I read Footsteps of Galatea straight after Goods by Hand as I had to know what was really happening. I had a thirst for answers and needed the juices of enlightenment to quench me. Having turned the last page, I still had a feeling that I needed to know more. There was so much in this book that was mysterious, and alluded to, that I longed for further explanation. But I think that is just me wanting to know everything. Part of the power of this book is that it is so fascinating, so deeply engrossing, that by the end it leaves you wanting. You simply need to know more, but like a dream that intertwines, between scenes, emotions, the words of this book play out fantastical notions, and you just accept that this is what is going to be revealed to you. Visceral writing taunts you to read more, and you do. Loving words balance against vicious actions, and each page delivers a delicious deviation from the world of normal. I am in awe of Miss Cain’s writing talent, and her imaginative mind turning such a dark supernatural tale. In her first book, Goods by Hand, the ink and Saffron play a key role, but in this sequel, the ink takes almost a backseat, and it is Omikia who erupts into a character that is capable of anything. It is most affecting given her kindness to Mina and playful personality in the first book, to see Omikia literally turn into a hideous, hurtful creature bent on making the lives of all who love her suffer. Her power seems unstoppable. With Saffron unable to communicate, and Mina banished from the Miller household, a dark portent looms over the book. With the arrival of Leilah, Mina’s daughter, the tone lifts and becomes lighter, despite horrific engagements at Omikia’s hand, as a reader you feel that a balance is restoring. Reading this book, one character that shifted my perception was Richard. Although a terribly awful individual, a criminal clearly, there was also a sense of something else, a need to be genuinely loved. I found him to be pitiful despite his wickedness. This is a book to be read and savoured. It is not a speed read. It is one where the reader should linger on the words written with almost poetic grace, and enjoy the mystical magnificence that Miss Cain has created. And read Goods by Hand first, as this book will be so much better if you do.
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