Friday, July 31, 2015

The Blue by Lucy Clarke

I stumbled upon Lucy Clarke last year, and fell in love with her two books, Swimming at Night and A Single Breath. Both of them made it onto my favourites list for the year, and they're books I push onto others whenever I can. Clarke's writing is just so beautiful and readable. That's not to say it's simple or mindless, because it's definitely not. Her books are detailed, and I absolutely love the mystery in all of them.  The Blue was perhaps a little darker and grittier than her previous two, but it was just as great! I started this book on June 30th, but read the majority of it on Canada Day because I could not put it down.
Go ahead and drop me right into that cover. I'd be one happy girl.
Clarke is a master at writing settings that will transport you and make you never want to return to reality. I lose myself in the beautiful surroundings in her books. The Blue had me picturing long, lazy days laying on beaches and snorkeling through coral reefs, while spending the evenings drifting through the ocean on a beautiful yacht. If you have severe wanderlust, like I do, beware, this book will make it 10x worse. 
Best friends Kitty and Lana decide to take a trip after some personal issues come to a head, and find themselves enchanted by The Blue, a yacht being sailed by a group of misfits looking for adventure. After befriending the crew, they are invited to continue to sail with the group. In total, there are seven people aboard the yacht, so one can imagine that there would be problems. No one ever imagined a death, though, and that's what happens after one crew member disappears overboard.
The characters in this book were fantastic. Considering that there's seven of them, they're all very well developed. Everyone appears to be keeping a secret and no one is entirely up front about why they've come to The Blue. When you live and breathe the sea, trust in your fellow crew members is essential, but what do you do when you're not sure you can trust anyone? The story is told mostly through Lana's point of view after she leaves the yacht, with the perspective switching between the present, and her time on the yacht. Dual perspectives is one of my favourite writing styles when done well, and it works really well in this book. It definitely drew me into the story even more. I HAD to know why Lana left the yacht, and Kitty, behind. 
Lucy Clarke tends to reveal the big event early on, and then spends the rest of the book describing what led to the event, and the consequences. In this case, the big event is that the yacht has sunk and all crew members are missing, including Kitty. Once that was revealed, I was done. I needed more. There are always fantastic twists and turns and a few moments where I stopped reading and just said, "what?!" to myself.
Oh, and that epilogue. Oooh, that epilogue! Killed me. RIP me.

If I haven't convinced you to read this, Simon and Schuster Canada have kindly provided an excerpt from the book! Read below to get hooked:
The paintbrush slips from Lana’s fingers, turning through the air as it falls. It clatters to the floor at the foot of the easel, splattering tiny flecks of blue acrylic paint against her ankle.

Lana doesn’t glance down, doesn’t notice the spots of paint that decorate the small tattoo of a wing inked on her ankle. Her gaze remains fixed on the radio that sits on the windowsill, her fingers raised as if still holding the brush to the canvas. That silver box of metal and wires holds the entire sum of her concentration as she focuses on the voice of a news presenter.

“...has sunk a hundred nautical miles off the north coast of New Zealand. The yacht—The Blue—was believed to have left Fiji eight days ago with a crew of five on board, including two New Zealanders. A search-and-rescue operation has been launched from the Maritime Rescue Centre at the Bay of Islands. The Coast Guard has described the sea state as moderate with wind speeds of up to twenty knots.”

Lana blinks, struggling to absorb the information, as if it’s rain running off hard, scorched earth. Her gaze bores into the radio, willing it to disclose something more, but the newscaster has already moved on to the next story.

She turns on the spot, lifting a hand to her head. She feels the cool silk of her headscarf keeping her hair off her face. It has been eight months since she stepped from that yacht, her skin tanned, her feet bare, a backpack heaved onto her shoulders. She’d walked along the shoreline with dark hollows beneath her eyes and hadn’t looked back. She couldn’t.

As she turns, she catches sight of herself in the long mirror that leans against her apartment wall. She stares: her face has paled, and large green eyes glare back at her, wide with questions. Was Kitty still on board after all this time? Had she stayed even after Lana left? It’s possible that Kitty could have returned to England. Lana tries to picture her riding the Tube with a script in her hand, glossy dark hair loose over her shoulders, her lips painted red. But the image won’t form, not clearly. She knows that Kitty wouldn’t have left the yacht, because how could either of them go home after what’d happened?

See? You know you want to find out what happens! The Blue by Lucy Clarke is available August 4th from all major book retailers. Check it out, as you will not be disappointed. Five out of five wanderlust filled stars.

A copy of this book was graciously provided by Simon and Schuster Canada, so thank you to them!

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