Saturday, 24 October 2015

Review of The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan // Very beautiful world building

After my post about the book 'All the bright places', I thought it would be really lovely to share the books I'm reading with you! I used to read ALOT when I was younger; Whilst at primary school, I apparently used to rush home and immediately curl up into a ball (not gonna lie, I still sit like this) on an armchair with my latest little book (anyone remember this
unicorn series? :L They're quite clearly responsible for my love of fantasy and unicorns) I also used to try and write my own books, did anyone else try that? I'll have to dig them out and have a cringe read.

Unfortunately though, the older I got (12-18) the less 'time' I seemed to leave for reading; It's a real shame because I think your teenage years are probably a time when you Should be reading. It's not only enjoyable, but informative and insightful, and a lot of books I've read recently I wish I had read back in my teen years!

Thankfully though, over the last 4 years, I've got back into the habit of reading regularly again, and I love it :)

But anyway! On to this beautiful book! I came across The Gracekeepers whilst having a little scroll through Twitter, and it was actually the authors name that caught my eye! My beautiful nephew, Logan, was born earlier this year and I kind of loved the idea of having a book that featured his name! (even if it is only the authors surname!) And after reading a few descriptions/other reviews about the book, I was completely sold.

It's a fantasy book, set on Earth, but not as we know it. The Earth was flooded many years ago and now only tiny pockets of islands remain, making physical earth and soil, extremely valuable. The inhabitants of the world have been divided into two very segregated groups, 'Landlockers' who live on the earth, and 'Damplings' who roam the seas. The book does have a dystopian nature, but isn't quite as 'typical' as your zombie apocalypse or totalitarianism government set-up, it's a very unique storyline.

The story primarily follows two women, North and Callanish as they begin to embrace their past lives and attempt to forge their futures. North lives and breathes a life on the floating Circus boat 'Excalibur', with her dancing bear; Whilst Callanish, who has exiled herself from her native Island due to an instance from her past, performs ritualistic burials at sea using birds known as 'Graces'. Their two incredibly different lives are brought together by a chance meeting after a storm, and the two soon realise that the secrets they hold share something in common. It is a story about love, but not a romance.

Illustrated World map within the inside covers of the hardback book

The names within the book, just like the prose, are very beautiful and really capture the essence of a mystical ocean world. My particular favourites were 'Callanish' and 'Avalon', they seem to bring to mind mystical goddesses or female warriors. The characters personalities also seemed to resonate with their names; For example North is very direct and forthright, Avalon is powerful, Red Gold is warm-hearted but strong, and Callanish is delicate and beautiful. I really liked this symbolism :)

I think the only downside I personally seemed to find was that the ending did seem ever so slightly rushed, but I often think a lot of books are fast paced towards the end, as the story is drawing to a close and everything is coming together.

The plot is not always obvious and I think some readers may be a little frustrated with this, however I think this just adds more to the mystery and fairy tale wonder. Legends and fairytales can sometimes be quite eccentric and lack a coherent storyline, but I've always thought this allows you to use your own perceptions to decipher the meaning behind the story, it makes it much more mystical, which is the impression I had from The Gracekeepers :)

Truthfully, I didn't want the book to end, whilst reading I was completely immersed in the beautiful descriptions of their world; If getting lost in magical places is your thing, definitely give it a read!