Thursday, January 14, 2010

By These Ten Bones by Clare B. Dunkle (3/5 stars)

This is the first book I have read by Dunkle. Her Hollow Kingdom series is supposed to be really popular, but not wanting to start a new series I thought I would check out this stand alone book first. It was an okay book, but nothing spectacular.

Maddie lives in a small Scottish town. When a Traveler, Ned, shows up with a mute boy who is a woodcarver strange things start to happen. The mute boy (who ends up not being all that mute) Paul is found with his chest shredded and following that other bad things start happening in town. Paul has secrets and Maddie wants to learn them; she hopes they might help explain the horrible nightmares she's been having and solve the mystery of what's plaguing their small town.

This book was part fantasy, part horror story. It takes place in this sleepy Scottish town in a time where people still have strong beliefs in things that go bump in the night. The mood of the book is mysterious and vague like a foggy Scottish bog. Unfortunately this vagueness permeates all parts of the book including the characters. I had trouble liking any of the characters or really engaging with them. The plot itself is fairly predictable and not really all that scary; the story line didn't build much suspense or momentum as it went on.

Dunkle's take on werewolves is very interesting and different from anything else I have read out there; but the mythos behind the werewolf is another thing handled in a vague and unsatifying way. Dunkle does do a good job of creating a mysterious atmosphere and really makes the reader visualize the setting well.

The writing style was a bit in consistent. At points Dunkle described things with great care (like the surroundings and the people's clothing) and at other points things were glossed over quickly leaving the reader to struggle to form a visual image of what was being described.

It is a short book and is very appropriate for the young adult crowd in terms of content. Overall, I thought it was an okay read. It is definitely nothing special though considering all the material available in this genre now. This book didn't really make me want to read anymore of Dunkle's writings. People who are interested in werewolves and a brooding atmosphere would be better off checking out Shiver or Blood and Chocolate.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The Young Adult Reading Challenge
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
- Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge

By These Ten Bones

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the honest review! I actually hadn't heard of this author, but if I decide to pick up a book I'll try to check it out from the library first.