Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Review: The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Pages: 428
Released: 2012
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5


Iris and Eden Bellwether are upper-class, privileged siblings. They mostly keep to themselves and their small group of friends who they’ve known through many years of boarding school. They now attend Cambridge, fully indulging in their parent’s money. Iris is pressured to follow in her father’s exact footsteps in the medical field while Eden lives and breathes music; he’s a master organist and the apple of his parent’s eye. Oscar Lowe stumbles upon the sibling in a church, when he can’t help but stop to listen to Eden play. He quickly learns he is the complete opposite of them, he works for a living, never attended post-secondary education but when he falls in love with Iris, he tries to accept Eden and all his quirks and narcissistic behavior. Eden firmly believes he has the power to heal through his music. When Eden’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic, and seemingly dangerous, Oscar can’t believe Iris is torn between believing Eden and thinking he’s wrong. Oscar is determined to prove Eden isn’t the healer he believes himself to be. Eden becomes aggressive, distant and determined to prove he has the power to heal. Tensions rise between Oscar and Eden. How far will Eden go? How far will his friends leave him go?


Readers will immediately be pulled into The Bellweather Revials, it’s almost impossible to close the book after reading a few short pages. Wood’s opens the book with utter chaos, and confusion- three bodies, two dead and one barely living. Oscar is quickly introduced as he begins to unravel the puzzle for readers and explain his relationship with Iris and her manic brother. The pace is so action-packed and fast that’s hard to put it down at any point. The characters are unpredictable and very well developed. Eden is a fascinating character, he’s not likable but readers will remain curious about who he really is. Is he really a healer? Is he really just a disturbed, young adult who has a “God” complex? He’s so convincing that readers are left wondering throughout the book. The book concludes with the events that led up to the bodies, and readers are finally privy to who was killed and what happened.

This may be Benjamin Wood’s debut novel, but it is a pure masterpiece. It is a solid piece of literature that deserves many accolades. The Bellwether Revivals doesn’t read like a contemporary novel, it has more of an older, classic tone. I was constantly thinking of Sylvia Path’s The Bell Jar while reading this one. The impending doom, the psychological situation, and the madness really kept me captivated.

I highly recommend this one. It might sound complicated but it really isn’t. The writing is amazing, and the story is even more fascinating. I was really happy to read this one, it was unique and fresh. I don’t think I’ve really read a novel like this one before. This is definitely be a 2012 favorite.


  1. Wow! I've never heard of this book but you've made me excited about it! Woods must be a really talented writer.

  2. This review makes me so happy! I've been looking forward to BELLWETHER REVIVALS and can't wait to dive in now!

  3. On my must-read list for 2012. Great review!

  4. Ooh!! I think this is being published in the U.S. later this month. I just recently heard about it, and I think I have to read this one!! (The Bell Jar is also on my list of must reads for one day)

  5. You've sold me! This book is now on my list (and I put it at the top)!

  6. Hi Jennifer,

    This sounds like a fascinating read and a definite for my list.

    I really love stories which delve into complex personalities and the human psyche.

    You really sold this one to me, with your excellent review.

    Thanks for the recommendation,


  7. I love the way the author thrust you into the story and how the bodies pile up..LOL I love novels with well developed and unpredictable characters...that's two books I have added to my list this week from your blog..thanks cupcake!