August Wrap Up

So I started uni, it’s only been a week but I already feel worried about the workload so hey ho I might have to go on a hiatus at some point but we’ll see, hopefully I can schedule posts well enough.

I’m back in Glasgow which is where I want to be always, apart from when I miss my dog. I have a new flatmate and she’s super nice and our flat is really great and really easy for uni.

I posted blogs about my adventures in China and Hong Kong.

Books I read this month:

The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan
The Tiger’s Watch by Julie Ember
The Melody of You and Me by M. Hollis
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell
Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
Sanctuary by Rebekah Weatherspoon
The Lady of Royale Street by Thea De Salle
Saga Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

Books I reviewed this month:

Frostbite by Richelle Mead
The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
The Queen of Dauphine Street by Thea De Salle
Dark Lover by J.R. Ward
The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid
Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Books I bought this month:

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayesha Malik
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
Temeraire by Naomi Novik
Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik
Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik
Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
Wicked Like Wildfire by Lana Popovic (Fairyloot)
Scandalized by Tara Frejas
Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher
Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
The List by Siobhan Vivian
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

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The Goodreads Book Tag #2

Thank you to Heather for the tag! I’ve done this one before so I’m not going to tag anyone but I did it some months ago so I thought I’d do it again for the questions that would’ve changed!


Sanctuary by Rebekah Weatherspoon




Truth or Dare by Non Pratt




Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard


I have this book out from the library so I kind of have to read it next.


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Yes I challenged myself to read 100 books and I am at 88 books read (28 ahead of schedule).  I am kicking the challenge in it’s ass.




I’m trying to stop myself from buying books right now, but I do pop into charity shops every now and again and scoop up some bargains so we’ll see.


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The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

I saw a lot of hype on this book and my friend Den recommended it to me so I decided to pick it up. And I have seen a lot of discussion on the possibility of there being a slave/master relationship and it’s a very difficult concept in this book as there’s so much more to it than that, however if you are not a fan of a slave/master relationship be careful with this book, it isn’t exactly that type of thing but certain parts could trigger you.

Paige is a clairvoyant in London, 2059 where it is illegal to be a clairvoyant. She works for the criminal underworld as that’s all she can really do without risk of being caught, though it comes with it’s risks regardless. One day she’s unlucky enough to be on a train with a raid and gets caught. But instead of dying she is taken to Oxford, which has been the home of aliens called Rephaites for 200 years as they’ve been gradually taking more clairvoyants.

This book was super complicated, it felt like I was reading a high fantasy even though it was more sci-fi/dystopian/paranormal, but for all the different jargon and terms I had a hard time remembering what everything was. The world building is incredible an there’s so much in it that it really does feel like it’s own world and not a variance of our own world but it is a bit hard to wrap your head around at times. It did take me about half the book to figure out what the deal was, though I don’t know if that was because I was reading it in Asia or not.

Whilst I remembered the main characters easily enough there were a lot of side characters and I found it really hard to remember who each of them were. Especially once Paige had moved to Oxford.

Whilst there was no romantic relationship between Paige and her owner, Warden, in this novel I could see it being built up which kind of annoyed me because it’s not necessary to always have a relationship just because they’re the main 2 characters. Never mind the fact that their relationship is so complicated, him being her owner after all. But as you go through the novel you find out that things are even more complicated and Warden isn’t exactly like the rest of his kind. This obviously doesn’t nullify the problematicness (is that even a word?) of the relationship being in fiction with the past the world has had with slave and owner relationships. I think it’s up to you where you stand on the issue, I’ve had POC friends find it really offensive and some who have adored it.

I’m scared to jump into the next book because I’m currently not really in the mood to read it but I worry if I leave it too long I’ll forget everything that happened in this book.

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Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Thank you to netgalley and Bloomsbury for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Juliet writes letters to her mother and leaves them on her grave. One day someone writes back.

Honestly this just felt like your classic YA novel about grief. I didn’t make any notes to myself when reading it so clearly I didn’t feel like there was anything of note. It was fine. I didn’t love it didn’t hate it. I will have to say though that even though it’s not exactly anything new the writing style really pulls you in and you can’t put it down. I think part of what drew me in was that the were writing letters to each other and didn’t know who they were writing to and it reminded me of You’ve Got Mail which is one of my favourite romance films.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Juliet as the main character. Her voice kind of annoyed me and at times she was super self indulgent and had really bad reactions to things, but I had to remind myself that she’s a teenager and teenagers are dramatic. I kind of had a soft spot for Declan though he wasn’t the greatest guy ever. They were both pretty flawed characters, which of course makes it good writing because they’re human.

I think mostly what annoyed me most, and this is a bit spoilery, was that a character finds out who the other is way earlier than the other and then didn’t communicate with that person and let them know. So half the novel is just a lack of communication, which is ok if it’s only a small part of it but I got pretty frustrated.

The book was well written and I liked reading it but it didn’t feel like anything new, it was like I’d read it before. Which is fine for someone who doesn’t read a lot of contemporary novels, but I do and it just didn’t bring anything memorable to the table. But if you’re a fan of You’ve Got Mail definitely give this one a shot.

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Asia Travel Blog #4 – Hong Kong

So to set the scene I’m going to tell you how our journey to Hong Kong started. We got on the bus to board our flight from Shanghai (click for my post on China) and were driven around for about 20 minutes, then we were taken back to the terminal. When we got back to the terminal they told us our flight was delayed and they would update us. About an hour later we finally boarded the plane. Where we sat on the tarmac for 3 hours.

Thankfully we eventually got to Hong Kong, Joanne tells me the flight was the worst turbulence ever, as we went through a huge storm but I slept through it.

Our hotel was one of those like tiny box rooms like most hotels in Hong Kong are because they have too many people for the space but for how small the room was they have good spatial management and it actually felt clean.

Hong Kong is such a weird place because obviously it’s Cantonese so has a lot of Chinese values inbedded in their infrastructure but because British people were so involved in the build up of at as a City there’s some really Western behaviours and the two do not create a good mix in my opinion because the people are pretty pushy. And lets not even talk about how many people tried to sell me shit.

On the first day we took a trip to the Big Buddha, like the typical White Girls we are. If you went to Hong Kong and didn’t get a picture with Big Buddha did you really go to Hong Kong?

When we got there there was just so many white people doing stupid things and I was so ashamed to be the same race as them. And then a huge tour group of Latinx students appeared and it was like they were having some sort of photoshoot for a magazine honestly I’ve never seen so many people take so many ridiculous photos. We spent at least 20 minutes just watching them and taking the piss out of them. I understand getting a few selfies and group shots because hey we did that but man going so overboard is just a bit disrespectful.

After visiting the Big Buddha we went for a wander around Hong Kong island before heading to the Happy Valley Race Course, which was very surreal. It was the equivalent of £1 to get in and just watch. I don’t like Horse Racing so I only went because Joanne wanted to go, but again I spent the majority of the time there people watching. There were these very weird model types advertising Quiksilver but we have no idea why and a pair of them were flirting until his girlfriend appeared thinking she was bloody Gigi Hadid and marked her territory, it was hilarious. There was also a band who thought they were the best band ever and they kept playing very bizarre songs.

On our second full day in Hong Kong we decided to go to Disney as we originally planned to go on our last day but there was weather warnings so we didn’t want to miss going.

If you’re in Hong Kong you have to go to Disney because it’s fucking empty, it’s amazing. You can go around the park twice in one day, I went on Space Mountain twice (which is a feat in its self as I hate coasters) which you should know is super difficult to do normally. Please look at the pics below and see the ridiculous ride photo we got. Joanne got her degree classification whilst we were there, so we were crying into our veggie curry’s in Disney.

On our final day we went up to Victoria Peak on the tram, which was a bit terrifying to be honest. We bought our tickets as a combo ticket for the 360 view but once we got up there the cloud was just not moving. They hadn’t even warned us when we got our ticket which I think was pretty shitty but hey capitalism. The staff kept telling us the cloud was moving but it didn’t really.

We took the Star Ferry around the harbour, I felt like I was going to vomit most of the time, which I’m not normally like on boats but man alive it was so bumpy.

Later on that day we saw the Symphony of Lights, which was also super disappointing as it wasn’t even anything fantastic it was just some lights and everyone was pure buzzing and I was just like… is that it? We then got some pizza that was larger than our faces.

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Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Aw this book is honestly so sweet. It was one of the books I was super excited for this year and it did not let me down.

It surrounds a convention for all the youtubers and geeky types like us lot where a group of friends travel from Australia to LA for the weekend of their dreams.

The book is pretty short and whilst I really liked my time with the book I felt like there isn’t much for me to say.

This could’ve easily been a 5 star read for me as the style was so easy to read and the representation was on point. There was Asian Rep, aspie rep, anxiety Rep, chubby Rep, bisexual Rep, lesbian Rep. However I felt like there was just something a little lacking and it’s not something I could ever pin point but it just wasn’t quite in the favourites position for me

The book follows 2 blossoming relationships and it was honestly just really sweet to read. There was little miscommunications and classic tropes from YA romance that just makes you squeal with delight.

Even though my review is a bit thin on the ground I do hope you read this book because it just made me really happy when I read it and I can’t wait to read the next Jen Wilde book because I feel like it’s going to be a 5 star.

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The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

I got this book from the library as it was so hyped up last year but I wasn't sure if I would enjoy it as much as I hoped but man I did not expect this to be as good as it was. I don't read a lot of sci fi so hey maybe it's not the most original thing ever but it read as pretty original to me.

In The Diabolic the world allows for humans to be grown in labs to become killers, that's what Nemesis is. However these humans are made illegal and Nem's owner is supposed to kill her, but instead they send her to the capital pretending she is Sidonia, her owner and best friend in an effort to hide her in plain site and also to protect Sidonia.

For such a short book in terms of it's genre this book is so full of twists and turns you'll be gasping incessantly. You won't know who to trust, you think you know a character but you don't. And I would say this had some really good writing because I could not see some of the twists coming, and I watch a lot of drama and crime shows on tv because of my parents so I'm normally pretty good at guessing twists.

I think what I really enjoyed about this book was the subtle little hints about a romantic subplot that if you weren't paying attention you would miss them until it began to build up. I could see it happening and it was so good to read it becoming part of the plot more and more and I think that's just really great writing.

On top of this, I know this isn't something that should be celebrated and should just be human decency but we all know not all humans are decent, there was language that was just generally trans inclusive. Instead of asking someone what gender they were someone asked someone what gender they identified with. And I just found it really good to see language like that being used in fantasy when so many people make fantasy worlds that basically just ignore trans people (cough SJM cough).

The world building was fantastic. It didn't focus much on location and scenery but focused on building the political landscape. I really felt like a got a good grip of what kind of a world this is set in. Even though I don't know what it looks like, but often I find it hard to imagine anyway and I find the political climate or having a well established power authority or religion helps me understand the world much better.

I'm actually desperate to find it what happens in the rest of the series. I was kind of sad to find that the book was a series and not a standalone though because the ending would've been a really solid ending for a standalone but hey ho. If this is how the author wants to tell her story I'm still interested.

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Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

I decided to pick this book up from the library because it’s the biggest series in terms of vampire romance. And let’s be honest, this is the trashiest of trash but when I read it I was just in the mood for it.

Wreath leads the Black Dagger Brotherhood, the oldest clan of vampires in New York, his second in command has just died after telling Wrath that he has a daughter. Now Wrath must look after this half-breed daughter as she is about to change into a vampire, but of course he bonds with her.

First of all there is violent scenes against both humans and animals so if that could trigger you be wary.

The biggest thing that jumped out to me with this book was how weird it was in terms of feminism. The writer clearly wanted to write something more forward thinking on the heterosexual relationship and gender roles front but this was written 12 years ago and you can clearly see when reading it that modern feminism has come leaps and bounds in just those 12 years. There were times I was reading this thinking “yes, right on” then a couple of sentences later there would be a thought from the MC that was degrading to other women. There was also a lot of male chauvanist scenes, which the writer would sometimes show in a bad light but then sometimes show in a good light and I found it a bit confusing. But that’s possibly just because I’ve grown so used to the way things are now and it’s weird to read something written not so long ago that is pretty different from the way things are now.

Ward has created her own niche language with this book which is fine but I did occasionally feel a bit odd about it. It’s clearly derived from some sort of Russian based language but it definitely felt off.

The most different thing for me when reading this book is that Wrath is a blind vampire. You don’t read about that often as vampires in most books are “perfect” and as soon as they are changed all disabilities become nulled. I’m not blind and J.R. Ward isn’t blind so I can’t speak for the representation of the lack of sight but it was interesting to read that’s for sure.

To be honest, with this book it was not the best writing, not the most original, the world building was just not great, and there was a lot of weird insta-love. The sex scenes felt cringey and I honestly was not attracted to Wrath at all, the way he was described had me conjuring an image of this huge mountain of flesh which some people might find attractive but I don’t. I think had my expectations been higher for this book I would’ve been thoroughly disappointed but because I knew what I was getting going into it I didn’t find it to be too terrible. I’m not interested in reading the rest of the series though as none of the side characters jumped out at me.

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The Queen of Dauphine Street by Thea De Salle

So this book follows side characters from The King of Bourbon Street, like most romance series seem to do. Maddy is crazy rich, richer than you could imagine but she has a messy past. Darren is a typical Texas boy and is best friends with Maddy’s exes brother but an ex makes an attempt on his life and Maddy is there to save the day and take him away to New Orleans on her boat to protect him.

Whilst I loved Maddy this book did feel like a bit of a downgrade from the first book. But maybe I just loved Sol and Rain so much that anything would feel like that.

It did kind of feel a bit off the wall at times for honest. It was fun but because it’s based around Maddy who leads a ridiculous life things would happen that just don’t actually happen so though this is a contemporary you have to suspend your belief at times.

A lot of this book takes place in New Orleans, of course, so it made me really happy to read about Sol and Rain as their relationship was a little bit further on in time.

The most important thing for me in this book was Maddy. Though she was a bit wacky she was so unapologetic in her sexuality. She was bi, and she never hid it. Whenever speaking about past experiences she never glossed over her sleeping with men and women and she didn’t downplay it. And though I am not bi, pan and bi kind of go along in the same boat in terms of representation in media or lack thereof. So Maddy was a really important character for me.

There are possible triggers in this book for stalking and guns so if that’s something that could set you off be careful with this book.

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The Book of Luce by L. R. Fredericks | Blog Tour | Chapter 1 Extract


My obsession begins in the magical year 1967, at Luce and the Photons’ legendary last secret gig.
That night changes my life: I must know who Luce is. But the deeper I dig, the more questions I turn up. Is Luce a rock star or a pretender? An artist or an acid trip?
My redemption . . . or my delusion?
Drawn into the machinations of mysterious powers, I become the dark shadow who follows the light of Luce. But who follows me? Are they agents of evil or figments of my imagination? And do they follow me still?
The quest for Luce will lead me to the farthest corners of the earth and into the deadliest danger. I will lose everything and everyone I love . . . except for Luce.
Who is pawn and who is player? Murderer or victim? Betrayer or saviour?
I am the only one who knows the truth.
This is the truth.
This is The Book of Luce.


Some might find it offensive that I, of all people, should write the story of Luce. Others may find it ironic. It may well be both, but it is also the completion of the task I began fifty years ago. It has always been my life’s true purpose, though they did their damnedest to convince me that Luce was just a figment of my deranged imagination. And, to survive, I did my damnedest to persuade them that I believed them. I did this so well that I almost forgot. But now I have been called again; I have received Signs.

I won’t pretend to be an ordinary biographer. I’m not sure I can be any more objective about my subject – or should that be object? – than about myself. But if Luce’s story is tangled with mine it can only be because Luce wanted it that way.

I’ll never know why they finally decided to deport me. What I took for yet another chapter in the long-running saga of my persecution by the obtuse officials of the Nevada State Council for Adult Offender Supervision seems to have spirited me back to my old life, my Real life, my life with Luce. The door that I’ve spent more than half of my life pretending toignore has opened and, like a rogue joker sneaking out of the pack during the course of a fumbling card trick, I’ve returned to myself at last.

Maintaining an attitude of utter compliance and mild, baffled disinterest in my circumstances has been an essential part of my strategy for so long that if anyone bothered to tell me exactly where I was to go, I paid no heed. Back to England, back to England, that was all I knew. I didn’t let myself think about it. Never betray interest. Play dead. My brother had made arrangements, they said; it was meant to be reassuring.

What with jet lag and shock at so much change in such a short time, not to mention the temazepam I took to get through the flight, I was a bit out of it when I arrived last night. It had all been a blur: car, airport, aeroplane, airport, come with us please, car, roads, a building, sign in please, stairs, this way please. A door, a flat: my flat. Good night.

The first thing I did was open a window. It was raining hard – good, serious English rain. The rain of home. I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed it, trapped for all these years in dry and dusty Nevada. I let the dark drops wash my face.

The building looked out over what I, in my muddled state, took for a lake; across the expanse of black water was a house with many windows glowing. I blinked and squinted through the rain. Could it be? My God, of all the places to have ended up. The poignancy of it nearly killed me. It was Farundell, where Luce first initiated me into his mysteries, long before I knew who she was. Over the decades it had apparently been swallowed up in some kind of ghastly suburban sprawl.

Of course I was wrong; it wasn’t Farundell. (I’m in Enfield, as it turns out. Enfield! And not just Enfield, but an obscure district on its western edge called, with stupendous aptness, World’s End.) The lake, the house – it was a brief trick of the light, or maybe a trick of Luce. Before long the rain slackened, the air cleared, delusion receded. I beheld a wide black slick of tarmac, not a lake. A car park, deserted, and beyond it a smattering of streetlights, not a house. But in that sudden recognition, mistaken though it was, something jolted in me, shook itself, unfurled creaky, neglected wings, rose and lifted itself out into the night to soar and dance among the softly raining stars above Farundell, above a dark island and a chamber darker still. And last night I dreamed the Dream again, the one I’d almost forgotten. The Dream of the Cavern. I woke with the feeling of the thread in my hand. That thread, so long lain lax, is tightening. I know it’s a Sign.

The second Sign arrives with my brother. It isn’t Neil himself, of course, but what he brings, unasked-for, un-heralded. He’s a bit early; I’m not quite prepared and the knock on my door sends a jolt of anxiety through my nerves. I straighten my clothes, smooth my hair and open the door.

‘Hey Weirdo,’ he says.

‘Hey Arsehole.’

He’s changed remarkably little: fatter, balder, an extra chin or two. It is the immense blandness of his face (a feature, or should I say a lack of feature, apparent from infancy) that has always bothered me the most, and it’s hard to forget that for many years I believed he was a demon-simulacrum, not a real human being at all.

‘Good to see you,’ he says. ‘Glad you’re back. Yes. Glad you’re back. So . . .’ His eyes slide this way and that; he doesn’t know where to look.

‘It’s this one.’ I point to my right eye. ‘This is the glass one.’

‘Oh, right. Sorry.’ He makes that shrug, that little wince of repugnance I remember so well. It always had the capacity to enrage me with its implication of distaste and disdain that he was too polite (or cowardly) to express openly. Now his attitude has a sound basis in history; when we were children, it was pure instinct. Dear old Arsehole. We just don’t get along.

‘Thanks for arranging all this.’ My gesture endeavours to convey my gratitude for the grandeur of these lino-floored, woodchip-wallpapered three hundred and sixty-six square feet. (I paced it out last night.)

‘No problem. Glad I could help. Yes. Glad to be of use. So . . . you all right, then? Good journey? How was the flight? Get a decent meal? How do you like this place? Pretty nice, huh? Everything you need. You always were for the simple life.’

Is this a snide reference to the massive complication I made of my life? Just because I’m criminally insane, I want to say, it doesn’t mean I’m stupid. But it does, it does. I play stupid as if my life depends upon it. I make my face smile.

He looks around, rubs his hands. ‘It’s not bad, is it? Not bad at all. Gets the morning sun. Little kitchen, nice. Cosy bedroom, en-suite. Comfy bed? Good. Nice people, too, don’t you think? Oh, by the way, thought you’d like . . . we brought that stuff you left in the attic. Some boxes, remember? Years, long time ago. From before . . . well, you know. We thought it might help you feel at home, to have your old things.’

My teeth have been grinding of their own accord. I have always found Neil’s chummy, pseudo-familial familiarity grating in the extreme. I say pseudo because he is not, Deo gratias, my real brother. I was adopted shortly before he was conceived; my presence in the ‘family’ as a second-best and not-really-needed-after-all appendage has always been awkward for him and for the parents. This awkwardness was only exacerbated by the fact that he, the younger, was very soon much the bigger – physically if not morally. While maintaining a fond and patronising demeanour in public, in private he used the crude advantage of size to subject me to innumerable indignities. My superiority in the intellectual sphere, which I could never fully conceal, did not mitigate his hostility. Quite the reverse.

We go downstairs. Something begins to tickle at my mind through the sticky, gritty cloud of my irritation with Neil. I’m getting the first inkling that an event of possible significance may be waiting, concealed in this mild April morning. Stepping outside, bright sunshine stings my eyes. Luce, I think, and hear a sort of hum in reply. My heart starts to pound.

Neil’s parked in front. He has one of those vast, shiny contraptions that look like they could scale the Himalayas before breakfast, except they’d rather not get their skirts dirty. That must be his wife in the driver’s seat, talking on the phone. Rather a lot of make-up for a woman of her age who’s not – as far as I know – a professional whore. And she’s obviously on the Botox. It’s like she’s wearing a hypothetical face. No wonder I thought she was a simulacrum, too. Still talking, she waves cheerily to me like we last saw each other day-before-yesterday. What’s her name? I never remember her name. Oh yeah, Dot. Ridiculous name for a woman.

‘Hi Dot,’ I say.

‘Jesus, Weirdo. This is Cindy. My. Wife. Cindy.’ Neil gives me a look that says he knows – and wants me to know he knows – that I do this sort of thing deliberately. I don’t.


Neil thinks I’m being sarcastic. ‘Back a day and already impossible.’

‘I’m glad not to be changed beyond recognition, then,’ I say, immediately chastising myself for the slip into acerbity.

He opens the back of the car. His attempt to make a tetchy gesture of it is foiled by the hydraulics, which lift the door ever so gently, emitting a sedate hiss. Boxes, five or six boxes. But could it be? Oh my God. I recognise it. I think I do. That small one at the back. Yes! Would he have brought it if he’d known what it was? Certainly not. Would I have dared ask for it? I assumed he’d destroyed everything long ago. It’s what demons do.

Treasure, long-hidden treasure. Going incognito, pretending to be an ordinary box, one of several, nothing special. Scuffed, corners squashed, bound with packing tape, now brittle and peeling, and green sisal twine. The address label has fallen off but I remember that twine, how it left green streaks on my scared, sweaty hands as I tied it up. The box seems to glow from within – I sincerely hope no one else can see that. It’s Luce’s box. This is the second Sign.

My face never gives anything away. ‘Oh, thanks,’ I say. ‘Wonder what’s here. I forgot all about this stuff.’

We carry the boxes to my flat, where they take up most of the space in the sitting room. Neil leaves, what a relief, mercifully declining my offer of a cup of tea. It’s just me and the boxes now: me and my past. Dear God, let me not become one of those pathetic, repulsive old people who shuffle about in a narrow space crowded to death by stacks of newspapers and the mouse-infested relics of their long-dead lives.

Two boxes contain miscellaneous stuff, including some wonderful old clothes: my floppy fedora with the peacock feather, a silk scarf with an Aubrey Beardsley print that Charlie gave me, a green velvet jacket from the King’s Road, an Indian-print shirt from Haight-Ashbury. Others contain books – I’ll deal with them later. They served their purpose: the flock of sheep that smuggled in the goat.

I turn at last to Luce’s box. I had never dared to hope it would come back to me; I’d grown accustomed to the idea that my past was non-existent, in any reliable way. And now I have a flash of doubt. Might this be the work of a demon of False Hope? Cunning little buggers, but I thought I’d extinguished them years ago. All I have is my memory of the green twine and the stains it left on my hands. I look at them; obviously they’re not green any more. And the glow I saw in the back of Neil’s car? I might have imagined that. If I see it now, it’s only wishful thinking.

I get impatient with myself. This box either is or isn’t what I think it is. My past is either dead or alive; like Schrödinger’s cat, it is both and neither until the box is opened. Do I truly want to know? Oh for fuck’s sake. Open the damn thing. Cut the twine, peel away the packing tape. Open the box.

I have to sit back and take a deep breath. This is it, this is it, this is it! Tears come to my eyes. I feel like a resurrected corpse. With trembling hands I unpack the treasures, untouched for all these years: my draft manuscript of The Book of Luce, plus notebooks and files, interview tapes and transcripts, articles, diaries and journals, newspaper clippings, letters. The records of my search for Luce, the testimonies of the witnesses. Here is René, here is Karen, and here, oh here, is Rachel. I’m half afraid all this will disintegrate like ancient bones in a too-suddenly unsealed tomb. Here’s my original Human album; here is L’Age Atomique, a priceless rarity, perhaps the only one in the world.

Thank you, I say. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

At the bottom, an old box of Gitanes, Luce’s brand and therefore my own, when I can get them. It must have fallen out of my pocket as I packed. All unsuspecting, I open it.

It’s full of rose petals, but they’re not dry or faded. They spill onto the table, soft and fresh and sublimely fragrant. They cannot possibly have fallen from the flower more than an hour ago. I put the box down and back away. Owing to the modest dimensions of the room, I cannot back very far. I close my eyes, count to a hundred. I open my eyes. The rose petals are still there, blithely emitting their rapturous impossibility. It’s the third Sign. I make myself a strong cup of tea.

These three Signs have convinced me that the time has come to write The Book of Luce. Contrary to popular opinion, including my own, it would appear that I am not ashes on the dust-heap of history. My life in the Real world, so long an underground river running deep beneath the polluted realm of mundane Earth and the semi-conscious parasites who inhabit its surface, has emerged.

My mission is now clear: to fulfil my task, to tell the story of Luce. And his mission? Will I ever know? Was she Messiah, Avatar, Bodhisattva? A Superhuman, the long-awaited Nietzschean Übermensch? Was he the first of a new type of human, and will we all be like her one day? Or was he a fluke, an accident, a random confluence of powers and perceptions, a freak, a genetic quirk, merely the greatest artist of all time? As I assemble these fragments of her life and work, as I line them up, put them in order, draw arcs of influence and association, cause and effect, as I try to make the dull-minded world understand . . . surely I will find the real Luce at last.

So wake up, Chimera Obscura! I summon you to remember. Here you come, stepping out of the shadows: a ghost in green velvet, a peacock feather in your hat. Go forth, beautiful one! Go forth and remember.

The Book Of Luce Cover.jpg

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Thanks to Jenni Leech for arranging this blog tour!

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