I received an eARC of Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer from Netgalley, and I am so excited to share my thoughts on this bloody, poignant, monster book! Read on to find out why I gave it 5 stars.
Click here to read the synopsis!
Dexter meets This Savage Song in this dark fantasy about a girl who sells magical body parts on the black market — until she’s betrayed.
Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” But when her mom brings home a live specimen, Nita decides she wants out — dissecting living people is a step too far.
But when she tries to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold on the black market in his place — because Nita herself is a supernatural being. Now Nita is on the other side of the bars, and there is no line she won’t cross to escape and make sure no one can ever capture her again.
Nita did a good deed, and it cost her everything. Now she’s going to do a lot of bad deeds to get it all back.
So if you follow me on Goodreads you will see that I gave this book 4.5 stars, but honestly, it’s worth rounding it up to 5. The more I think about this one the more I love it. This Savage Song really is an excellent comparison, as Not Even Bones delves deep into issues of immoral and amorality, what it means to be a monster, and where monsters lurk in everyday life.
“Stories here didn’t get neat endings tied up in a bow.”
The main character of the story, Nita, was instantly relatable to me. She enjoys listening to show tunes while she dissects monsters. As someone with both a background in science and signing, I found my new best friend. But there is so much more to Nita! She has a very complicated relationship with both of her parents and the rest of the Unnatural world of monsters. I almost got a Mother Gothel vibe from her mother, with Nita being the sheltered protected Rapunzel.
The pacing of the book is the one critique I had. There’s a section in the middle that gets repetitive, but overall it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story.
The real meat of the book is in its themes. Nita struggles to feel like a proper human in a lot of ways. She worries that she doesn’t grieve correctly, or empathize correctly. Issues like human trafficking, unjust incarceration, racism (or speciesism in this case), and the objectification of people take the forefront. All of these elements kept me thinking, and I was fascinated to see how the characters in the book related to these themes.
“Most people weren’t working with people who reveled in the pain of others. Right?”
More and more lately, I am finding books that include primary characters that aren’t always the good guy. Rin from The Poppy War is the first example that springs to mind. It forces the reader to consider that in some instances a net positive change for the world can require negative acts from an individual. Seeing the effect of those negative choices and actions is so important. I love seeing this addressed more frequently.
If you can stomach some gore and blood in your dark fantasy, then keep an eye out for this one on September 4th!
All quotes are taken from the eARC and are subject to change.