Book Review: The Bone Maker and the Heroine’s Journey

Before we get into the book review, I’d like to know where you fall on the spectrum of writing. Are you a full-on discovery writer, a hard core outliner, or somewhere between? Please let me know so I may serve you better!

Bone Maker

Kreya and her team of mages fought a battle 25 years ago against Eklor. Kreya lost her husband 25 years ago. She said she’d destroy Eklor’s book of forbidden knowledge, but she didn’t. She has been using it to try and resurrect her husband. She is almost there and just needs human bones to complete the spell. Of course, she is not going to murder anyone to get the bones; that would be crossing a line. She knows where she can get human bones, the battlefield, but she can’t do it alone. When she last saw her team, they were all grieving the lost of their dear friend, her husband. And she was supposed to destroy the book, not use it! She doesn’t know if they will forgive her or help her after 25 years of being a recluse.

To make matters worse, she stumbles upon a secret worse than the one she has been keeping all these years. One that she’s not sure the five of them can overcome.

Holy Dung Beetle! This book blew me out of the water! This is totally a 5 star book! I love how original this story is! Okay. I’ll stop with the exclamation points…maybe. First, this is a YA book which means no fluffy slow parts, tons of action, tons of tension, tons of drama (the good kind of drama, not the eye-rolling kind), and awesomeness! (sorry. no more exclamation points.)

25 years ago I wanted to be the hero of my story. I wanted to do something great. I was 20 years old. When I was a Girl Scout, I was always told, “Leave it better than you found it.” Now at almost 45 years old, I still have that dream of doing something that will leave the world better than I found it. I want to write something that will entertain and make you think. I love that this book is about people my age. They question their ability. Are they past their prime? Are they still useful at middle age? This book gives me hope that I will be able to do just that!

“We’re a thousand times less prepared,” Kreya said. “Zero training. Out of practice. Out of touch.” Maybe she was a fool to think they could do this at all. They’d been heroes such a long time ago.

The Bone Maker, by Sarah Beth Durst

The magic system here is unique. Carve symbols into different kinds of bones, imbue with your magic, and get different effects.

What can we Learn from Sarah Beth Durst?

She likes to write creatively. I mean really creatively! I’m so used to reading stories about young people trying to figure out who they are and how to work together, this story was such a breath of fresh air! She is writing about middle age heroes that are past their prime. Not too many in Speculative Fiction do that really well.

With this comes a whole new set of problems. You have a team that worked together for years, but that was 25 years ago. Each person has moved on and become their own person. They’ve lived different kinds of lifestyles. They view life differently. Yes, they remember how to work together seamlessly (and she writes this beautifully) but are they motivated by the same things? No. (also well written!) The story is so much more complex and rich because of this!

Sarah gets the reader thinking. There is definitely moral gray here in this story. I love that about it too! So the author presents a couple different arguments regarding this morally gray area and the reader gets to thinking about what they think about it. Then, right or wrong, the character does her thing. This helps in several ways. The reader is not as passive and more engaged in this story. It builds tension especially with the different characters expressing different view points and disagreeing.

Knowledge itself isn’t evil. It’s how you use it. And she had a very good use for it.

The Bone Maker, Sarah Beth Durst

The Heroine’s Journey

The Bone Maker falls into the Heroine’s Journey category very well. I recently learned about this concept. You know the Hero’s Journey? This is NOT that…at all! The Heroine’s Journey is not just the Hero’s Journey but with a female protagonist.

The Hero’s Journey: MC goes on a journey and becomes stronger as he overcomes obstacles by himself. Ends with Hero who no longer fits into the old world the same as he used to.

It’s an excellent story arc that that literally has stood the test of time. I love this and have used it to help me develop all kinds of stories.

If you want to know more about the Hero’s Journey, read The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. It is not a light read, very scholarly, but good. I think every writer needs to know a little about the Hero’s Journey.

I just started reading the book called The Heroine’s Journey by Gail Carriger. I don’t know much about it yet, but what I do know has made a huge impact already! The gist of it is instead of going on a journey and learning self reliance, the MC goes on a journey and learns that we are better, stronger together. WOW! Mind blown! I love this! This was the theme of “Desperate Trolls call for Desperate Measures” (MC is male) and I didn’t even realize it. This idea resonates with my core beliefs. In my next “Letters from Kathryn” Newsletter I talk about strengths. My #3 is connectedness, so of course I love the idea of the heroine’s journey.

I’m not very far into the book, so I’ll tell you more about it when I finish reading it. Look forward to that in my newsletter! Not signed up yet? Please do!

Professional Reader 10 Book Reviews 80%