Thursday 23 August 2018

Book Review: The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke (YA/Fantasy)

Title: The Boneless Mercies
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Simon and Schuster

Publication Date: 4 October 2018
eBook - PDF
ARC via NetGalley


A dark and gorgeously drawn standalone YA fantasy about a band of mercenary girls in search of female glory. Won in a major six-house auction!

Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Boneless Mercies—girls hired to kill quickly, quietly, and mercifully. But Frey is weary of the death trade and, having been raised on the heroic sagas of her people, dreams of a bigger life.

When she hears of an unstoppable monster ravaging a nearby town, Frey decides this is the Mercies' one chance out. The fame and fortune of bringing down such a beast would ensure a new future for all the Mercies. In fact, her actions may change the story arc of women everywhere.

Full of fierce girls, bloodlust, tenuous alliances, and unapologetic quests for glory, this elegantly spun tale challenges the power of storytelling—and who gets to be the storyteller. Perfect for fans of Maggie Stiefvater, V.E. Schwab, and Heidi Heilig.

The Boneless Mercies had a lot going for it. I loved the Beowulf links and the creation of an alternate Norse world. The idea of the Mercies was also good, although I have seen something similar in a couple of other works. The pacing let the work down a little. It was very slow at first, and in comparison, the final confrontation with the beast therefore felt rushed. There were also a lot of characters, some of whom died, but it was hard to care about them to any great extent as we never fully got to know them. We'd be offered an odd snippet of their background or hopes for the future, but in many cases it wasn't enough to build a deep reader-character bond. Frey was the one exception. She came across well and I was invested in the outcome of her story. The ending certainly left things open for a sequel, and, given the opportunity, I would read it. However, this is not a book I would rave about or wish to reread. For me, it's a 3.5 stars. It was enjoyable and had several good points, but it also had a few faults, and given that six major publishing houses were desperate to get hold of it, I guess I had expected a little more.

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