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Le North works as a circus performer with the Excalibur a floating troupe of acrobats clowns dancers and trainers who sail from one archipelago to the next entertaining in exchange for sustenance In a world divided between those inhabiting the mainland landlockers and those who float on the sea damplings loneliness has become a way of life for North and Callanish until a sudden storm It was not okay it gets two stars because it was readable in a messy soap opera kind of way Okay full review I don t think I ve ever read such a mess of a story And I ve read some convoluted messesSo why does the Gracekeepers gets the first place in Most Convoluted Story awardWell imagine a vaguely distopyan setting in which the Planet has suffered the full conseuences of global warming The level of water has risen leaving most of Earth well I m guessing here maybe it s some alien planet instead fully submergedThe world is divided between landlockers people who own land and damplings people who live on the sea and this is where the concept starts falling apart due to its simplicityWe are told that food is scarce okay that makes sense since there s less arable land available but then we read that the people who live on land don t want anything to do with fish You re hungry there s food available but hey I am going to be picky about it because water is dirty and people who live in the water are dirty This is the explanation that is given Less due to pollution and due to superstitionsRegarding Water the oceans have risen so what has happened to potable water sourcesBecause logically in this setting that would mean almost no potable water Strangely that is never mentionedOf course when you think that about half is it half What is the percentage We are never told of the population that lives on boats one has to wonder about the uality of the thingI have to mention that the boat Excalibur with the exception of soldier ships never ever crosses path with other ships No boat s jammings ever AmazingSegregationIf you don t hold land you re seen as less That is what North is She is a dampling and she lives and works on an circusEnters the Night Circus environmentnot This doesn t have anything to do with that book Most especially it doesn t have anything to do with the images that Erin Morgenstern createdLGBT romanceWell in fact there isn t an actual romance between our Gracekeeper and North the girl that lives in the circus More like they re instantly smitten when they do met there s hand holding and secrets sharing because otherwise it would just take too bloody long but they ll eventually meet again in the end of the book because in the meantime we ll have to be bored out of our minds by pov s of almost every single character in the bookBut what is a Gracekeeper you askWell a grace keeper is someone who takes care of the gracesAnd here graces are birdsBasically the girl woman we have no idea of her age or for how long she has been a Gracekeeper kills a lot of birds when she places then in cages like tombstones to mark where has placed some dead person to rest And now as I think about it I am left wondering how the cages are kept above water Are there poles Do they have little inflatable vestsTechnicalities they are a bitchBecause you know reusable cages and all that so the birds die of the elements and starvation Oh and there was this little bit of information as if the birds were engineered to last a certain amount of time the time period for mourning of that person but later on there s nothing else to clarify what type of society these people live inStone age meets X manAs for our Grace Keeper Callanish there s another one but he s a drunk and he only appears for a few pages so who cares about the guy well when the story starts I was left with the impression that she had committed some crime and that was her punishment being a Mortician for dampling people But later on we are told that she choose that life So I guess anyone can volunteernot Katniss Katniss would never be such an idiotTalking about Morticians and other technicalitiesI guess Callanish has a lot of strength to dump a lot of dead bodies in the ocean right Oh and then there s the fact that THAT is done in the most shallow part of the ocean because IT MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO FG LOGICCharactersWell there s Callanish the gracekeeper with the mysterious pastNorth a girl who lives on the circus Excalibur with her bear with whom she performs The bear doesn t have a name He s her best friend but apparently it never crossed North s mind to give him a name Here I was left thinking about Lyra from Pullman s trilogy and the relationship she had with her soul animalThere s the ringmaster aka Arthur the owner of the circus who is married to Avalon a crazy bitch determined to incarnate all the crazy bitches from the Arthurian Legends his second wife and there s also a son Yeah I don t care about his name from a previous relationship The son who is a boring as soaked bread has a bit of Mordred in him so you know what this meansAs for the other characters like the clowns they are mostly used by the author to briefly approach the issue of gender bending And I say briefly because the way it was dealt poorly reminded me those last episodes of Sailor Moon when some characters appear leaving us wondering if they were guys or womenWhat elseOh there s women being impregnated by something with scales but that s okay because we should see that as a form of integration How to live both on land and on the seaWell that s easy just go lie by some shore and some dudescaly thing will appear and you ll be ecstatic See Who cares about consentOf course there s still some bit of xenophoby lying around so lets say that babies born with ebbed toes and hands are usually killed on sightAs for the plotWell as you can see there isn t one People meet and then we get their pov s about relationships or other stuffThe part that takes place in the circus setting feels like a never ending soap operaAvalon hates North because she s a jealous nuts and that s itThen there s crazy religious people Both on land as on the sea because EUALITYSex traded as a bargain coin Because why notAnd people having their life dream destroyed because he wouldn t be Arthur if that didn t happen in the endOh and they view spoilerkill the bear in the end hide spoiler

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The Gracekeepers

Offshore brings change to both their lives offering them a new understanding of the world they live in and the conseuences of the past while restoring hope in an unexpected future Inspired in part by Scottish myths and fairytales The Gracekeepers tells a modern story of an irreparably changed world one that harbors the same isolation and sadness but also joys and marvels of our own ag As I said when I first sampled The Gracekeepers last September I feared at first that it wasn t for me that the fantastical premise was too whimsical for my tastes and that it was in danger of being too twee However the first few chapters really surprised me I was drawn straight into its world and wanted to read on I found the characters easy to care about and the story gave me the same cosy magical feeling as Erin Morgenstern s The Night Circus Unlike many readers I enjoyed that book but as others won t necessarily find the comparison flattering I will again add that Logan is a better writer It s the atmosphere of the stories that s similar As with many good stories that appear to be whimsical there is an undercurrent of darkness that adds spice and bite to a narrative that s often deceptively gentleThe setting is a waterlogged world in which there is a class division between landlockers the lucky few with homes on dry land and damplings whose nomadic lives are spent at sea There are two main characters North who resides on a circus boat and makes a living performing with her beloved bear and Callanish who lives alone on an island and works as a gracekeeper tending the graves of those who die at sea The latter idea is expanded from a short story in Logan s debut collection The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales When a storm hits and tragedy strikes the Circus Excalibur North and Callanish meet and are immediately drawn to each other The Gracekeepers becomes a story about their connection how they are inescapably drawn back to one another and about how each is searching in some way for a family for a home for permanence Many negative reviews are from readers frustrated that there wasn t world building that certain things about how this society worked weren t fully explained but I always saw it as of a dreamlike landscape one that wasn t necessarily supposed to feel entirely real In my head it didn t look anything like this world instead I imagined that beyond the seascapes we heard about the water simply poured off the edge of the earth Many reviews also assume the setting is post apocalyptic or a version of our own future but again I saw it differently as an alternate world or alternate history definitely magical there s no actual magic but you wouldn t be surprised to encounter it Pre flood society might well have been the world we know or something very like it but I felt that taking that for granted would reduce it to some cautionary tale about the environment taking away all the enchantment Enchantment is a very appropriate word for The Gracekeepers perfect for the glamour of the circus the ethereal imagery of Callanish s island home and the magnetic draw of the central couple s attractionThe lush language of The Gracekeepers makes it a book to be savoured slowly and it s best when measured out in small portions If there was one thing about it I didn t like and this became particularly noticeable whenever I read a big chunk of the book in one go it was the repetition of certain words and phrases I d be uite happy to never see the word belly again in my life and Flitch calling Callanish little fish drove me crazy though considering the general obnoxiousness of his character I m sure that was the pointSomething a bit different for me certainly but a book I m really glad I persisted with and one that created a genuinely memorable world

Kirsty Logan æ 3 read

For readers of The Night Circus and Station Eleven a lyrical and absorbing debut set in a world covered by waterAs a Gracekeeper Callanish administers shoreside burials laying the dead to their final resting place deep in the depths of the ocean Alone on her island she has exiled herself to a life of tending watery graves as penance for a long ago mistake that still haunts her Meanwhi Kirsty Logan has such a lovely way with words Take this description of an apple The apple was a perfect sphere green speckled with red shiny as a bird s eye Avalon pulled a silver knife from her dress pocket and cut the apple s softening flesh into uarters exposing the pips tenderly Its scent exploded in the air sweetly souring past its best but still with a sheen of juiceIt made me go and eat an apple Sadly it wasn t uite as tantalizing as the description I will say that without the use of such elouent prose this novel wouldn t have been half as good The language really helped to capture the image of a magical and mysterious floating circus on a world that was almost entirely at sea A wonderful settingIndeed the earth has flooded and only small isolated pockets of land remain The protagonist of this novel is called North she is a bear girl which means she performs in the circus with her trusted companion who is a bear However their relationship was not emphasised nowhere near enough through the novel and at some points the bear felt like a piece of furniture in the circus The circus called Excalibur also stages classic acts such as clowns and acrobatics If they didn t provide such excellent entertainment then they wouldn t eat as the landowners exchange food for entertainment They are literally performing to surviveAfter a successful performance a storm hits them at high seas One of their valued members dies thus the circus seeks the help of a Gracekeeper Gracekeepers put people to rest after they have dies they perform a service then sink the body to the bottom of the ocean Callinish is one such keeper and she is drawn to North When the two meet they instantly feel like family as they belong together This became the plot driver for the book and gave it a solid direction as the two characters had to come back together Indeed when the two parted it was evident that the novel would end with them re joining A tragically weak endingIn spite of the wonderful prose and the exciting world the author has devised the ending I felt was very weak A very very tragic event occurs at the end of the book it should have affected the protagonist deeply but it didn t really I think I was bothered by it She should have been on her knees weeping Instead there is a brief moment of sadness and of acceptance This seemed inconsistent with the character as she should have been grief stricken She lost something very valuable and her reaction was nowhere near strong enough This paragraph changed my entire perception of the novel because up to that point I was ready to give it four stars Moreover I do think that certain side characters needed closure as some of their story arcs were left too open Overall though I did enjoy this novel The author has come with a very original idea which when combined with her writing style came across as uite captivating This is only her first novel and it shows It was almost brilliant but not uite Despite the problems it had it was still very good so I will read any future novels she may write If the ending was stronger then my rating would be much higher So I gave this a reasonable 3 Stars


10 thoughts on “The Gracekeepers

  1. says:

    Whelp here is one of 3 magicalfantasyrealism circus type books I've read in the past 3 months completely accidentally coincidentally I didn't know this genre was so strongI picked up this book in Edinburgh while on vacation because the cover is lovely In England Here in the US it's kind of poopy and looks like a tampon commercial Bu

  2. says:

    This is a truly beautiful and magical novelA flooded world where few islands remain and those who inhabit the land are landlockers Everyone else lives on boats and are known as damplingsNorth is a dampling she works as the bear girl o

  3. says:

    Kirsty Logan has such a lovely way with words Take this description of an apple The apple was a perfect sphere green speckled with red shiny as a bird’s eye Avalon pulled a silver knife from her dress pocket and cut the apple’s softening

  4. says:

    Oh not sure where to begin with this one – you know sometimes you read a book that just touches your heart for reasons you can’t really put into words – well “The Gracekeepers” is just such a novel beautifully written highly compelling with such wonderful characters and setting that you just sink into it and leav

  5. says:

    It was not okay; it gets two stars because it was readable in a messy soap opera kind of way Okay full review I don't think I've ever read such a mess of a story And I've read some convoluted messesSo why does the Gracekeepers gets the first place in Most Convoluted Story awardWell imagine a vaguely distopyan setting in which the Planet has s

  6. says:

    If you liked The Night Circus or Station Eleven then you’ll probably like this I thought that it was better than both of those novels It’s beautifully written and has the most eeirly evocative landscape where the earth has been fl

  7. says:

    35 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum went into The Gracekeepers very carefully From what I’d heard it sounded a lot like the kind of literary magical realism which would reuire an active engagement of the reader’s imagination in order to fill in the gaps and books like this with their haunting dreamlike styl

  8. says:

    This book transports you to another world where everything is upside down Here you live on water or on small islands Those who live on water would never want to live on land and vice versa The circus that we follow is based on water and it floats around to the islands in order to give performances Further we follow the story of an islander who works as a Rester Everything is magical in this story and it appea

  9. says:

    As I said when I first sampled The Gracekeepers last September I feared at first that it wasn't for me that the fantastical premise was too wh

  10. says:

    “We're all islands shouting lies to each other across seas of misunderstanding” Rudyard KiplingKirsty Logan a British author pens her new novel The Gracekeepers which is about two individuals living on the realm by the edge of the sea with