This book, another shortlisted for the Carnegie medal this year, endeared itself to me in many ways. One of the foremost among these is that it took pretty much exactly the same time to read as the train took to get me from my home town to London. If you happen to live approximately 1.5 hours away from London on the train, this may be of interest to you. If not, perhaps there are other chunks of 1.5 hours in your life that might benefit from being whiled away whilst you read a rather fantastic book.
Sedgwick was shortlisted for the Carnegie a couple of years ago with White Crow. I really wanted to like White Crow since, according to the blurb, it was something I should have liked. However, although I liked the idea of it, it felt like a short story which had been stretched to become a novel, and I found myself reading it just so I could get to the end and find out what was going to happen, rather than because I was actually enjoying it.
For me, Midwinterblood is a much better novel than White Crow. It works as seven short stories in one, and they are all interlinked in a clever way, which only becomes totally clear at the end. There are enough clues to keep the reader interested, the characters are well enough drawn that you actually care what happens to them, and the plot keeps up a good pace.
Good for age 11+ for those with a strong sense of narrative and good memory for names, as there is rather a lot of overlap between stories, and you need to hold lots of threads in your mind at once. Would be a good one to read aloud for weaker readers, but not for young kids as there is plenty of death, and some (admittedly folklore/fairytale-esque) blood and gore.