Book Review: In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

It is 1918 and the world is at war with the Germans and the Spanish

        Amulet Books  Published April 2, 2013             387 Pages

Amulet Books
Published April 2, 2013
387 Pages

Influenza is killing everyone that was shipped in the draft. Mary Shelley Black, named after the author Mary Shelley, is sent to stay with her Aunt in San Diego, California while her father awaits a trial for his crimes regarding the war.

In San Diego, Mary watches as people go to spirit photographers in search of seeing their deceased loved ones one more time. Mary doesn’t believe in ghost even though she has a photograph with one. She doesn’t begin to believe until the ghost of the boy she loves shows in one of her photographs.

Unable to shake the fact that something is completely wrong, Mary begins to ask questions to find out what really happened to her beloved.

I couldn’t stand Mary. She was a brat and for most of the book she was rude to her Aunt. She wasn’t rude to her because she was living with her but she was rude because she was rude. Mary had an odd sense of entitlement and I really have no idea where that came from.

Despite Mary, the story itself was very creative and a really good read. There wasn’t much suspense in the book; danger wasn’t lurking at every corner. However, Winters made me want to keep reading not because I wanted to crap on the book but because I wanted to know what happened to Mary’s love. Is Mary crazy? Is Stephen still alive? The author left a lot of questions in a good way. Winters wrote the book so well that I am giving her a pass on Mary.

I also enjoyed the history in the book which includes photographs from that time period.  You don’t get too much regarding the war because yes it is what causes pretty much everything but the book is not about the war. It isn’t even completely about the flu going around  the point of this book is Mary lost the man that she loves but he cannot rest and she needs to know why.

The ending of the book was enjoyable and surprisingly enough not as predictable as I suspected. There was a big decision that needed to be made and Mary didn’t take it, which I thought was very interesting.

Overall the book gets 8 out of 10. If the story poorly written then it wouldn’t have gotten the grade that got.

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