BOOK REVIEW: The Book of Days by K.A. Barker

This review does not contain spoilers.

IMG_6100Most people believe the best way to forget someone is to throw them down a well. Or lock them in a room with eight keys, or bury them at a crossroad in the thirteenth hour.

But they’re wrong.

The best way to forget someone is for them never to have existed in the first place.

When sixteen-year-old Tuesday wakes from sleep for the first time, she opens her eyes to a world filled with wonder—and peril. Left only with a letter from the person she once was, Tuesday sets out to discover her past with the help of her charming and self-serving guide, Quintalion.

Along the way she runs into mercenaries, flying cities, airships and a blind librarian. But what is her connection with the mysterious Book of Days—a book that holds untold power …

As K.A. Barker’s debut novel, The Book of Days shows a lot of promise. The general plot development is good. I guessed one of the big reveals a few chapters in but I did doubt myself as various things stacked up against my theory.

Her world-building is detailed, fresh, and expansive—maybe even a little too expansive. There are so many references packed in the novel that it’s sometimes hard to keep track of various people and towns. I had to keep reminding myself that Voltemande was a town and not a person, and every time someone said ‘Seven sisters!’ I had to wonder who those seven sisters were. I ruled out the Days, since it’s established that at least one of them is a guy.

I didn’t really connect with a lot of the characters since, apart from Hester and Sterling, their voices and affectations were quite similar. Tuesday is not the most likeable protagonist, although a lot of her naivety and rash decisions could be chalked up to the unusual circumstances of her time spent in the House of Unreality.

I feel like the book may have been in need of a stricter edit, since a lot of climactic scenes stalled and characters were left in strange positions while detail was inserted. While I love the detail that Barker chooses to focus on, the fact that we pause to read it means that I don’t feel the character is in real danger. If they were, they certainly wouldn’t be stopping to admire this stuff. Conversations or thought processes are repeated frequently, sometimes in the space of the same scene. Honestly, I think the book could pack more of a punch with an edit aimed at eradicating filler scenes and conversations in order to tease out Barker’s many strong points.


The verdict

Overall, I liked The Book of Days. Even if I knew what was coming most of the time, the evocative scenery made me enjoy the journey. I’m keen to see how Barker progresses as she continues to develop her narrative voice.


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One thought on “BOOK REVIEW: The Book of Days by K.A. Barker

  1. I agree! I believe the plot had great potential, but could have been executed a little better. I was one to feel that details dragged on and on, for what could have, in total, filled pages of the book. In result, I found my mind wandering in climatic scenes because of unnecessary fillers. Sometimes it’s best not to have such detail throughout the whole book, as it distracts from the plot.

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