The Bone Way, by Holly J. Underhill

corienrielle's review against another edition

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laurah_123's review

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adventurous tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


nad_'s review against another edition

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pinpilinpaux's review

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adventurous fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


First of all I want to thank NetGalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review.

And now onto said review. I feel like I would have needed a hundred pages more to be able to fully connect to the characters and the story. I liked the premise, what I read was fine, but I felt like it was not enough. I would have loved to see more backstory to the main characters, I don’t find what we need enough to root for them as a couple. I would have also loved to see more of the Princess, she seemed interesting but we didn’t get enough to grasp me.

Writing a short story is hard for the very reasons this one didn’t get me as interested as it should have. It’s still an entertaining read, but I feel like it could have been more than that.

spacearcheologist's review

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This is a sapphic retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice and it was beautiful. I am always here for queer retellings and this one did not disappoint.

The story follows Teagan, a witch whose wife has descended into the underworld on a desperate quest to save Teagan's life. Teagan determined that Cressidae should not remain trapped there- follows her. It is clearly a variation on the ancient myth but it takes place in an entirely different world with different mythos and different stakes. Whilst the Shadow Realm has clear echoes of Hades it also has unique challenges and creatures that Teagan must contend with. It is a straightforward 'quest' story that is fast-paced and enjoyable.

Teagan was an interesting main character, when she's introduced she's already well-established in her life and the event that led to her and Cressidae's quest has already happened so we are thrown right into the narrative. Grief plays a key role in Teagan's journey and it is done achingly well. We don't see a whole lot of Cress in the present time until about halfway through the novella but she too is a likable character and easy to root for. Because the relationship between the two women was already well established when the book begins we, unfortunately, don't get to see a lot of on-page chemistry and new romance (although we do see some of their romantic backstory through little interludes) and that is one of my complaints. The romance felt a little flat in places and at times there was too much telling and not enough showing.

I also felt the world-building could have been stronger and more expansive but I liked what I did see. The Shadow Princess could have been expanded more as well, we got plenty of her backstory and how she got where she did but not a lot of her present-day motivations and she rang a little hollow as a 'villain'. The writing style was captivating and it kept me hooked throughout.

Overall I really enjoyed this novella and wish it could have been a longer piece.

I received an e-ARC of this book from Netgalley for review.

tpia's review against another edition

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Thank you to NetGalley and Nyx Publishing for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review

First of all, this cover? Badass sapphics holding daggers and looking like they're going to kill you if you look at their wife funny? I am here for it.

You can read a more detailed review over on my blog

The story is supposed to be (or at least that is what the reviews on here made me believe) a re-telling of Eurydice and Orpheus, however, it did not feel like it. I suppose it is more of an imagining of the Greek Myth or more of the myth's formula put into a different setting. I saw another reviewer talking about how this novella could be translated into a Ghibli film and after reading it I could not agree more.

It is a quite quick read--it is a novella after all--and it is simplistic. I really liked the "I love my wife with every fibre of my body" trope this piece exudes. However, I did not really feel any emotional connection with the characters (which is odd because I always get attached way too much to fictional characters) and I was not the biggest fan of how the ending was so quickly resolved.

~ 3 stars

reasands's review against another edition

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-4 stars-

I was able to sit down and read this novella in one sitting which is really rare for me as a reader. This book is very fast-paced and engaging. The short length of the book did cause a couple of points to be lacking in more detail than I would have liked but other than that, I feel like it was very well done. I really enjoyed reading this and would recommend it to anyone trying to get out of a reading slump or looking for something short and fast-paced. This was very refreshing to read in the YA fantasy genre.

The setting of this takes place in a very whimsical, cottage-core town with witches and cats that then transitions into this dark, creepy atmosphere of the Shadow Princess’s realm. I was able to get a vivid picture of the different settings without the typical fantasy cliche of heavy world-building and lengthy descriptive paragraphs. This resulted in a very refreshing experience as a frequent YA fantasy reader.

Teagan is the main character and while I didn’t feel that her character was repetitive or something that I have read before, she didn’t feel necessarily notable either. Ultimately, I enjoyed her as a protagonist. I had a hard time grasping the personality of her wife, Cress, which made my interest in the novella lack because she is the main motivation for the main character going on this harrowing quest into the shadow realm. Because of this book’s length, the romance has already developed prior to when the book takes place which leaves the reader to form a connection while the main character already has it. While I did struggle with this slightly, it ultimately felt well done thanks to the flashbacks that appeared throughout the book. Their relationship is ultimately very cute and exciting with how they are constantly fighting for each other.

Lastly, my main issue with this novella came from the antagonist, the Shadow Princess. This villain had no real motive and felt very sparatic in her decisions which I felt really took away from the strength of the plot. While learning her backstory gives some insight into her actions and behavior, her decisions regarding Teagan and Cress’s lives felt unmotivated and random.

In conclusion, I strongly recommend this book to anyone looking for an introduction into YA fantasy who is maybe afraid of heavy worldbuilding or dislikes it. The romance was very cute and the story was very fast-paced. I feel like spots where this novella was lacking was due to its short length but that is made up for by how engaging it is.

Thank you to Netgalley and Nyx Publishing for providing me with an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

rhys_reads's review against another edition

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*Thank you to Nyx Publishing for a copy in exchange for an honest review*

Wow, I can definitely say I was not expecting that!!

The Bone Way follows Teagan, a witch, who goes to the Shadow Realm to find her wife, Cressidae. Cress left without her, even though they planned to go together. It’s the one place that can save Teagan from the lethal poison that is slowly killing her. It is ruled by a Princess said to grant deals those strong enough to find her. Despite the harm and rocky path ahead of her, Teagan wants more than anything to have her wife back. The Princess, however, does not let mortals roam her territories without opposition. Teagan and Cress must face the horrors of The Shadow Realm as well as their own past.

I loved the retelling aspect of this story. It follows a very loose retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice, and I loved it. It’s not what you think for a retelling, but it still holds true to the myth itself.

Now, for characters. This book is the length of a novella, so it’s pretty short. But in that time, Teagan and Cress were well developed. It’s one thing I didn’t expect for how short the book is! And the romance is to die for. Teagan and Cress have the love that you see in real life and wish you had.

I felt that the ending was a little too rushed for my liking so I took a star off, but I really liked this book!! It’s got sapphic witches who are in love, Orpheus and Eurydice retelling, and a fast plot! Highly recommend!

atclanta's review against another edition

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If you're planning on reading a quick and easy fantasy book: this one is for you.

This book is about Teagan, who follows her wife into the Shadow Realm. By doing so, she has to travel through multiple 'worlds' to find her again, facing challenges and monsters throughout the quest.
This is mainly what you should expect when starting the book, rather than a lot of action, fighting-wise.

Personally, I liked exactly that. Fantasy books usually go into depth about fighting and wars, while this book took you through what the world had to offer instead. This gave the novel a bit more of a soft fantasy feeling, to be enjoyed when you don't feel like getting into long backstories and tedious world-building. I've seen other reviewers criticize this aspect, but I felt it was more in-style this way. This book is not supposed to be worked out to the tiniest details, as it would make the book too intricate and confusing.

Then, onto what I liked less. The Shadow Princess is set into the story as an important character, who will change the fate of the main characters. I expected her to be more present in the story than she was made out to be, and I would have loved to see more of her. If this book had been longer, a second(/third, for Cressidae) point of view would have been amazing, since she seems like an intriguing character. I would have liked to hear more about her backstory and realm.

The ending also seemed a bit rushed and easily resolved. I'm not going to go into detail, but, again, this novel would have been better had it been longer. Overall, I enjoyed it, and I would recommend it if you're new to the fantasy scene, getting back into it, or are just looking for something to read and not have to pay too much attention to the plot.

breannenicole's review against another edition

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I got this book as an ARC from Netgalley, and I really, really wanted to like it.

It's a Eurydice and Orpheus retelling, but with a sapphic twist, and the idea of this novella was extremely appealing to me. It was short, quick, and promised magic, shadow realms, and monsters. But, I just didn't feel anything for these characters. Maybe it was the short length or the fact that they were separated through most of it, but I just didn't hurt for them. I simply feel like there wasn't enough room to develop characters, story, and attachment in 100 pages.

What really ruined the story for me was the Shadow Princess. She was made out to be this huge thing, and then they simply asked her what they wanted and she shrugged her shoulders and said "sure". There was all this buildup for nothing.

I enjoyed the first half of this novella way more than the second half. Perhaps fantasy novellas just aren't for me. Overall, this was just okay.