2 star, YA

Review: Bone Crier’s Dawn by Kathryn Purdie

Series: Bone Grace #2

Love is a matter of life and death.

Bone Criers have been ferrying the dead into the afterlife for centuries, a dangerous duty only possible with the powers they gain from sacrificing their amourés the men destined to love them and die. But Bone Criers Ailesse and Sabine—along with Ailesse’s love, Bastien—are working to chart their own course and rewrite the rules of the afterlife. If they don’t break the soul between Ailesse and her amouré, she could die—just as Bastien’s father did.

Sabine struggles to maintain her authority as matrone of her famille—the role always destined for her sister—even as she fights to control the violent jackal power within her.

Bastien is faced with a new dilemma as the spirits of the Underworld threaten the souls of his friends—and his father.

Ailesse attempts to resist her mother’s siren song as she’s drawn into her own version of the Underworld. How will she save her friends once she’s cut off from their world?

This pulse-pounding follow-up to Bone Crier’s Moon is a story of love, sisterhood, and determination as three friends find the courage and power to shatter the boundary between the living and the dead.

One of my most highly anticipated sequels of this year, I wanted so badly to get my hands on this that I actually bought the special edition from Owlcrate. I attended Kathryn Purdie’s Twitter Q&A last year after the first book was released and was so pumped for any news from this book.

To say I was disappointed is a bit of an understatement. I was underwhelmed. I don’t even think I needed too much but it just did not speak to me in all the ways I was looking for. Bone Criers Dawn just didn’t impress me.

The book picks up pretty much after the events of Bone Criers Moon. When I read this first book, I had raved so much about the world building that felt so unique and special to this story. Women ferrying the dead using strengths (or graces, they call) from the bones of animals they slaughtered. But choose wisely because you can only pick 3 animals!

This is still interesting and this sequel definitely adds a bit more to this world building element. However, this alone can’t carry the story. It’s not that in depth to make you feel so invested in the land outside of the characters we’re reading about.

So what about the other aspects of the book I would normally find enjoyable?

There are 3 POVs in this book: Bastien, Ailesse and Sabine. Bastien and Ailesse were the enemies to lovers I fell in love with in the last book, this unwitting pair that didn’t seem like they’d work together. But then came the extra complication in the form of Prince Cas, future ruler of the region they lived in who was a wrench in their love story. From two became three and I’m not the hugest fan of love triangles. Yet this one wasn’t even executed well!

There’s dumb miscommunication or “I’m going to focus on myself for now” issues that hurt the budding relationship, and the relationship one of the guys goes for in the end didn’t even build until maybe past the 50% mark? Even then, it felt super instant and not based on proper relationship markers, like a rebound. That sucked ‘cause I actually liked that pairing.

Additionally, both of the female protagonists make bad decisions based on their fears and insecurities. Ailesse hurt Bastien needlessly and Sabine became so ruthless it was like she wasn’t herself anymore. You ever have to sit through a book where you wanna yell at the character you’re stuck following that that’s a dumb mistake they’re making? It’s not pleasant.

Literally the only upside was the world building. The way everything wrapped up felt too anticlimactic and not fleshed out enough. I wanted more, no, needed more but unfortunately this was the end. Maybe it was just me but it didn’t feel like it lived up to the bar its predecessor left.

Would I still recommend this book? It’s by no means the best fantasy out there but there’s still something in it to offer the world, notably the world building. But I will leave that up to you.

Overall Recommendation:

Bone Crier’s Dawn did not live up to the expectations set by its first book in this duology which was a huge disappointment for me. While the world building is still interesting, it doesn’t build enough in this book to carry the pace and enjoyment. The 3 different protagonists each had their own issues, most of them due to the choices they make, and the romantic relationship that readers loved in book 1 felt extra dramatic for no reason while creating another relationship that literally had minimal foundation. Perhaps this is a me and not the book thing, but for huge fans of the first book, this is my caution to you to lower expectations and maybe it’ll be everything you hoped for.

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