Bloodflower - Christine Hinwood Although the average rating of 3.25 stars strongly indicated „Beware, this book is not for everyone”, I never would have guessed that I might be one of those unlucky specimen the book prefers not to talk to. My conviction (which even resulted in my ordering the book in spite of my friend Arlene’s offer to include me in her book tour) that Bloodflower and I would be very compatible had been sustained by several powerful factors:

A) The cover is so very beautiful – but in a different way than some suspicion arousing young adult covers that have no connection to plot or characters whatsoever: The richly patterend red cloth in the background and that strong, callused and sexily dirty arm encased in leather armor which clearly belongs to Cam, the young main character recently returned from a war, made me want to own exactly this edition and not the pastel-colored one by the other publisher.

B) Melina Marchetta, one of the authors whose work I adore and who does not throw around blurbs and praise and advertisment about all her peers’ or tour mates’ work like it has become the custom among young adult novelists, wrote "I can’t tell you how much I loved this novel. I cried through the whole last chapter from the sheer beauty of these characters and their world." which made me want to go on reading until the end so I could wring out my tear ducts in the same way that she did, since in my experience life-like and likable characters are the main ingredient in the majority of those books which made me love them. I wanted to love the book and the world and I even glimpsed the shadows of the characters’ ability to become endearing to the reader in the very first chapter. The first word which comes to mind when I think about Cam and his family and how they treat each other is “tenderness”. Cam’s small sister Pin, who usually does not allow her family members to cuddle and pet her, isn’t shy at all around her big brother whom she barely knows and who everybody keeps his or her difference from since he returned from the war without his right arm and without all the other men from the village. Her unconditional adoration and love is unspeakably cute. Yet. The point of view switches soon from the Attlings to Cam’s betrothed Graceling, the twelve-years old daughter of the ruthless Fenister family, and from there to a young boy whose dog is shot by a farmer and then to Cam’s best friend Ban, who is secretly in love with Cam or maybe only lusts after him and then to … I forgot, because it changed so often and so spontaneously. At first I hoped the story would lead me quickly back into Cam’s or Pin’s mind, but after a while I gradually lost interest and became rather bored, although

C) The subject of the book is such an important and interesting one: It shows in detail how war affects and changes both the soldiers who went out to fight and the families, who stayed and hoped and went on with their daily lives as well as possible: Cam has lost his arm and gained a war horse. His lower limb count lowers his worth on the marriage market and the long-standing betrothal is revoked. Nobody understands why he wants to avoid talking about the various ways the other villagers died during the six-years-long war. Thus when the pestering about Uncle X and Sweetheart Y remains unsuccessful, resentful suspicions make the round: How did Cam manage to stay alive when everybody else did not? Graceful had thought the only uncertain things about her future were the day of her death and the number of her children, but suddenly she does not even know anymore whom she will marry. Graceful’s greedy father uses the war and the new overlord’s taste for fine silk as an excuse to push his property’s boundaries into the woods, the home of a nomad tribe and the game they live on. Acton has become an war-orphan and his dog turns into a farmer’s nuisance whose nerves wear so thin that he finally pulls the trigger ...

I have stopped reading after 75 pages and I will never find out whether the end would have moved me to tears or not. But I do not really care. A story with characters as wonderful as Marchetta’s would never had failed to keep my attention. Therefore in my opinion “Bloodflower” must be lacking in aspects that do matter. But do not be disheartened. It might be just me and not the book. I am positive that Melina Marchetta’s falling in love with it happened on grounds that might work for others, too.

P.S.: I am giving away my copy. If you are interested, inform me via comment on this review or on my profile until October 8th 2011. I will let an internet program pick a winner randomly.