Bloodflower by Christine Hinwood

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2009.
(Age 13+) Bloodflower is a book by "an exceptional new talent" Christine Hinwood. The story charts the aftermath of a war between the Uplanders and Downlanders. Like most war and conflicts through history, the devastation of changing political boundaries result in displaced families, and new customs and allegiances being made.
The central hero of the story, Cam, returns to his small village of Kayforl from the war minus an arm, but as it turns out a whole lot of new found respect from the enemy and victorious reigning royalty. In Kayforl, however, his disability means he is treated badly, resulting in him spending his time drinking away his sorrows at the tavern, when not resigned to doing "women's work". His time away at war and his injuries have also meant that his betrothal to the neighbour's daughter, Graceful Fennister, had been annulled. This further added to Cam's grief and sense of belonging in the new post-war world to which he had returned damaged.
Parallel to Cam's story, Diido is an orphaned refugee girl who is also reeling from the aftermaths of the war. Whilst effected in different ways by the war, Cam and Diido have very similar problems with their sense of identity and as a result are destined to meet.
It was hard to make out which category or genre for which Blood Flower should be placed as the book seems to jump around a fair bit between styles and genres: fantasy, history and romance. This book presents a good analysis of the total aftermath of war - social, political and cultural. Because of the nature of the story and the words used, this book is probably recommended for more regular readers of fantasy, historical and similar books of this nature. Whilst the themes of prostitution and teenage menstruation are covered fairly subtly, this book certainly wouldn't be recommended for children under the age of 13.
Adam Fitzgerald, Paralowie School R-12