Narrator: Fiona Hardingham, Alex Wyndham, Billie Fulford-Brown
Series: Bone Grace #1
Published by HarperCollins
Published on 3 March 2020
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Source: my local library
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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Kathryn Purdie comes a high-stakes fantasy duology flush with doomed romance and macabre magic, perfect for fans of Stephanie Garber and Roshani Chokshi.
Bone Criers are the last descendants of an ancient famille charged with using the magic they draw from animal bones to shepherd the dead into the afterlife--lest they drain the light from the living.
Ailesse has been prepared since birth to become their matriarch, but first she must complete her rite of passage: to kill the boy she's destined to love.
Bastien's father was slain by a Bone Crier and he's been seeking revenge ever since. Now his vengeance must wait, as Ailesse's ritual has begun and their fates are entwined--in life and in death.
Bone Crier’s Moon is a really good example of why, even if you didn’t enjoy the author’s first book, sometimes giving a chance to their next series can show remarkable improvement.
I was a little reluctant to read the book only because I hadn’t enjoyed Burning Glass and I was a little put off by 3 points of view, but I am happy to say that neither of those concerns are relevant to Bone Crier’s Moon.
The conflict in this book was spot on. Every character had a perfectly fitting a obstacle to overcome: Sabine needed to kill animals to obtain her magical grace bones but she was thoroughly repulsed at the thought of killing: Ailesse needed to kill her soul mate to achieve her goal of becoming a ferrier of the dead, but fell in love with him instead; and Bastian sought revenge for the murder of his father through the random murder of a leuress (bone crier), also falling in love with his target. Even Odiva, Ailess’ mother, had a tremendous personal conflict. And each of these conflicts influenced the character’s actions and drove the plot forward. It’s such a remarkable difference to the author’s first book, Burning Glass, where the main character didn’t really want or do anything, was deemed powerful for some dumb reason, and was in a pointless and obviously fake love triangle just for the hell of it. I just can’t elucidate how much I enjoyed this novel and how much the author has improved since the first time I read her. I just loved everything about this book.
At first I thought having 3 points of view was redundant, but the further along the story travelled, the more I realised why 3 POV were used, and I ended up really enjoying it.
I think the worldbuilding was incredible, it was so deep and well thought out. I loved the language and the history and the traditions. I loved how deeply thought out the culture was and how it affected the book: if you change even one thing about the worldbuilding, it would change the entire plot of the novel, and I love that the worldbuilding and the plot were so intertwined. There was also no infodumping at all, like zilch, and all of the information we needed was revealed at the perfect time to keep the book engaging. I’m just really impressed with the work gone into this.
In fact, the only criticism I have actually pertains to the quality of the audiobook recording. Every so often, I could hear a clearly a re-recorded part as the quality changed and sometimes the narrator’s energy dipped if they were in the middle of an exciting scene. I’m not sure why these random sentences had to be re-recorded. I’m not sure if they were mispronouncing the French words or maybe the first take was just garbled, but I could hear that it wasn’t smooth anymore. It’s not even something that affected my enjoyment of the novel, it’s just interesting to note and identify.
One other thing I want to mention is the lack of LGBTQA+ representation in this book. The leuress are all female and so far their ‘soulmates’ are all male. It would be excellent to see something a little different in the next book, even if it’s that the leuress develop romantic relationships with each other seeing as how they are cloistered away from mainstream society. I mean, they can’t all possibly be straight, right? Right? Anyway, the lack of diversity doesn’t affect my rating, I just think it would have been a nice touch.
And yes there is fantasy violence, the living dead, and unfortunately also the killing of animals, but it worked together in this book. I do not support or condone animal cruelty in any way whatsoever, but I’m also not letting it affect the rating of this book since I don’t think it detracted. The animal killing wasn’t cruel, and it was necessary for the leuress to do their job and ferry the dead.
I also want to mention that although I think the cover is pretty – another Charlie Bowater one if I’m not mistaken – I wasn’t drawn to read this book because of the cover. Like I mentioned at the start of the review, I was hesitant to read this because I didn’t like the author’s first book, but she has improved so much since then that I’m really eager to read forthcoming novels.
Overall I can’t really believe this is by the same author as Burning Glass, which was bland and basic. This book is exciting and engaging, with an excellent plot, worldbuilding, characters, and narration. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire thing and I’m very excited to dive into the next one.