Saturday 27 June 2009

Review - Bloodflower / Christine Hinwood

Summary - Vivid, compassionate and totally absorbing,Bloodflower follows the fortunes of young Cam Attling and all those whose fates entwine with his.

Cam has a hunger, an always-hunger; it drives him from home, to war, from north to south. When he returns from war alone - all his fellow soldiers slain - suspicion swirls around him. He's damaged in body and soul, yet he rides a fine horse and speaks well of his foes. What has he witnessed? Where does his true allegiance lie? How will life unfold for his little sister, his closest friend, his betrothed, his community, and even the enemy Lord who maimed him?

Review - Bloodflower ... is difficult to put into words. It's a beautiful read, full of complexity, meaningful themes and natural character development. Set in a country recovering from war, turmoil and grief still aplenty with citizens displaced and a new ruler on the throne. Cam returns to his family psychologically and physically scarred from his wartime adventures and the town of Kayforl is wracked with tall tales of his supposed betrayal.

There are many characters, including Cam, that are interwoven throughout this novel in a series of vignettes. Initially this is a concept that easily confuses, the combination of a Middle Ages-derived setting with a plethora of people and places, can muddle the brain. Slowly and surely, the tales of these characters, from across the country, start unravelling, their connections breaking and reforming with others. Hinwood has created a truly absorbing read that has the power to move and entrance the reader.

The characters are easy to invest in with their distinct voices, perspectives and cultural rhythms. Expertly crafted, these well rounded, complex and driven individuals bounce off one another in intriguing ways. Whilst Cam is the sun in which the other characters revolve, it is his betrothed, Graceful, that entrapped me. She's an unbecoming and particularly dour character for a majority of the novel, however there is something so relatable about her stubborness that I found myself very invested in her future. Hinwood's characterisation is top notch and slightly reminiscent of fellow Australian author (and endorser) Melina Marchetta.

Bloodflower is intriguing, perplexing and emotionally rich. Hinwood has debuted with a quality work that explores the strength of the human spirit, the tenuousness of relationships and the lengths in which we strive for connection. A distinct voice with beautiful language and rich characters, Bloodflower is a fantastic fantastical read.

Published: June 2009
Format: Paperback, 324 pages
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
Origin: Australia


prophecygirl said...

You make this sounds very good, and I'm loving the cover. Thanks for the review!

Mari - Escape In A Book said...

Thanks for the great review! This book is definitively going on my WL.