Changeling

 
Bone Magic
by Yasmine Galenorm
(Berkley, $7.99, R) ISBN 978-0-425-23198-2
***
Bone Magic is a darkly humorous adventure twisted up with a unique love story.

Camille D’Artigo is one of three half-human, half-Fae sisters, who are all operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency.  Camille’s a wicked good-witch who’s learning different kinds of magic while trying to figure out which path to choose in her very adventurous life.

As for the leading men in the story (yes, multiple), there is Morio, Camille’s youkai-kitsune husband who morphs into a demon and practices death magic.  There’s Smoky, who is Camille’s dragon husband and later in the story we meet Trillian, Camille’s Svartan ex, who she’s been waiting for.

Camille’s life has been very busy, between her three loves, and practicing death magic with Morio.  Smoky’s dragon father shows up, very angry that he’s married Camille, and takes him back to Northlands to resolve the issue of his betrothal to another dragon, and the family responsibilities that he’s run from. 

Just as Camille is recovering from Smoky’s departure, the family finds out that there’s a new demon general in town, and she’s up to no good, threatening the family’s security. Then, Camille gets summoned to the Otherworld, and she heads out with Morio, not knowing that she’s about to see Trillian again and that she’ll be forced to undergo a new ritual which will change her identity.  While she’s in the Otherworld, Camille learns that there are many dark and strange plots cropping up among her allies and her enemies, and she must choose whom she’ll trust and whom she will align herself with.

Bone Magic is a very interesting, completely different kind of love story, which leads me to assess it with a pro and con list, so that you can decide for yourself.

The pros are the strong heroine, the adventurous cast of background characters, and the great action scenes.  Camille is an alpha female, dominant and decisive.  She’s a markedly different character from a typical leading lady, and in a very positive way.  She knows what she wants and goes out to get it; she fights and loves and thinks passionately.

The background characters are all completely different.  Bone Magic is populated by fae, demons, gods, dragons, unicorns, human beings, and a whole variety of other types of magical creatures. There’s never a boring moment whether at the family home or in a battle with the original and surprising creatures popping out at every turn.

The great action scenes are tightly written, highly amusing and packed with suspense.

The con to the story is the storyline, which weaves between past books and upcoming story lines.  Everything and everyone in the story seems to be in transit and the novel does not stand well on its own.  Since I haven’t read the previous books, it was very difficult to get into parts of the book as action sequences or character storylines seemed to spring up from nowhere, making me wondering if I had accidentally skipped chapters.

Even with the lead characters, Camille and her husbands, they all have unexplained backstory that leads them to behave in mystifying ways.  Add to this Camille’s quest, which has been exponentially complicated by the multitude of events in this book, and it will take several more books to tie up the loose ends.  I wonder if readers will be willing to stick through the many pages to come while trying to remember who’s who and what they are doing and have done, like a very long-running soap opera.

In short, Bone Magic is unique, adventurous and lively but its drawn-out manner and extremely complex story map ask a lot of devotion from readers. If you’re willing to put in the time, the Otherworld Novel series would be a very detailed escape. However, if you’re looking for an easy Sunday afternoon read, this isn’t it.  

--Amy Wroblewsky


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