The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan Review

graceGenre: Fantasy, Adult Fiction, Dystopian

Judging the Cover: This is one of my favorite book covers of all the books that I own. I love the colors and the cover depiction of Callanish in the graceyard was very helpful in picturing the world.

Plot according to Goodreads: As a Gracekeeper, Callanish administers shoreside burials, sending 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. Meanwhile, 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 offshore brings change to both their lives–offering them a new understanding of the world they live in and the consequences of the past, while restoring hope in an unexpected future.

My Thoughts: This book is described as a cross between Station Eleven and The Night Circus. Although I haven’t yet read Station Eleven, The Night Circus is one of my favorite books. Stories with a circus or amusement park setting always interest me so I was eager to pick this one up. I was not disappointed. As with The Night Circus, the imagery is the star of this book…the author’s imagination and creativity shines through every page.

The Good:

  • The setting of the story (a world that has been flooded and all that remains are small islands dispersed throughout the ocean) was very interesting. I was able to easily visualize the world and felt like I was part of it.
  • The story was very unusual…I haven’t read many fantasy books and this was a great place to start. The plot was different than anything I’ve read before.
  • I enjoyed the hierarchy that was present between the Damplings and the Landlockers…there was a lot of tension between these two groups of people and I found it very interesting.
  • The circus aspect was fun. The circus traveled in a large boat with several smaller boats (coracles) attached with chains. When they docked, the larger boat became the stage and the large sail became the tent. I felt like a member of the audience when reading the circus scenes. These scenes were among my favorites in the book.

What I didn’t Like:

  • The pacing…this wasn’t a book that I flew through, it took some time to read and was a slower paced story.
  • Some of the aspects of the story weren’t explained fully and left me with a few unanswered questions.
  • This was the type of book that was easy to put down and difficult to pick up (but when picked up, was enjoyable to read). It didn’t have that indescribable quality that sucks you into the story and won’t let you go.

My Rating: 4/5 stars.

Disclaimer: I received this book from blogging for books in exchange for an honest review.

Forbidden by Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee Review

forbiddenGenre: Dystopian, Fantasy, Christian Fiction

Judging the Cover: The cover is very relevant to the story and had a lot to do with my decision to purchase the book.

Plot according to Goodreads: Many years have passed since civilization’s brush with apocalypse. The world’s greatest threats have all been silenced. There is no anger, no hatred, no war. There is only perfect peace… and fear. But a terrible secret has been closely guarded for centuries: Every single soul walking the earth, though in appearance totally normal, is actually dead, long ago genetically stripped of true humanity.
Fleeing pursuit, with only moments to live, a young man named Rom stumbles into possession of a vial of blood and a piece of cryptic writing. When consumed, the blood will bring him back to life. When decoded, the message will lead him on a perilous journey that will require him to abandon everything he has ever known and awaken humanity to the transforming power of true life and love.
But the blood will also resurrect hatred, ambition, and greed.

This is book 1 in a trilogy called The Books of Mortals.

My Thoughts: This story was a bit out of my comfort zone as it had a fantasy feel to it (and I’m not generally drawn to fantasy) but I found it to be very interesting and enjoyable. I decided to read this book because I owned this one (found at Goodwill) and book 2 (from Ollie’s) and stumbled across book 3 while shopping at my local grocery store. It was in the bargain box, priced at $3.50 for hardcover but I didn’t want to buy it until I started book 1 to see if I would like the story. I bought book 3 after reading about 50 pages and I’m glad I did.

The Good: The plot is a very interesting one…set in Rome in the future, all humans have been stripped of every emotion except 1…fear. I was impressed by the way the authors were able to stick to this concept throughout the book as I imagine writing emotionless (except for fear) characters can’t be an easy task. As mentioned above, it had a fantasy feel to it which I was wary of when I began reading it, but I actually loved the dungeon scenes and the unusual names. There is a lot of Christian symbolism in the story but I didn’t feel it was something that would deter a non-Christian from enjoying it (especially if they aren’t familiar with the Bible). I loved the symbolism. The ending was a great cliff hanger and left me wanting much more so I can’t wait to dive into books 2 and 3.

What I didn’t Like: This is the 5th book I’ve read by Ted Dekker and although I love the stories that he tells, I don’t like the way he tells them. I always find it difficult to “get into” his books. It usually takes me 50-100 pages to get comfortable with his writing style and I don’t think I enjoy the stories as much as I could because of it. The atmosphere of the story was great but I wanted more…there were times when I felt that the places could have been described in better detail. There was a bit of insta-love in this story that was kind of ridiculous.

My rating: 4/5 stars and recommended for lovers of dystopian and fantasy stories