Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publishing Info: March 2020 by Katherine Tegan Books (Fairyloot edition)
Star Rating: 3.5/5
Back Cover Summary:
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.
Bone Crier’s Moon is an imaginative, fast-paced young adult fantasy. I was expecting romance to play a bigger part, but this book has a wider focus. The novel is told from three first person perspectives – Ailesse, Bastien and Sabine.
The magic system and world building in this book are creative and enchanting. The Leuress ferry the dead once a month, guiding them on to Tyrus’s underworld or to Elara’s paradise. They draw their magic from the grace bones of animals. A Leuress has to kill an animal and take one of its bones (warning: there are a few animal deaths in this book). When they wear this bone, they take on the graces of that animal, for example enhanced hearing or strength. In order to become a ferrier, the Leuress have to complete a rite of passage in which they kill their soul mate. The mythology of the bone crier’s is so vivid and it’s such an interesting idea. I loved discovering more about them and I hope we’ll gain even more insight into their magic and their role as ferriers of the dead in the next book.
Sabine was definitely my favourite character. She finds having to kill animals in order to get grace bones very conflicting. She isn’t even sure she wants to be a ferrier. I liked seeing her character grow over the course of the novel. I didn’t connect with Ailesse as much at the start, but she definitely grew on me. I also loved the strength of their friendship and how it drives them. Unfortunately, I felt we didn’t get to know Bastien well enough. I didn’t like or dislike his character; I just didn’t feel like I knew him as well as the two other POV characters. Odiva, Ailesse’s mother, was an interesting character. I knew there was something fishy about her from the start, but I couldn’t have guessed what the truth actually was!
I was swept along by this novel. The pacing is very fast and there are lots of twists and turns. Lots of chapters ended on cliff hangers and propelled me forward to keep reading. One of the twists, however, I have a horrible feeling is going to lead the sequel down a bit of a YA cliché. I hope this won’t be the case and Kathryn Purdie will subvert that trope. I can’t say more on that without revealing a major spoiler from near the end of the book!
I so desperately wanted to give this book 4 stars. I loved the magic and the plot. But there were a few things that held it back. Although it is fast paced, the characters seemed to spend a lot of time pinging back and forth between the same locations, which got a bit repetitive. The main issue for me, though, was the romance. The gradual enemies-to-lovers romance between Ailesse and Bastien just wasn’t convincing. Perhaps some of the issue is that the fast pace meant we didn’t get to see Ailesse and Bastien interacting much outside of life-and-death situations. I just didn’t feel a connection between them at all. The two characters are pushed together for plot purposes without having much chemistry. It also doesn’t help that I didn’t feel I got to know Bastien all that well. If I’d cared about and connected with his character more, I might have felt more of a connection between Ailesse and Bastien.
In the end I decided to give this book 3.5 stars. I loved it and will definitely be reading the sequel, but there were just a couple of things that prevented me from rating it higher.