Saturday, 29 August 2015

Book Review: The Bones of the Earth (The Bones of the Earth, #1) by Scott Hale


Synopsis: Is it wrong to kill a human … when you’re not human yourself? It’s been two hundred years since the Trauma, a catastrophic event of a now forgotten origin, wreaked havoc upon the Earth, reducing the human population from billions to thousands, and leaving the survivors as prey to humanoid hunters. 

Vrana of the Raven is one of these hunters. Her tribe has made killing humans, now known as the Corrupted, its purpose—to “keep the balance”—to ensure that the Corrupted do not rise to power and lay the Earth to ruin once more. But, one night, in the great northern city-state of Geharra, over ten thousand Corrupted disappear. And if so many can disappear so quickly, what’s to stop it from happening again elsewhere, or to Vrana’s own? Geharra, however, is not the only place to suffer from strange happenings. 

In Caldera, Vrana sleeps fitfully, dreaming of a Void and the Witch trapped within. When she is called upon to travel with Serra, Lucan, and Deimos to the abandoned city, she accepts, but only to get away from Caldera, because the Witch that haunts her nightmares has begun to haunt her days. 

Review: The Bones of the Earth is an extremely intriguing work of horror sci-fi fantasy. Whilst that might seem like a jumble of genres and hard to get working into a single book, author Scott Hale has pulled this off admirably. These days, authors need more than a good story to stand out, so the presentation is important. The book's cover is quite a work of art. It is unusual, makes you want to know more. Is the main character a force for good, or for bad?

 In Vrana, we have a plucky and strong heroine who is thrown into action almost from page one. Her motivations are not too clear to me at first, but as I read more of the book, Vrana's story became more easy to understand, compelling me to read the rest of the book. Scott Hale describes the world he has created beautifully. He does so with great command of English, and the writing is poetic in many aspects, for me, this was the star of the book.

 I read a book in late 2013 that had a similar MC, but this one was male, and seemed a little one dimensional to me. That said I enjoyed how the character killed so many and with ease. Vrana, thankfully, is a more complex character. Her kills always mean something, always having consequences, and I wondered would the hunter become the hunted?

There is a dreamlike quality to the writing that I can only imagine will improve as the author grows in stature. I would recommend this to people who enjoy different genres - there's a great mix of horror, fantasy, sci-fi, adventure in this book, and it works. 

 I love the description of Vrana herself, and the cover art reinforces my view on that. The tribal aspect of the book is interesting too, and will have readers hooked. I would just suggest that readers go beyond the 10% or so that Amazon allow on their preview - this book needs the reader's attention. Once you get into it, you won't leave it down.