The Bone Charmer by Breeana Shields
Publication Date: May 21, 2019
Summary from NetGalley:
On the day of Saskia’s kenning—a special bone reading that determines the apprenticeships of all seventeen-year-olds—her worst fear comes true. She receives an assignment to train as a Bone Charmer, a seer, like her mother.
Saskia knows her mother saw multiple paths for her, yet chose the one she knew Saskia wouldn’t want. Their argument leads to a fracture in one of the bones, with the devastating result of splitting Saskia’s future.
Now she will live her two potential paths simultaneously: one where she’s forced to confront her magic, and one where she tries to run from it. But when both paths become entangled in the plot of a rogue Charmer, Saskia learns that no future is safe, and some choices have unimaginable consequences. Only one future can survive. And Saskia’s life is in danger in both.
ARC provided by Page Street Publishing via NetGalley for an honest review.
I admit that I read the summary when I picked this book on NetGalley, but by the time I got around to reading it, I had forgotten what it was all about. So when I got to the chapter where the timelines split, I was like What!!!! I admit that it through me off, but within a couple of pages I realized what was going on and I thought that it was brilliant. The author does a fabulous job of telling the two stories and keeping them separate yet intertwined at the same time.
Saskia is a third generation bone reader, but she has her doubts about letting her life be guided by them. Her journey through understanding fate versus choices, love of her family and grief is one we can all relate to. Both of her story lines go in very different directions, one that was what her mother wanted and the other what she wanted. She takes charge of her life in both of the stories eventually, although it is a bit of a struggle for her. She is bright and powerful, but she lacks confidence in herself and her abilities.
There are two romances, each timeline as a different beau, so it is not really a love triangle. In both cases she was bone matched to each of the boys. In one, she was happy about the match, the other not so much. We get to know both Bram and Declan, but not as well as I would have liked. I loved how one of the romances played out, even though I wasn’t sure about it at the beginning.
It is really hard to explain the plot with out giving things away, but lets just say that there is a bit of a slow start, but the last half of the book is amazing as things start to fall apart for Saskia. The world building was good, but could have been a bit better. The bone magic was fascinating, and there were other types as well as the Bone Charmer. What I found most fascinating about the book was the exploration of fate and choices. When her mother talked to Saskia about her readings and as Saskia did her own readings, there were many paths that the bones showed them. It was their responsibility to decided the best path. That is a lot for anyone to take on. It is emphasized that most people just used these readings as a starting point, but still made choices that could change their paths. There was an interesting side character though in the Tutor story line, that never made any decisions without a bone reading. Her dependency on the bones was almost addictive to her. She was held up as the example of how bone readings could be harmful.
Another interesting thing about this world was the idea that when ever some sort of trauma or very emotional event happened to a person, a tattoo would appear somewhere on their body that represented the emotion that they felt. When they fell in love a tattoo encircled their wrists, a traumatizing event would also cause a tattoo. Their tattoos helped tell their life stories, which was very interesting to me.
A really great start to a new series. I can’t wait to see where it all goes, I can’t even begin to predict it all. Saskia is a great character and I find her world a fascinating place to spend time in.