Books Magazine

Review: “In The Shadow of Blackbirds” by Cat Winters

By Appraisingpages @appraisjngpages

This is one of the two books that’s being featured in our Ghost Week Giveaway, and it’s SIGNED!  What a gracious gift from author, Cat Winters.

This is a book I bought purely based on two things: the cover and the synopsis on the book jacket.  I had never heard of the book or the author before I picked it up, so I guess whoever is in charge of marketing this one gets a two-thumbs-up because I paid for it with no questions asked!

But can you really blame me based on this gorgeous cover?

BlackbirdsCoverFinalAnd a synopsis like this from its Goodreads page?

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.

You can also see the book trailer:

I mentioned this book in my Top 10 Tuesday: Books on my Fall TBR list and I’m glad I finally got to move it to my currently-reading shelf.  I think second to only books about serial killers, books about ghosts scare me the most and this book had it all: mystery, poltergeists, unexplained voices, and seances.  I really liked the setting of this book as I don’t think I read very many books in the early 1900s, World War II is a pretty common area to write in and I’ve read a lot of 18th century Steampunk, so specifically WWI was something different for me.  Many of the details of the setting of this book including the influenza outbreak and the Great War are very factually based, there’s a great section in the back of the book for historical references that I really want to check out.

As for the scare factor, I think this book definitely had it.  If you like to be scared, I would recommend reading this at night because the creepy ghostly visions would definitely keep you up.  I made the mistake of reading this during broad daylight and I wish I had stayed up on a late night while everyone was asleep because I like being scared :)  I wish I could talk more about the freaky elements of the book but I feel especially sensitive about spoilers here because    is there anything worse than someone warning you about a really good scare before it happens?  I realize this is making my review pretty non-descriptive but I can’t help it, it should attest to how scary I thought the book was that I don’t want to ruin it for anyone else.

I really liked Mary Shelley Black as a character.  I thought she was smart and rational, not swept up in her emotions especially with so much death around her.  Here is one of my favorite passages:

Review: “In The Shadow of Blackbirds” by Cat Winters

“I know the world seems terrifying right now and the future seems bleak. Just remember human beings have always managed to find the greatest strength within themselves during the darkest hours. When faced with the worst horrors the world has to offer, a person either cracks and succumbs to the ugliness, or they salvage the inner core of who they are and fight to right wrongs.”

Seriously, does it get any better than that?  I love it.

I did think the conversations in the novel were a little shaky.  They didn’t feel natural, even taking into account that it was from a different era.  I thought they were kind of stunted and didn’t have a relaxed beginning and end, but I saw online that this was her first novel and so I think this is something that will come with time as Winters writes more and more.

I still really enjoyed this novel and would recommend it to someone who is looking for a spooky read for the Halloween season or for any time.  Especially if the idea of ghosts or seances freaks you out, pick this one up because the pages fly by!

Don’t forget to enter our giveaway to win your very own copy!  What scares you the most?  Have you ever been in a haunted house?

You May Also Enjoy:

  • Author Interview with Cat Winters, author of “In the Shadow of Blackbirds”Author Interview with Cat Winters, author of “In the Shadow of Blackbirds”
  • Announcing Ghost WeekAnnouncing Ghost Week
  • Etsy Shops Feature: Excellent Steampunk Creations (Coupon Codes Inside!)Etsy Shops Feature: Excellent Steampunk Creations (Coupon Codes Inside!)
  • Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare BlakeReview: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
  • Review: “Star Cursed” (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #2) by Jessica SpotswoodReview: “Star Cursed” (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #2) by Jessica Spotswood
  • Top 10 Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR ListTop 10 Tuesday: Books On My Fall TBR List
  • The Winner of our Zombie Giveaway & Wrap-Up!The Winner of our Zombie Giveaway & Wrap-Up!
  • Book to Movie Review: Amityville HorrorBook to Movie Review: Amityville Horror

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

Paperblog Hot Topics