“North knew now why the gracekeeper had believed where her baby had come from – why the gracekeeper was the only person she’d ever met who would truly understand. She was suddenly sure that if there were light, she’d see the gracekeeper’s skin gleam silver.” 

21798810What is this book about?

It took me a while to figure out exactly, because it is written from several perspectives and I’m not always the brightest OK? But this book is about North, a bear girl who works on a floating circus with her bear. It’s also about Callanish, a gracekeeper, which is a person providing funerals for damplings who are people living on the water. The world is no longer what it used to be. Big parts of it are under water and the sea level has risen so far that many are forced to live out their lives at sea. This has divided the population into two groups, damplings and landlockers. Yeah, not that simple now is it.

Why is it boring?

Warning: Water Metaphors Ahead! This book is slow, like a babbling brook instead of a wild water ride filled with adventure. The atmosphere and slowness reminded me a lot of Murakami and Margaret Atwood, where there’s a lot happening in the background and past, but much less at the moment itself. I would call The Gracekeepers a very thoughtful book, but of course that is not everyone’s cup of tea.

Who would you recommend it to?

I’ve already mentioned Murakami and Atwood, but it also reminded me of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It’s also about a circus, but that would be a stupid reason for a comparison. Both Morgenstern and Logan have this amazing ability to conjure up a whole world filled with magical strangeness that they don’t need to fully explain to you, because you will understand it through their storytelling. So if you enjoy any of these writers, this is a book for you. The beautiful atmosphere and the kindness of the characters will pull you in immediately.

Why should I read it if it’s boring?!

You got to like this type of book, but if you’re interesting in a magical dystopian fairy tale/fantasy without any crazy battles or anything, than this novel is just amazing. I took my sweet time reading this book and I liked it more because of it. You can easily get stuck in the flowing prose of Logan and the world she creates does lend itself to a thoughtful and slow reading. I loved how she gently gives away pieces of the world, so you can slowly figure out what you’re dealing with. From what I gather the world of The Gracekeepers is our world, but after some kind of natural disaster/occurrence that caused our sea level to rise and swallow up most of the land. And also we have new religions and fanatics still exist? The fact is, what happened isn’t really important. The story never lingers on the background of the world and never explains to you what happened and in that way it reminded me of the modern dystopian stories like California and Station Eleven. But besides comparing this book to other books I liked, The Gracekeepers itself is a highly creative and lovely novel. The characters are interesting and the circus itself is an intriguing setting. North and her bear are great characters, hiding a great sadness, but all of the other circus people are equally strange, and wonderful. The relationship between Callanish and North is my favorite part. It’s deep and interesting, even though they barely get to see each other in the novel. They feel like the other sides of the same coin, similar but different enough to have their own voices.

I’m going to mull over this book for a while more. It’s filled with so much greatness. Great details, great world building and great characters. Definitely worth a recommendation. I immediately ordered Logan’s other book.

Rating: 4/5

Review Copy attained through Netgalley with special thanks to the publisher Harvill Secker.

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Author

Esmée de Heer is head honcho over at the Bored to Death book club website, writing the daily content and making sure the site stays up and running. She’s one of the founding sisters of the book club and enjoys reading and giving unsolicited love advice.

2 Comments

    • mm
      boredtodeathbookclub

      I couldn’t agree more! Your review is lovely as well. Thank you for sharing it!