The Bone Maker by Sarah Beth Durst — ARC Review

The Bone Maker by Sarah Beth DurstSummary:

Twenty-five years ago, five heroes risked their lives to defeat the bone maker Eklor—a corrupt magician who created an inhuman army using animal bones. But victory came at a tragic price. Only four of the heroes survived. 

Since then, Kreya, the group’s leader, has exiled herself to a remote tower and devoted herself to one purpose: resurrecting her dead husband. But such a task requires both a cache of human bones and a sacrifice—for each day he lives, she will live one less.

She’d rather live one year with her husband than a hundred without him, but using human bones for magic is illegal in Vos. The dead are burned—as are any bone workers who violate the law. Yet Kreya knows where she can find the bones she needs: the battlefield where her husband and countless others lost their lives.

But defying the laws of the land exposes a terrible possibility. Maybe the dead don’t rest in peace after all.  

Five warriors—one broken, one gone soft, one pursuing a simple life, one stuck in the past, and one who should be dead. Their story should have been finished. But evil doesn’t stop just because someone once said, “the end.”

Review: 5 Stars

While part of me was drawn to this book because it looked rather dark, the reason I requested a review copy is because it’s by Sarah Beth Durst. I absolutely loved Race the Sands and when I saw that this book was by Sarah Beth Durst I decided to give it a shot. I didn’t really have any expectations for this book, I just thought that I would give it a shot and see if it was any good. I struggle with slow beginnings, so when this book had me crying by the end of the second chapter, I knew that I was hooked. The Bone Maker absolutely blew me away and is my favorite book that I’ve read so far this year.

The characters were done so incredibly well. I loved them all fiercely and was emotionally invested in each of their lives. This book is the best example of a found family that I’ve ever read. These characters would die for one another, but they’d prefer to fight to keep each other alive. Each character is fully fleshed out and filled with personality. Kreya was the main character and I loved her fierce determination, but Zera was my favorite. Zera was theatrical and a bit full of herself, but she was also bold and a source of comic relief. Her character arc was fantastic, I loved watching her change from being narcissistic and petty to becoming someone who put others first. 

The plot was filled with so much action and adventure that I had such a hard time setting it down, not that I wanted to. It was an emotional ride that had me on the edge of my seat a lot of the time. The first half of the book was filled with a lot of action and the second half was more political. I loved the characters so much and found myself rooting for them and at many times I was anxious with worry for them. It was really an emotional book that I think anyone who has lost a loved one will find impactful. The story made you want to cherish your loved ones and live life to the fullest. I cried, I laughed and I was tense with worry when reading The Bone Maker. It really was an incredible ride.

The world building was so fascinating. The magic system was so cool and unique, which by itself would have me raving about this book. Immediately I was reminded of another recent favorite, The Bone Shard Daughter, because in both books bone shards are used to create constructs, but that is where the similarities between the two books end. There are also bone readers who can read the past, present and future in the bones and bone wizards who create talismans for strength, speed and other things. The world revolves around bone magic and there are plenty of politics and history given as well. The world is incredibly vivid and magical, but it is also filled with horrors.

The Bone Maker blew me away. Prior to reading this I had read two of Sarah Beth Durst’s books, Race the Sands, which I absolutely loved and Fire and Heist, which I thought was pretty mediocre. After reading The Bone Maker I need to check out her other books because now I’ve read 2 books by her, both of which I went into with no expectations and they both absolutely blew me away. This book was powerful, it was emotional, but it was also fast paced and fun to read. I highly recommend this incredible stand-alone fantasy to those who love found family stories, action packed fantasy and unique magic systems.

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