Friday, May 17, 2019

Book Review: The Bone Charmer by Breeana Shields


Media Type: Print Book
Title: The Bone Charmer
Author: Breeana Shields
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Pages: Hardcover; 400
Release Date: May 21, 2019
Source: FFBC Tours / Publisher
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Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy "sliding doors" stories with vivid characters and settings.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
In Saskia’s world, bones are the source of all power. They tell the future, reveal the past, and expose secrets in the present. Each village has a designated seer who performs readings for the townsfolk, and in Midwood, the Bone Charmer is Saskia’s mother.

On the day of her kenning—a special bone reading that determines the apprenticeships of all seventeen-year-olds—Saskia’s worst fears come true. She receives an assignment to train as a Bone Charmer, like her mother, and even worse, a match-making reading that pairs her with Bram—a boy who has suspicious tattoos that hint of violence.

Saskia knows her mother saw multiple paths for her, yet chose one she knew Saskia wouldn’t want. Their argument leads to a fracture in one of the bones. Broken bones are always bad luck, but this particular set of bones have been infused with extra magic, and so the break has devastating consequences—Saskia’s future has split as well. Now she will live her two potential paths simultaneously. Only one future can survive. And Saskia’s life is in danger in both.
So very impressed with this book! It took me a few chapters to really settle into the way that Breeana Shields wanted to tell this story, but once I was there I was hooked. Saskia's life has has always been dictated by bone reading. Each moment painstakingly created so that she'll stay on the path to her happiest life. That is, until it's her turn to find her true calling. I can't remember if I knew that this book was about to split into two stories, or not, but I can tell you that it's a wonderful way to navigate Saskia's journey.

First off, let me be the first to assure you that there is no love triangle in The Bone Charmer. You have no idea how happy that made me, since that's one of my pain points in YA lately. Instead, there are two very seperate romances here. As Saskia's life splits off, one road leading to what she believed she wanted and one road leading to what her mother believed was best for her, these two romances grow in very different ways. I absolutely loved how Shields doesn't shy away from putting Saskia through all manner of trials. As she follows each of these paths, she learns more and more about herself, her mother, and the two boys who she has been matched two. The idea that we don't always know what is best for us, even if we are so sure of it, is heavily featured in this story. It's perfection.

It's honestly tough to say too much more about the plot without giving anything important away, so I'll start focusing on the world building instead. In Saskia's world, as I mentioned above, bone readings are part of life. Matches, both with jobs and with romantic partners, are an essential part of a person's future. It was fascinating watching the way that this played out, in a place like Midwood. Much like our own world, the people with the most money always seemed to have an advantage over those who were poorer. The fact that Saskia's mother, the bone charmer herself, was so upset about that made me smile. This book speaks of "wild magic" and how it used to grow without monetary interference. As I found my way through Saskia's story I saw how that could both help, and hurt, a civilization. There's a lot of deep thoughts in this book, hidden in a way that almost makes them invisible. I loved every minute of it.

Was this book perfect? Perhaps not. There were a lot of things I wished for more of. I wanted more time with Saskia's potential matches. I would have loved more background on Saskia's family, and especially on her amazing mother. While the magic system was fairly well fleshed out, I also wished there would have been more time spent with Saskia as she learned to grow her abilities. I do believe that this is the first book in a series though, so I have hope! There's still time for all of this to become a reality.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my read through of this book! I'd recommend it to those out there who love "sliding doors" stories, and are looking for something without a love triangle. You might just enjoy it as much as I did.

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Win a copy of THE BONE CHARMER by Breeana Shields (US/CAN Only)
Starts: May 15th 2019
Ends: May 29th 2019

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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.

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