Book Review: Brood of Bones

For just an indulgent second, let me take a moment to whine. The week did not go at all the way I’d planned. I was attacked by a ruthless, brain-sucking spider.

Or maybe a virus.

Same thing, right? Whichever it was, it clogged my sinuses, provoked horrendous headaches, had me sneezing constantly, plagued me with a low-grade fever, and generally robbed me of the will to do anything but slog about the house like a zombie. My husband said, “Really?? I felt the same way. Took me weeks to recover, but now I’m feeling fantastic!”

He’s such a sweet, sharing soul, but there is hope, right? At the risk of speaking too soon, I daresay I am starting to recover. After several restless nights, I slept pretty well (at last!) and got up late today. Would have stayed in bed, too, but what I was dreaming got FAR too weird and I woke myself from it. No, I did not take notes with the idea of using it in a story. I like to write fantasies, not horror stories. It would have to be horror; we moved from our house to a tiny apartment, and there was no room for my writing desk. AUGH. Things went downhill from there, though I’ve no conception how I could go from fretting over my desk to sorting out a double homicide at a church activity…

Anyway, it seems like a perfect opportunity to share with you a review I wrote about one of my new favorite books: Brood of Bones, by A. E. Marling.

Newcomer A. E. Marling does a bang-up job with this fantasy novel about a magic-wielder afflicted with a sleeping disorder. Her drowsiness does not equate boredom for the reader. On the contrary, Brood of Bones is a fantasy whodunnit, with Enchantress Hiresha cast in the role of arcane detective. The setting and the magic are skillfully portrayed; the characters are complex and not always predictable. Hiresha struggles not only with her sleeping problem, but with the past that has formed her; her position is her armor and her purpose. Maid Janny is a gem of irreverence, while the Lord of the Feasts is both charming and terrible. The deposed arbiter of the city is exasperating at the same time she is delightful, and the two city leaders (a pair of priests representing different deities) are not what they might seem. I could wish the bodyguard were better developed, but it is a small complaint. The story is told from Hiresha’s point of view, depicting her insecurities and fears in a very personal, very *human* way embroidered with the mores of her particular society. Easily 5 stars, and I am looking forward to Marling’s next book.

P.S. Isn’t the cover (by Eva Soulu) absolutely beautiful? I love it. And just let me say, I am really looking forward to the next book… (I hope you’re reading this, Alan!)

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