The Grace Keepers by Kirsty Logan 308 pages
The timeframe for this novel is obscure. It could be the near future or the far past. Whenever it is, land is scarce. Most of the world, it seems is covered with water. There isn’t the overcrowding of today’s time. In fact people are classified into two groups: the landlockers (those inhabiting the mainland) and the damplings (those who float on the sea). I got the impression there was no “mainland.” Instead, people traveled from island to island via boat, and not a motor boat either.
There are two main protagonists. First in North. She is a young girl of about sixteen. She works as a circus performer with the Excalibur, a floating troupe of acrobats, clowns, dancers, and trainers who sail from archipelago to archipelago, entertaining in exchange for food. North, whose parents are dead, performs a dance routine with a bear.
Then there is Callanish. Also a young girl. Her role in the world is to administer Restings to the dead. That is, she performs burials as sea for those who have died. I didn’t really get the part the birds, or graces, play in the ceremonies. Each time a person is laid to rest, a grace is starved to death. When the bird dies, the mourning period is over. I wish Logan had given a more detailed description of the birds. They are small, which is about all the readers learn of them. Callanish lives alone.
There isn’t a strong, suspenseful plot. There are peaks and valley in the storyline and a couple of gasping moments. I didn’t find myself staying up late, reading one more chapter to find out what happens.
The gorgeous cover and the link to Scottish myths and fairytales are the main reasons I wanted to read The Grace Keepers. The cove is evidential of Logan’s lyrical writing style. I don’t’ know much about Scottish myths and fairytales, and there is nothing in the text that indicates what the inspiration is. Logan is a Scot living in Scotland, so maybe you have to already have this knowledge to make the connections.
Although this rather dystopian novel doesn’t have a strong plot, its other qualities are why I rate this novel four out of five stars.
I received The Grace Keepers from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review.