The sea has flooded the earth. North lives on a circus boat, floating between the scattered islands that remain. She dances with her beloved bear, while the rest of the crew trade dazzling and death-defying feats for food from the islanders.
However, North has a secret that could capsize her life with the circus. Callanish lives alone in her house in the middle of the ocean, with only the birds and the fish for company. As penance for a terrible mistake, she works as a gracekeeper, tending the graves of those who die at sea. What drove her from home is also what pulls her towards North.
When a storm creates a chance meeting between the two girls, their worlds change. They are magnetically drawn to one another, and the promise of a new life. But the waters are treacherous, and the tide is against them.
©2015 Kirsty Logan (P)2015 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
"Beautiful and bewitching: read it and be swept away on a magical wave of love and language." (The Bookseller)
"In luscious, vivid prose, Logan brings to mind Angela Carter, or Atwood or Winterson at their best." (The Independent)
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"I really wanted to like this but..."
It was a great idea, a post-apocalyptic world where people mainly live on boats but a few remain on the minimal amount of land that is left. but it was just so slow... There were loads of characters with the potential for great back stories which were hardly uncovered, and it ended rather weakly, leaving me thinking: "Is that it?"
"I Loved It!"
I could very have easily read/listened to this book in one sitting but it was one I actually wanted to savour. The prose in this novel is just absolutely gorgeous and the world building that Kirsty has done here is just something I wanted to keep a hold of. This story wouldn’t have been nearly as good if it wasn’t for her use of language; it really captured the magic of the mysterious circus ship.
In the end, after listening to a clip of Kirsty reading this, I couldn’t resist buying the audiobook and I seriously, seriously recommend it. It added a whole new level to it and allowed me to savour it for longer! It definitely added a little more magic to the story – it was a very passive narration, it was slow and gentle but powerful all the same. Kirsty reading it herself added a new dimension to the story, certain inflections on certain words... it made the reading experience as a whole very rewarding.
This is an old fashioned story in my opinion. It’s based on Scottish folklore and myth but is a modern fairytale twist on several bits of the history. We follow, mainly, North and Callanish and their experiences as a bear girl in a floating circus and a Gracekeeper - the keeper of the dead - respectively. Their paths inevitably cross and it changes both of their lives for the better. I won’t give too much away because I feel this is definitely a story that needs to be read!
I struggled getting a rating for this one because I really loved it, I really wanted to give it 5 stars but the ending was a little hurried in my opinion. It was a fitting, wonderful ending but it felt rushed. The last quarter I couldn’t put down whatsoever, the combination of circumstance and great characters made this so difficult to put down and I just felt bereft when it was actually over. So, on a lot more thought I decided to stick with the initial 4/5 as while it was a beautiful story, beautifully read, there was just a little something missing for me!
A magical story and beautifully read by the author. The story is packed with imagination and the characters really came to life. I loved the descriptions of life in the circus. I couldn't tell enough people about this book.
The setting was unique, and the world felt well-established by the author. The circus had a wonderful feel to it and the descriptions were vivid. It was good that the author narrated the book herself, because the tone of voice felt true.
There was a moment that made me cry, alone in my car on the way home from work.
The descriptions of the circus performances were lovely.
Water and fire, rejection and love.
Unfortunately, the end felt a little rushed and some things that I thought would happen within the length of the book did not get resolved. It was great that the author read it herself, but I did struggle with her pronunciation of 'clams' and 'clowns' which got a little confusing.
"An inspiring story, a new world of imagination"
The characters and descriptions catch the reader from the first chapter. It is a convincing but very different world in which North, the bear girl, and Callanesh, the Gracekeeper, meet and work towards a resolution of their troubles. A world in which rising sea levels have drowned the cities and islanded people in isolated groups.
The narration by the author is superb
I feel reluctant to start another book, this was so satisfying and intriguing.
"A very different type story"
This really isn't the sort of thing I normally read, but this time going outside of my normal subject matter has really worked.
The story of a two different young girls in a world which is very different from our own is a slow burner, but none the worse for that. In parts it almost feels like a soap opera with the intrigues going on within the Circus Excalibur. These do connect with the main plot which...well I'm not actually sure what the plot is. A coming of age story? Maybe. The journey home story? Yes in a way.
But that doesn't really matter, I did enjoy listening to it and I'm sure a lot of that is because it was read by the author. Surely having the story read by the author has to be the best way to hear it. They know the emotions they had in mind when writing it and so, if they can convey them, they are the best people to read the story. It also helps that I am a sucker for the Scottish accent and Kirsty Logan does have a lovely voice.
"Captivating fairy tale"
Captivating and original. Beautiful, descriptive writing and a seamless, magical plot. I couldn't put this one down
"A wonderful story"
This was a beautiful world Kirsty Logan has created. In an almost dystopia future most of the land is underwater. So you have two worlds one follows the people who live on the sea and the others who live on the land. This tale is split each chapter telling a different characters story, it's imaginative and the author reads her work extremely well. You follow the story of North and her bear who live on a travelling circus boat and Cavendish who lives on a graceyard (like an underwater graveyard) I couldn't recommended this book enough great for anyone who loves a bit of magic and fairytale with elegant twists.
loved it, very well read by the author will read again, and again. highly recomended.
Beautifully read, and a lovely story - apart from one section about two-thirds of the way through where I wasn't sure where the story was going at all, and I started to lose interest. But it all came back.
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