Time travel, a changed world, mystery, a quest, a determined girl who is competent and able, but makes mistakes, and grows and grows and grows – what’s not to like? Garland, the hero, is daughter of Maddie, the leader of a travelling circus or “fantasia” which brings dreams and performances and wonders to the settlements and villages it travels through. The Fantasia has a task, to bring a power source back to Solis, the main city in the land. Some mysterious strangers appear from the future, but are they there to help or hinder?
I enjoyed this book. From the glimpses of New Zealand – a character called Tane, a taniwha, a town called Gramth which is surely Greymouth for which I have a peculiar affection* – to the not-so-happy but happy ending, it’s all a fabulous tale. One of the things I liked best is that although there are mysterious events in the story, they are all science-y, all explicable, even if it’s with the baffling science of the future. The fantasy is grounded in imagined fact, which makes it all the more compelling. I’m not fond of ghostie-explanations, even in stories; give me science any day.
It’s a good read. Maybe a bit episodic, but it’s hard to have a road novel that isn’t. It’s highly imaginative and morally complex; decisions that Garland takes have difficult consequences, and the seemingly evil deeds of some communities are explicable, when seen from another point of view. I was absorbed by this book, as was Miss Eleven, and it’s on my (ever-expanding) list of books for re-reading, sometime, soon…
*Due to a dip in a hotel bed, I was conceived in Greymouth, or so I’m told.