flash of a revolver’s butt at his hip, and a mean glare in his eyes. Sig has never seen him before but Wolff claims to have unfinished business with his father. As Sig gradually learns the awful truth about Wolff’s connection to his father, Sig finds his thoughts drawn to a certain box hidden on a shelf in the storeroom, in which lies his father’s prized possession – a revolver. When Anna returns alone, and Wolff begins to close in, Sigs choice is pulled into sharp focus. Should he use the gun, or not?< em>

Stand alone or series: Stand alone

How did I get this book: Bought

Why did I read this book: I’ve had this book on my radar for a long time because it has been nominated for bucket loads of awards. When I recently read and loved another book by this author (Midwinterblood), I went and bought this one as follow-up. I am glad I did.

Review:

It never gets old and it never ceases to fascinate me how reading can be a completely unpredictable act. How books are still able to surprise me even when I have the highest expectations. Take Revolver, for example. It has garnered the highest of praises (starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly to name only but two), nominations for many awards (including the Carnegie Medal) and this year it became a Printz Honor book. It comes as no surprise that I fully expected it to be good.

It’s 1910. In a small cabin situated north of the Arctic Circle, young Sig Andersson sits alongside his father’s frozen body, wondering how he could have died the way he did, falling through a weak-spot in the iced lake when he should have known better than that. He is waiting for his sister and stepmother to come back from the main town nearby with help, when there is a knock at the door. It is a stranger, a Gunther Wolff, who claims to have searched Sig’s father for years and who is convinced that the dead man stole his gold ten years ago. Despite Sig’s proclamations that there is no gold – as their poverty proves – Wolff will not leave until he has it, by any means necessary. Sig can only think of one way to protect himself- his father’s most prized possession, an old Colt revolver, hidden in the storeroom. If only he could get to it…and then his sister comes back and she is all alone.

Flashbacks set 11 years earlier are interspersed throughout. They fill us in about Sig’s parents’ lives in Nome, a small settlement of gold miners in Alaska where they hope to change their lot in life. His father Einar becomes an assay clerk for the mining company and this is how he meets Wolff, a local troublemaker. This is when tragedy strikes – where this story has truly begun.

There is an economy of language in Revolver that fits beautifully with this stark tale. There are no unnecessary lines as though more is a luxury this story cannot afford just like more cannot be afforded by Sig’s family. Their meagre existence in the wilderness of the Arctic is endured in the hopes of a better life one day. The setting is equally bleak: the barren landscape, the deep cold, the utter desolation and isolation of the extreme North are felt at every single turn of page. But for all of that, there is never a sense of desperation: Sig’s memories of his parents are a mixture of stern parenting and harsh love and the flashbacks describe a family who tries to do better, the only way they can. Some of these memories include Sig’s father’s love for the Colt and the beauty of its mechanics and Sig’s mother’s questioning of that very love – how can someone love a Gun, a thing that is meant to hurt others?

That economy of language coupled with the shortness of this book, create a first impression that Revolver is a simple, straightforward tale. Therein lies the brilliance of this story: that it is deceptively simple and the measure of its true complexity only becomes really clear when the story ends. There is no wasted moment in Revolver: the memory of the day long gone when a boy shoots a gun is as important as the small detail of a father’s oily hair. The storytelling is brilliant not only in that way but also how it combines past and present and how the characters are characters are utterly clever in a way that is never clearly announced to the reader. This story is therefore, a triumph of showing versus telling.

Last but not least there is the main theme of this story: the question of how one boy comes to age and how does he do that by being true to each of his parent’s truths – different as they are – and at the same time finding his own truth somewhere in between. This is a story about the harsh reality of the North, about gold mining and the terrible consequences of putting faith in passing dreams, about poverty and desperation and wanting to do better for one’s family, about obsession and thoughtless violence. But above all, it is a story about a young boy and the choice he has to make.

As I said before, I expected this book to be good. But I kinda hoped it would be awesome. It was.

Notable Quotes/ Parts: The opening lines:

“Even the dead tell stories.

Sig looked across the cabin to where his father lay, waiting for him to speak, but his father said nothing, because he was dead.”

Rating: 9 – Damn Near Perfect

Reading Next: Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver

Buy the Book:

Ebook available for kindle US, kindle UK, nook, google, apple, kobo and sony

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19 Comments

  • Celine
    November 15, 2011 at 6:16 am

    Wow! Must try this one!

  • Stephanie @ Read in a Single Sitting
    November 15, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Definitely a must-read. I have a few Sedgwick books on my shelves and really should get to them 🙂

  • sally
    November 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    I LOVE THIS BOOK!

  • Darren @ Bart's Bookshelf
    November 17, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Sedgwick is one of my favourite authors, and this one is probably my favourite!

  • Sarah
    November 22, 2011 at 10:59 am

    I listened to this one on audio and it was really, really good. Wolff was incredibly chilling in the narration.

  • Anonymous
    January 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    😆 8) 😕 🙄 :mrgreen: 😐 ➡ 💡 ❓ ❗ 😉 🙄 😈 👿 😥 😳 😛 😡 8) 😕 😯 😮 🙁 🙂 😀

  • Anonymous
    January 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    😆 8) 😕 🙄 :mrgreen: 😐 ➡ 💡 ❓ ❗ 😉 🙄 😈 👿 😥 😳 😛 😡 8) 😕 😯 😮 🙁 🙂 😀 the end.

  • Anonymous
    March 12, 2012 at 11:15 am

    :mrgreen: 😀 🙂 🙁 😮 😯 😆 👿 😥 😥 😥 😥 😥 😥 😥 😥 😥 😥 😥 😥 😥 😥 😥 😥 😥 😥 😥 😥 👿 👿 👿 👿 😈 😈 😈 😈 😈 😈 😈 😈 😈 :mrgreen: 😐 ➡ 💡 💡 😀 🙂 😮 😕 8) 😆 😆 😡 😛 😳 😳 😥 😥 😥 😥 😥 😥 😥 😳 😳 😳 😳 😳 😳 😳 😳 😳 😳 😳 😳 😳 😳 😥 👿 👿 👿 🙄 🙄 🙄 🙄 🙄 😛 😡 😆 😕 😯 😮 😮 😕 😡 😳 💡 😐 😐 😐

  • Book Review: Witch Hill by Marcus Sedgwick | The Book Smugglers
    March 13, 2012 at 5:15 am

    […] of premise or genre, I tend to enjoy his books enormously. Even when they are not as brilliant as Revolver or Midwinterblood, they are still quite […]

  • Anonymous
    April 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    😀 🙂 🙂 😮 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯

  • Anonymous
    July 1, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    8)

  • pooopsie
    August 15, 2012 at 10:51 am

    i hated this book, will never read it again and will never recommmend it to anyone

  • Anonymous
    October 12, 2012 at 9:10 am

    😀 🙂 🙁 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😯 😳 😳 😡 😈 😈 😈 😈 😈 😈 😈 😈 😈 😈 😈 😈 😉 ❗ ➡ 💡 :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: 😐 😐 😐 😐 😆 8) 8) 8) 8) 8) 8) 8)

  • ANonymous
    December 16, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    i hated this book it was one of the worst books and too slow.

  • maria
    August 19, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    I just wanted to say he was Not 15 he was 14 my sources the summary at the back of the book

  • Poppy
    April 24, 2014 at 10:00 am

    I really enjoyed this book – very dark, chilling and mysterious with original characters and a unique plot-line. I would definitely read it again. I am also enouraged to read more of this author’s work.

  • Anonymous
    December 9, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    this book sucked

  • Anonymous
    April 16, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    😮

  • Shit head
    September 17, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Terrible book I didn’t even finish it. ????????

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