The Gracekeepers - Kirsty Logan | Book Review

Monday, 13 June 2016

Rating: 3.5/5

"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"


Firstly, this book turned out much differently that to how I expected, but in a good way. The Gracekeepers follows the lives, mainly of North and Callanish, as well as others that the two characters encounter; for example Callanish's mother and North's crew members. A book similar to this is Erin Morgernstern's 'The Night Circus', which is also mentioned at the back of the book for further reading. I really enjoyed the magical/circus genre and was intrigued when this book took that genre into the sea and in 'another world'. Sadly, this book includes less magic and more realism (kind of) but in my opinion is still a very interesting and gripping read!

I loved how vivid and well drawn out this world is! We are not too sure of what time period this is set in but from a few hints in the text, I think it's futuristic as the characters speak of 'lost cities beneath the sea', so perhaps Logan is playing on the fear of global warming?

In this world, people are divided into two groups, damplings and landlockers. Damplings are people who choose to live at sea, often seen as rebellious and dangerous, whilst the landlockers worship land and the gods that come with it; conservative and aggressively loyal to their land.

Another thing I really enjoyed about this book was the friendship, loyalty and unwavering trust of North and Callanish, not just between them , but others for others around them too. It's a tale of trusting your instincts and standing on your own two feet, whether its at sea or on land.

I fell like Logan could have expanded much more on the world of this book, but then again, I shoudn't think she would have wanted to stray away from the story that much. If this book was a series, then I could have seen her detailing more of what became of the world, which would be insane; I am definitely interested in reading more of this world; although the book did have a solid ending, so sadly I don't think there will be another :(

Let me know if you have read this book, I would love to know what you thought of it!

Love, K :)

Adventures In India

Monday, 6 June 2016

It had dawned on me that I have never written about my India volunteer trip in partnership with The Gerry Martin Project! I had such an amazing time and it was great to experience a new country and culture! I decided to vlog the fundraising process and then each day whilst we were out in India and I also made a film for everyone who went on the trip as well!

I went with my school (I had left in June 2015, but really wanted to go, so I went with students in their last year) and there was a total of 16 people, including teachers. I was quite nervous because although I went to school with these people, I didn't really know them because they were a year younger than me. I had heard about the trip before as my friends went on it the year before (March 2014) and built a research cabin for the TGMP Program and other people carrying out research to use. When they came back, they said they had the time of their lives, so I knew that this was something I just had to do!


THE FUNDRAISING PROCESS


For the trip, we had to fundraise all of the money. I found this very difficult process as I had applied to go on the trip the year before, but my family didn't believe that I could raise all of the money in time, so they told me not to do it. This time round, I was adamant that I could do it, even if I had to do it alone, and I did. With the help of my family I hosted a quiz night at my local village hall and raised £250! From then on, I was on my own. I worked hard to raise the rest of the money, doing extra jobs and saving every penny I could to raise the funds for this trip. No one thought I could do it, but I did, and on the 14th of October 2015 I was on my way to India!

Here is a video documenting my fundraising journey!



THE TRIP - PART ONE


We set off on our journey on the 14th of October, only a few days after my 19th birthday! We had to catch two flights, the first from London to Doha, and then from Doha to Bangalore! The trip took about 16 hours overall with flights and waiting times, so everyone felt a bit groggy for our 4 hour mini bus ride to our destination once we had finally landed! During our mini bus ride, we were all able to see what the city of Bangalore was like; some of us were very shocked to see such a strange place, as on one side there would be huge buildings and developments, then on the other would be small shanty houses and towns. It definitely was a city of polar opposites. Cows, chickens and dogs were freely roaming the streets and litter and smog filled the streets. It was such a difference from what know and was very eye-opening for many of us.

Our home for the first part of our journey!
Once at our destination in the more rural part of where we were staying, we were met with beautiful scenery of palm trees and luscious green landscape! It was so lovely to be in a place so close to nature. The place where we were staying was a field station and a working farm for the organisation and had a main house where half of us stayed, whereas the other half of us stayed in wooden cabins not far from the bathrooms. We were warned about local wildlife, such as various monkeys and spiders, but we didn't encounter anything too dangerous (apart from the odd MASSIVE spider now and again!). On arrival, we were given time to have a nap and freshen up after our travels and afterwards were given breakfast! I think one of the most strangest parts for some of us of being so far out into the wilderness was that all you could hear was nature; no cars, no trains, just pure, calming nature.

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