Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick

I was looking forward to reading this book, after all it promised to be a ”psychological  thriller” and there were reviews claiming it to be to be ‘awesome’ (“I kinda hoped it would be awesome. It was.” from the book smugglers website) so when I put the book down, I was thoroughly disappointed.


Revolver is set in the late 19th century, or early 20th, in Nome or the Arctic Circle. One day in 1910, Sig, a teenager, finds his father next to a hole in the ice. Puzzled, for his father knew better then to trek across this patch of ice, Sig hauled his frozen body home.  Now he is alone, is father’s body on the kitchen table, waiting for his sister and stepmother to return from a nearby town, with help.

Then there was a knock at the door. A man was waiting.Gunther Wolff. And to Sig’s horror, he was armed with a Colt revolver. Sig was starting to panic, and then his sister comes back. With no help, no one to help the siblings or save them from their inevitable fate.

The novel has the layout that there are chapters alternating between Sig in the shack, or Einar (and the rest of his family) in Nome, so as the story unfolds we understand more about Wolff’s unbelievable claim to gold.

I didn’t think this book was good, or great or “awesome”. Exciting things happen, I totally agree. I would think a murderer, a hunter and a obsessor rolled into one would make the perfect enemy. But Sedgwick failed to make me like the characters.        When Wolff said ‘which one of you do I have to shoot to make the other one tell me where the gold is’ (or something like that) my heart didn’t even race. Fine, let one of them die. Whatever.                                                                                                                     I don’t care what happens just so long as I can put the book down one last time. Sedgwick just didn’t write with the spark that captures my attention. I think he had a good plot and I am sure Revolver appeals to lots of audiences but I am not a part of that group. I didn’t like his style in Revolver as I felt it lacked energy. Of course, I must add that this is the only book of his I’ve read, but still, after all the nominations and awards he’d receive I’d expected something gripping, a page turner and thought-provoking. I found out that Sedgwick provided none of those.

It was clear Sedgwick had done his research, and no one who has done hours of research wants to miss a chance of showing this off in their book. On the other hand you can you at bit extreme and just throw all the knowledge you have at them. I don’t necessarily think that Sedgwick did this, but it was near enough that I thought some of the details were irrelevant. Like when, for example, Sig puts on his reindeer skin boots, or boots with some other pelt on the inside. The point is, that, please trust the reader, they know he’s not going to go out in flip-flops!

The main themes in this book is trust in what you know in, but at the same finding his own message to trust in. Revolver is a story about how the mistakes and things you do in the past will always catch up with you (a bit cliché), as well as poverty, desperation, the will to live and mindless violence.

I personally wouldn’t recommend the book to anyone, except perhaps a really eager boy who wanted something to read and wouldn’t mind if it wasn’t great. i don’t think that this is the type of book which will bring the non-readers into reading. I’m sorry to say that I over-estimated this book and was thoroughly disappointed.

5 thoughts on “Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick”

  1. A really interesting review – I enjoyed the book but I think I see what you mean. I wonder if it was the lack of connection with the central character that might have put you off as well? What do you think?


    1. Yeah, didn’t feel emotionally attached to any of them really… maybe that was why because I guess that’s one of the things the book was relying on as I think you are meant to want them to survive so there would naturally be some suspense (if that makes sense) but I didn’t feel suspense because I was’t interested.


  2. I thought the setting and atmosphere were very vivid, and I really enjoyed this aspect of the novel, but I found the characters rather sketchy, and therefore difficult to sympathise with.


    1. Yes-me too! It’s such a shame, because I was honestly really looking forward to reading it due to it’s great reputation, and although atrocities happened to the characters, I felt very detached from them also.


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