Title: 24 Bones
Author: Michael F. Stewart
Publisher: Non Sequitur Press
Pages: Ebook; 325
Release Date: February 15, 2013
Source: Tribute Books
Genre: Fantasy / Mystery
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy a mixing of myths and legends, and discussion of dark vs. light.
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Every five hundred years the phoenix dies.
Samiya, born-into-shadow, is soon to battle her born-into-light brother. Abandoned by their parents, neither wishes to play the preordained role of beast and hero. When their loved ones are taken hostage, they are forced to follow the path laid out in myth, culminating in a battle first fought six thousand years ago in ancient Cairo. A mythic clash where one defeats the other and both become gods.
To break free from their fates, Samiya and her brother must unravel a mystery twisted by cults, greed, and magic. But myth is a powerful force and failure to live up to it may not only destroy their lives but the lives of the ones they love most.
When the phoenix dies, the only certainty is flames.
Mixing religious aspects with the legends of old, 24 Bones is a book that really impressed me. I'll admit that I did have to re-read the prologue once to really understand what was being set up for me. Still, from that point on I was completely immersed in this story. A warning, don't read this before bed. You won't sleep, you'll just keep reading.
Although I'm not one hundred percent certain about the accuracy of the history described here, I can say that 24 Bones makes it feel real. At the end of the day, isn't that all that matters? Michael Stewart creates a story that meshes the old world with the new, and brings to life an epic battle between good and evil. It honors the idea of balance and ultimate power. There are so many layers within Samiya's story, and it creates a whole reading experience.
It's hard to discuss the characters in detail because they are so vividly written and plentiful. Our group of heroes, and their villainous counterparts race to come out the victors in the quest for domination. I very much enjoyed the blurred lines between good and evil here. Stewart shows that there isn't a stark delineation and that intent has a lot to do with it as well. With twists, and turns, you never quite know where loyalties lie in this book.
Suffice it to say that 24 Bones drew me in from the beginning. There were slight slow parts, but really they were there to set up the stunning landscape the story takes place in. If you are a fan of books that mix fantasy and reality, that blur the line between myth and legend, this is one for you.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.