Boneset & Feathers, by Gwendolyn Kiste

crystalblu's review

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dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


tcucc618's review against another edition

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Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an eARC for review.

Boneset & Feathers was a riveting tale of strong and powerful witches and ruthless and tyrannical witch hunters. I enjoyed this fantasy-horror novel!

This is my first time reading one of Gwendolyn Kiste’s books and I gotta say I am impressed. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I requested this book on NetGalley. I had heard good things about Kiste’s previous work so I decided to read her latest book. Also, that beautiful cover art drew me in!

Boneset & Feathers is a fantasy-folk-horror about a witch named Odette who not only faces judgment from her neighbors but also must hide from the witch hunters who are out to kill all witches. I found the beginning was a little slow moving but eventually the story picked up and I was captivated until the thrilling conclusion. I would describe this book as a fantasy-horror. I thought Boneset & Feathers had a perfect blend of horror and fantasy elements.

I was immediately drawn to the main character, Odette. She is a fierce and strong character and I loved how she was able to handle the adversity and hatred she was faced with throughout the story. Some of the side characters were also strong and fierce women, especially Odette’s friends, Anna and Beatrix.

The small village setting was the perfect backdrop for this story and it had a 1600s Salem, MA feel to it. I’m not exactly sure when this story takes place, but it seems like it would be around the same time as the Salem witch trials. Of course, this is a fantasy story and not a true historical account, but you can tell that this book is influenced by the Salem witch trials.

I think this novel would be the perfect read for historical fantasy and horror lovers. I had a fun time reading this one. If you’re looking for a short novel featuring strong female characters, a magical fantasy world, horror elements, and witches, then definitely pick this one up! I’m looking forward to reading Kiste’s backlist.

ghostlyreads's review

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adventurous emotional hopeful medium-paced
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


Less horror than expected, but still a beautifully written novella. The reader follows, Odette - the last of the witches - in a story that captures what it means to not only be a woman, but also someone who doesn’t conform to the rules of society. 
Bonset and Feathers is a sombre and oppressive read, which is the perfect tone for what Odette is going through. I felt equal parts suffocated, angered, and hopeless as I traveled the world with Odette, knowing all too well how hopeless her position seems. 
As always, Kiste’s writing is lyrical and beautiful. This time, it fell much more towards fantasy than horror, but the bits of horror sprinkled within were brilliant. 

inkychaotics's review

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Kiste's latest novel invites us into a world of fantasy, witchcraft, and darkness in the form of shadows, dug up ghosts, and of course the witchfinders -- men who are all too happy to watch a woman's body burn. Lush language and a main character (Odette) who is struggling to free herself from the fire hiding beneath her skin guide us through the novel. Kiste's writing is so easy to fall into; it makes it hard to put the book down. While the setting and premise lure us into a world of dark fantasy, the real horror lies with these men who are hungry to prove themselves by taking power of women's bodies and burning them to dust. Odette's fight for her identity, her freedom, and for a world where women can be themselves without fear of death will capture readers whole -- and through the inky shadows threatening to consume the earth, Kiste offers the most powerful element of all -- hope.

exorcismofemilyreed's review against another edition

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Boneset & Feathers is the newest novel from Gwendolyn Kiste! This one is a little different from her other books as it feels much more like fantasy with some horror tones.

My favorite thing about this book was the forest, and I wish we would have had more time there. It was such an interesting environment, and provided good spooky elements. I would love to see this pop up in future stories. I was also intrigued by the birds, and I appreciate how Gwendolyn Kiste incorporates them into her stories.

Sometimes the story felt repetitive, and there wasn't much tension / suspense. I have to say that I struggled with this one, and couldn't really connect to the characters. However, there's a lot here that many readers will enjoy, especially if you like fantasy that dips into horror. Boneset & Feathers will be out on 11/3!

CW - misogyny, animal death

micahcastle's review

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adventurous dark emotional lighthearted medium-paced