Review: Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick

in a sentence or so: Sig is alone in his cabin. he's been left to deal with his dead father on the kitchen table, his missing sister and step-mother, and the big and brutish man who's come demanding something Sig can't deliver.

when Sig's dad didn't come home, they knew something was wrong. one glance at the small brown mass across the frozen lake covered in fresh snow told them all they needed to know. Sig's father had fallen through the ice, pulled himself out, and froze to death surrounded by work papers and loyal sled dogs.  after helping Sig carry the body home, his sister Anna and stepmother Nadya left to find help in the neighboring town. Sig's left alone with his father's body and before he can even figure out what to do next, there's a man at the door. a tall, broad, hairy, smelly, and demanding man named Gunther Wolff who wants to speak with Sig's father about some missing gold he's owed and he's not going anywhere until he gets it. the problem is, 16 year old Sig has no idea what he's talking about and no one to protect him.

the tension between Wolff and Sig builds as Sig continues to have unsatisfactory answers for Wolff. Sig doesn't know what to say about hidden gold, being on the run, or what Wolff expects him to do about it. but Wolff wants answers. and if Sig's dad isn't there to provide them, who will?

the current tension in 1910 between Sig and Wolff alternates with the background events in 1899 when Sig's dad and Wolff knew each other. we slowly piece together the puzzle of what Wolff wants. Sig is challenged by his conscience, staying true to his values, and trying to survive. it's a difficult balance to maintain. maybe even impossible.

i appreciated exploring some Big Questions through Sig's story.  knowing what his parents would want of him, what they would expect of him, but also trying to survive in an extreme circumstance provide some serious moral dilemmas. Sig often reflects on the faithfulness of his mother and her recital of the Bible in contrast with his father's instruction on how to use a colt revolver. Sig has a battle on two fronts - his one with the man in front of him holding him hostage in his own home, and the one within himself. between two parents. between peace and aggression.

this didn't feel as YA to me as i would have liked. more like an adult book using young characters. very reflective, which was nice for personal pondering...but no vernacular. i mean, surely a Finish teen from 1910 has some peculiar phrases. the conclusion does clear this up a bit - though i won't spoil it by sharing. still, i would have liked an authentic feeling teenage voice.

though i do see the connection between the title and the plot, Revolver was more of a mystery to me than a story on whether or not Sig should/could/would use the revolver with Wolff.  the scenery and setting were absolutely vivid. i can picture exactly what the cabin, the frozen lake, the tall trees thick with snow, and the hairy face of Gunther Wolff.  i can also sense the raw fear that Wolff brings with him. seriously, that is one scary dude.

Revolver gave me much to think about. i expect it will do the same for you.

fave quote: "'A gun is not a weapon,' Einar once said to Sig. 'It's an answer. It's an answer to the questions life throws at you when there's no one else to help.' Sig hadn't understood what he meant by that. Not then.'" (8)

fix er up: i would have LOVED to experience this read with a first person narrator voice. i think it could have added some serious depth and the unique voice i was craving.

title: Revolver
author: Marcus Sedgwick
genre: Historical Fiction, Survival
publisher: Roaring Book Press
buy the book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Borders 

[FTC notice: i received a copy of this book for review from the publisher, but not for compensation or anything.]

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.

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