The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan


“He is a beast. And he will always be wild.”

My main motivation for buying this was that it’s got such a pretty cover. Now, I know that ‘they’ say you shouldn’t judge books by their covers, but what do they know anyway?

The world has flooded, and humanity has divided into two groups, the ‘Landlockers’ who live on the limited scraps of land that still remain in a largely oceanic planet, and then there are the ‘Damplings’, who live in various kinds of rafts and boat but always out at sea. Each group has deep set stigmas about the other, and it is rare that the two groups meet.

North is a Dampling girl who works on a circus boat with the second half of her performance act, a large brown bear who she considers to be her only family even though she lives with such a large amount of other people. And there’s Callanish, a Landlocker girl and ‘gracekeeper’ who effectively lives and works in a graveyard, alone as penance for a mistake in her past. Both women are isolated in their own unique ways, the guardians of precious secrets that threaten their survival within the lives they have.

Firstly, I just need to emphasise how gorgeous this book is. It’s been a long time since I’ve been kept up late to read just one more paragraph/page/chapter and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of reading about this utterly surreal, dreamlike world that Logan has created. There’s not a lot going on in the way of action or epic plot twists, but the descriptions of the circus performances, the characters and even just the style of writing were so rich and wonderful, she could have discarded the plot entirely and it still would have been an enjoyable read for me. I loved reading about the secondary characters just as much as the main ones, and not once did I want to skip ahead to a more interesting part, because the whole book had my interest from beginning to end.

A literally glittering, fantastical debut and I very much look forward to reading more from this author.



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