I am lucky enough to be on the review copy list for the lovely folk over at Harper360YA and they were kind enough to send me a review copy of one of their latest books Bone Crier’s Moon to read and review. So…here we are!
Can you tell I’ve written a lot of reviews lately? Intros are hard.
Bone Criers have a sacred duty. They alone can keep the dead from preying on the living. But their power to ferry the spirits of the dead into goddess Elara’s Night Heavens or Tyrus’s Underworld comes from sacrifice. The gods demand a promise of dedication. And that promise comes at the cost of the Bone Criers’ one true love.
Ailesse has been prepared since birth to become the matriarch of the Bone Criers, a mysterious famille of women who use strengths drawn from animal bones to ferry dead souls. But first she must complete her rite of passage and kill the boy she’s also destined to love.
Bastien’s father was slain by a Bone Crier and he’s been seeking revenge ever since. Yet when he finally captures one, his vengeance will have to wait. Ailesse’s ritual has begun and now their fates are entwined—in life and in death.
Sabine has never had the stomach for the Bone Criers’ work. But when her best friend Ailesse is taken captive, Sabine will do whatever it takes to save her, even if it means defying their traditions—and their matriarch—to break the bond between Ailesse and Bastien. Before they all die.
In the last six months or so I got myself into a bit of a YA slump. More so than pretty much any other genre YA really does have the power to completely burn me out. Or maybe I burn out on YA? Is that the same thing? I’m not sure. I’m getting my mojo back a little now but I’ve been pondering why it is that YA – a type of fiction I really do enjoy and read a lot of, can grow so stale so quickly whereas adult fantasy doesn’t in quite the same way. Why does that have anything to do with Bone Crier’s Moon? Well – I think this book encompasses some of the ways YA can be great and some of the ways it can be a little tiresome – and sometimes how it can simultaneously be both!
One of the ways YA fantasy can be great is the worldbuilding because YA is so tropey (often it is, don’t hate me for saying it), it allows those similar and familiar storylines into quite weird worlds without feeling totally out there. Having a world where strange women play a bone instrument to summon a mate over a weird magical bridge – very odd, but the ‘he captures her but she’s so hot and he’s quite hot’ is familiar enough so your brain kind of just lets the weird stuff happen.
That’s not to say a trope can’t be tiring, in this case, I wasn’t a big fan of the romance, I think the ‘oh I can’t keep you captive waiting to kill you any longer you hot stuff you’ romance storyline is one that I’m never going to love – though that’s maybe a bit of a personal choice. I also feel like I’m hitting saturation on ‘best friend’ storylines as well – again could just be me but I feel I need a good ‘two women who don’t like each other at the start’ kind of story to mix things up a little.
I liked elements of this book, I liked the exploration of how different animals might give you different powers – it was interesting pondering what other examples might be as I’m not sure the book took full advantage of the magic system. I also thought that some of the twists and turns were quite clever, and there were times when the story defied tropes and went somewhere new. Unfortunately, a ya fantasy that heavily focusses on the romance isn’t always something I’m in the mood for and in this case I feel there were more interesting things in this world I wanted to know about – so the romance felt more than a little frustrating as a result.
As with a lot of similar books, I think that if you don’t read a lot of YA, or you’re just coming to the genre, you might really enjoy this. For a long-time reader it felt just a little stale for my taste – though it’s perfectly fine it wasn’t working wonders for me.
My rating: 3/5 stars
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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