Joelene Reviews: The Book of Days by K.A. Barker
When sixteen-year-old Tuesday wakes in Madam Marisol’s Unreality House, she has no idea who she is. And no clue about the fantastic world she is about to be flung into. With the charming but self-serving Quintalion as her reluctant chaperone and a letter from her unremembered self, she ventures out in search of her past.
With a war looming between those who practice the old ways and the daybreakers, and one particularly dangerous daybreaker who seems to have a vendetta against her, Tuesday’s quest will be more difficult than she could imagine. And it will take her to more places than she would have dreamed possible. From the purple-grassed Whispering Plains to the Silk Sea, Tuesday’s journey to find out who she was may just cement who she is now.
Book of Days is Brisbane author, K.A. Barker’s debut novel, and John Marsden probably said it best when he lauded the novel for being ‘dazzlingly different’. It is: both in style and content.
Usually it’s characters that make a fantasy journey memorable for me. There are some amazing characters in Book of Days, but here even they take a back seat to the world built within these pages. From the paper-burning traditions of Beggars End to Lady Fortuna’s Court in the heart of a magnificent floating city, the places in Book of Days are spectacularly sprawling landscapes that I’d love to explore.
The one main weakness in an otherwise enchanting novel is the main character, Tuesday. She has a tendency to make bad decisions, ignore solid advice from people who know the world better than her, and then crumple when her decisions get her in trouble. Her companions are amazing, but I don’t know why they stay by her when they have no reason to offer her loyalty and when her actions often wilfully endanger them.
As I’ve mentioned, the cast of supporting characters are fantastic. Quintalion might be self-serving but he’s also charming; and who doesn’t appreciate someone with such immaculate dress-sense? Hester, a warrior from the North, is as sharp as her sword, and fearless. She is a good foil for Quintalion, keeping him in check where Tuesday can’t. And Jack, the blind assistant librarian is sweet and funny. All together these characters have a dynamic that makes the book a more wondrous place.
Anyone who likes quirky fantasy worlds will devour this novel. Fans of Terry Pratchett or Garth Nix should try it out for the sheer imagination it exudes.
The Book of Days – K.A. Barker
Pan Macmillan (September 1, 2014)