Bewildering Stories

Change the text color to: White | Purple | Dark Red | Red | Green | Cyan | Blue | Navy | Black
Change the background color to: White | Beige | Light Yellow | Light Grey | Aqua | Midnight Blue

Book Review:
Marcus Sedgewick, The Book Of Dead Days

by Jerry Wright

The Book Of Dead Days
Author: Marcus Sedgewick
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Hardcover: 288 Pages
ISBN: 0385730551
Price: $15.95

I've been getting some strange books lately, and The Book Of Dead Days certainly fits right in. The eponymous "dead days" are the days between Christmas and New Years, those days that in other cultures are the inter-calery days that adjust the 360 days of 30 day months to the 365 days it takes to circle the sun.

And this book takes place in that period of time... In a world much like our own, in a nameless European city in what seems to be the 17th century, an orphan named only "Boy" lives as the attendant, nay, slave, of a magician named Valerian. Valerian is a stage magician, and Boy helps him with his illusions, such as a man being cut in half. But there is one effect... "Off to Fairyland", that Boy just watches from the sidelines, and is the main drawing card for the whole show. Only now, during these Dead Days, Valerian is engaged in a frantic search for a book, a special book that will keep him from being carried off to... Faerie? Hell? Whatever. Valerian doesn't want to go.

So Valerian and Boy, as well as a young girl named Willow, search in the high and low places of the city, in dens of iniquity and graveyards and sewers for this special book. But what they find is not what they expect, and Boy finds a past and a destiny he never could have imagined.

Sedgewick writes in a very cinematic style, with chilling and melodramatic verve. People die. Madness runs rampant. But there is warmth and love amidst the cold and evil. This is a book for kids aged 9 to 90, and though it ends appropriately, the second book of this series will take us farther into the destiny of Boy and Willow.

Return to top

Home Page