This review will be about the first half of this omnibus, ‘My Swordhand is Singing’, which is the first book in ‘The Swordhand’ series, a vampire series set in Russia.
I received this book for my birthday and I have to say, I didn’t know anything about it before reading it apart from that it was a vampire book and it was really interesting going into the story with fresh eyes, not knowing too much about it at all. I have to say that even if I hadn’t received this as a gift, I would have probably picked this up at some point because the premise (the little bits that I knew) sounded amazing and the cover of this book is gorgeous! I don’t usually like photographic covers too much but just the atmosphere and colouring of this drew me in immediately (I’ll put the cover of the individual book below too so you know which one to look out for if you don’t want the omnibus edition). There are also little illustrations at the beginning of some of the chapters that hint at minor plot points which finished off the whole thing nicely and added another great aesthetic dimension to it.
I was drawn into this book straight away by the premise and the writing style. This book has many of the things that I like to read; mystery, action, fast-paced writing style, short chapters and illustrations. The action starts straight away and the mystery just builds up from the first page. With a simple yet elegant writing style this book emerges the reader in the world that Sedgwick creates and it reads more like a well-researched historical fiction than a young adult vampire novel, which it is classed as. It is quite suspenseful and slightly scary at points but I think that this type of book needs that well-formed atmosphere to be successful, so it was definitely a plus for me.
The vampires in this are not what I expected and are actually a lot like zombies, which I haven’t read much about. I liked this difference in the creatures as it made the horror a little more scary and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. I really liked Peter and Sofia as characters and think that their development was really well done.
Overall, ‘My Swordhand is Singing’ is probably one of the best vampire novels I have read so far, especially in the young adult genre. The writing was brilliant and the way it ended made me want to read the other one immediately after, although I won’t because I want to save it! For such a short book it was amazingly developed and really drew me into the world, never dragging or going slow, always keeping up the pace so I would definitely recommend this and am looking forward to reading more by Marcus Sedgwick in the future.