The Book of Dead Days – Marcus Sedgwick

Synopsis From Goodreads.
THE DAYS BETWEEN Christmas and New Year’s Eve are dead days, when spirits roam and magic shifts restlessly just beneath the surface of our lives. A magician called Valerian must save his own life within those few days or pay the price for the pact he made with evil so many years ago. But alchemy and sorcery are no match against the demonic power pursuing him. Helping him is his servant, Boy, a child with no name and no past. The quick-witted orphan girl, Willow, is with them as they dig in death fields at midnight, and as they are swept into the sprawling blackness of a subterranean city on a journey from which there is no escape.

This review is probably going to be a bit lacking because I thought I was being clever by reading this book about the days in between Christmas and New Year in the days between Christmas and New Year.
But well… I wasn’t.
Thanks to eating, drinking, generally being merry and trying to decide how it was possible for Robert Sheehan to still look fit as a Borrower, I read about a chapter a day.
So unfortunatley I didn’t get into this book as well as I thought I would and I don’t really have many notes on it.
But let’s see what I can come up with, shall we?

“This interlude was a strange and quiet time, a time somehow outside the rest of the year, outside time itself. It was as if the rest of the year were alive, but these days were dead.”

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
Eh… the ending was a bit of an anti-climax.

High Points.
The setting. In my mind The City was Edinburgh and I love Edinburgh. It’s my second favourite UK city. I just love everything about it; the castle, the history, the cobbles, the cafes, the culture.
Also it has a Camera Obscura like in this book.
Coincidence? I think not.
And the bit where Boy and Co were in the underground city really reminded me of Mary King’s Close.
And I pictured the part in the graveyard as the Covenanters’ Prison in Greyfriars!
Sigh. I need to go back to Edinburgh soon.
Anyway….Boy. Willow. Vaudeville. Theatre. Magicians. Fairyland. Baby dragons. Electricity. Camera Osbcura. Fate. Midnight. Tombstones. Grave robbers. Underground canals.

Low Points.
That ending really fell flat. After about 200 pages of fantastic build-up, the finale ended up being one page. It was far too sudden for my liking and, to be honest, it didn’t really make sense to me.
Also I wanted to know more about these baby dragons….and the Phantom that is mentioned once who EATS PEOPLE.

Hey Boy, guess what? We have the same birthday. Well kind of because you don’t really have a birthday but I was born on the same day that you fell in the church. That makes us special and friends who go on adventures.
Willow can come too because she’s a little sweetheart.

I’m being quiet about t’other characters because of spoilers.

But about these dragons…

Theme Tune.

Happy New Year by Camera Obscura
OK so this song has nothing to do with this book.

BUT… it’s called Happy New Year. Y’know?
Also, Camera Obscura are from Glasgow which is in Scotland and so is….. Edinburgh!
OK, I admit I drew a blank with a song for this book but I love this song so whatever.

Recommended For.
People who have ever thought there was something a bit off about the days in between Christmas and New Year. People who always wish their school had taught them Latin. People who believe in magic. People who have ever wondered what it would be like to explore under the cobbled streets. People who have ever picked up an unsuspecting person off the Royal Mile at the Camera Obscura and felt oddly powerful (Extra points if it’s the guy who is dressed as William Wallace!). People who have posed awkwardly with the Greyfriars Bobby statue. People who got the rat thrown at them in the dark when they visited Mary King’s Close. That’s happened to me twice now. I’m sure they see me coming…

2 thoughts on “The Book of Dead Days – Marcus Sedgwick

  1. Spiller!!!! Lol :D I enjoyed that actually, although Daniel Newman as Spiller in the BBC series still wins – I had such a crush on him. Of course – I've outgrown it now… *ahem*.

    Umm what did you read again lol? I got distracted….

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