Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black lives up to her striking name—she’s a curious girl fascinated by science, living in , “a year the devil. Read Common Sense Media’s In the Shadow of Blackbirds review, age rating, and First-time author Cat Winters successfully creates a creepy, gruesome. In , “a year the devil designed,” the U.S is engaged in a terrifying new type of warfare abroad while its citizens back home are ravaged by the Spanish flu.

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It was so compelling and she drew me in with all of these incredible story elements coming together, then kept me engaged right through to the very end. Is it any good?

We live in a world so horrifying, it frightens even the dead. This was a fabulous, and fresh ghost story that fans of cqt genre will enjoy.

At one point he refers to taking enough dope, likely an old-fashioned reference to opium, to stay calm while participating in an horrific crime.

Everyday life during World War I is realistically detailed, and readers get a feel for the ways people coped with the epidemic Spanish flu, the war’s impact on families and the nation, how photography was done, poetry, and more. For most part of the book, some part of me was waiting on the sideline for the moment when this book would swerve into ludicrous land. Cat Winters was immediately added on my “auto-buy” list upon finishing the last page. It actually reminds me a little bit of Sarah Waters’ superbly chilling Affinitythough with a more straightforward plot and less complexity of language–and minus the lesbian subtext, of course.

A lot of the imagery along the way is gruesome or gory, including one particularly creepy description of a ghost, a lot of dead bodies, graphic war injuries, and of course the blackbirds. Furthermore, and perhaps best of all, Mary is smart enough to realize that seeing the ghost of her first love is not a ticket to happily-ever-after like so many other winterx adult protagonists seem to think.


Such a place einters be real. Sent to live with her blacmbirds in San Diego, she briefly reunites with an old flame who almost immediately goes off to war. I really didn’t want the book to end. Oh yes, the photographs add to the atmosphere of the novel.

The love story is beautiful and unique, and never takes over the entire story. How Tech Is Changing Childhood. View the Study Pack. Read more from the Study Guide. Influenza is an airborne illness. I never would have guessed the ending. The blac,birds was beautiful. My heart ached for him, especially once I learned what really happened!

War is never like the history books portray it. Obviously I read a lot of books about both World Wars because literature is really act about them in France. Cat is not afraid to show us the real ugly truths. I felt the sweet young love between Mary Shelley and Stephen. They wanted to believe that their loved ones were doing well, and in heaven.

In The Shadow Of Blackbirds by Cat Winters – review | Children’s books | The Guardian

I thought this was fantastic – one of the best books I’ve read in a long while. Every sneeze or cough sets people on edge as it is viewed as a possible flu contamination. She jumps on a train that takes her to San Diego, to live with her deceased mother’s sister, her Aunt Eva. For me, the strength of Winters’s skill is shown most evidently in these scenes, both full of real-life horrors while simultaneously displaying an emotion of calm and palpable love.

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Mary Shelley has a scientific mind, and she does not believe in ghosts. Your neighbour who you were speaking to just yesterday might very well be dead today after being hit with a fever during the night. I read a digital ARC version. Spoilers are hidden under spoiler tags. The writing and story is incredible and there is a general atmosphere of gloom blackbirdx darkness, which begins right away with the introduction of train passengers that wear gauze masks, and there is “a whiff of something clammy and sour I took to be fear.


I really love Stephen’s character. This is a book that I won’t soon forget. The setting was really well-researched. I loved our main protagonist.

I loved that book very much. Never read this on your phone in the middle of the night with your lights turned off. There’s no need to protect me from anything.

Plain wooden boxes become blacjbirds coffins of the latest victims and they lie piled in the street, waiting to be carried away on the back of trucks. And oh, young love.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds Summary & Study Guide

Anyway, Mary Shelley Black is my kind of heroine. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate.

And The Not So Much: In the Shadow of Blackbirds is an incredibly atmospheric novel that captures the fear of fighting an invisible enemy at home while your loved ones fight the foreign threat across the globe. Since her mother died during child birth and her father has been deemed a traitor, Mary is alone in the world but for her aunt and childhood sweetheart, Stephan, who is now fighting ij the war.

View all 10 comments. I didn’t know that there was a flu so severe it took aways many lives, and simultaneously torn apart thousands, if not millions of family. She’s named for the author of Frankenstein and loves science, her passion being something she shares with her deceased mother.

Winters’ writing truly is remarkable. Looking back, I wonder why I didn’t see that coming.