End of year lists! Last one! I’ve been lucky enough to read some excellent books this year that are coming out in 2015, so here are four of my recommendations of goodies to look out for in the next six months.
The Mime Order – Samantha Shannon.
Sequel to The Bone Season. The Mime Order doesn’t leap ahead from the finale of its predecessor, in fact the story picks up literally where it left off. And it sets the pacing of the whole book: so much happens but it’s treated with a craft of actually building it up. Nothing just happens and they move on, the scene is set, characters involved, it’s always a full picture, even in pitch darkness.
Paige remains a stellar protagonist: like I said after reading The Bone Season, she is strong, powerful, smart, but she has so many more sides to her. She’s in touch with her emotions, she feels for other people, she’s not a mindless killer; she’s flawed, she still acts in haste and sometimes irrationally, but she’s unapologetic in being herself and following the cause she believes in, she’s human.
If you haven’t yet, go read The Bone Season, then go read this when it comes out, because already, mere minutes after finishing it, it’s a fair bet that the third book in the series is going to be absolutely crazy. I kind of loved it. Can you tell? Publisher: Bloomsbury – 27th January 2015
The Gracekeepers – Kirsty Logan.
The Gracekeepers, at its core, follows two tales whose paths cross from time to time; Callanish, a Gracekeeper who lays the dead to their final resting place, and North, a performer on the floating, travelling circus, who entertains with her bear. The former has exiled herself to pay for a past family mistake, the latter earns a living in exchange for her entertainment, being born into the show.
Water is no longer some obstacle that separates land, but a way of life, one that not only births, but sustains and ultimately buries many as their final resting place. Gods are found in many different forms, dependent on their circumstance, be they landlockers or damplings.
Like The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales, it plays with elements of folklore and fairytale, and it’s just so incredibly different and gorgeous that I really loved it. The Gracekeepers handles isolation, literal or when surrounded by others, family and, simply, life – surrounded by the sea and the circus. Had a completely awful day today, but it turns out plonking myself on the couch and delving into this has been a proper wee delight. Gorgeous book | Publisher: Harvill Secker – May 2015
Paris Kiss – Maggie Ritchie.
The story of the friendship between English sculptor Jessie Lipscomb and Camille Claudel, the protégée and lover of Auguste Rodin. Bohemian Paris in the 1880s isn’t where women shine, but these two are determined to push the boundaries in their art, while exploring the culture and meeting artists including Toulouse-Lautrec.
Even Jessie, the taken, prim English girl is swept up in the romance and passion of the city, and 40 years on, when looking back, can’t quite move on from those names that typified the most defining period of her life as she visits Camille in an insane asylum, trying to work out where it all went wrong. Really gorgeous book that sets the scene of the era and draws you in to the dynamic relationships between so many of the characters | Publisher: Saraband – Spring 2015
Lullaby Girl – Aly Sidgwick.
Lullaby Girl is the mysterious woman who is found washed up at a loch and taken into psychiatric care in the Highlands. She doesn’t speak, and has no memory of who she is or what happened, but what she does do is sing a Danish lullaby. Instead of being safe in the home, she’s harassed by media and considered a nuisance by staff. Slowly, she’s forced to face the memories that flood back, and confront who she really is.
It’s easy to forget that this starts with a potential crime as she’s washed up, as you’re so caught up in the unravelling of the Lullaby Girl’s past, the ins and outs of human nature – love, loss, fear, hope – that it’s completely consuming. The story reveals little by little through various writing styles, and you find yourself truly invested in the character – you absolutely feel the need to understand the ins and outs of her story. Great book | Publisher: Black & White Publishing – 4th June 2015.