This review is spoiler free.
“Hold on, Sonara told herself. Don’t you dare let go.”
Published: 2021, by HQ Young Adult.
Format: ebook/ARC from Netgalley
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction
Contains: Violence, Anger, Death, Blood/Gore, Torture, Abuse
I received a copy of this book from HQ Young Adult through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
‘Blood, Metal, Bone’ followes Sonara, who was wrongly accused of her brother’s murder and sentenced to execution by her own mother. Punished and left for dead, the shadows have cursed her with a second life as a Shadowblood, cast out and huntered by society for her demon-like powers. Known as the Devil of the Deadlands, Sonara survives as a thief on the edge of society, fighting for survival on a quest to uncover what really happened to her brother and whether he is even dead at all.
I requested this on Netgalley from the cover and synopsis alone, falling in love with the concept and it provoking curiosity. However, reality was a little disappointing.
Sonara was a difficult character to sympathise with, having a cut-throat attitude from beginning to end of this novel with very little development in between. She’s heartless, making for a very difficult read and a lack of emotion caused by her actions. I didn’t care for her, finding myself more intrigued by the character’s horse than the character herself, who was continuously described in detail.
Karr was interesting, finding his situation difficult and being able to sympathise with him slightly. He doesn’t want to be where he is, and yet he continues to support his family and gradually developing confidence the further we step into the story.
The other characters seemed to fall flat with me, there being a lack of introduction to them or not really having much to support them in terms of development or authenticity. I didn’t care for any of them, hardly remembering who was who as the story developed and found myself uninterested by them all.
Cummings’ writing style is incredibly well-written, with intriguing dialogue and a gripping premise to pull you in, however, that’s what leaves you the most surprised. By the title, cover and concept alone, you’d picture a medieval fantasy novel, with luscious language and world-building that competes with other novels in the genre. However, this novel is a merge of two genres, one being that gripping Fantasy, and the other being a surprising Sci-Fi, that doesn’t really click with the other genre it’s slotting with. There never seemed to be a need to set the novel in a Sci-Fi setting, it causing no purpose other than to shock, and occasionally disappoint the reader. Unfortunately, that’s the trap I fell into.
Overall, I was disappointed in this read, having psyched myself up for an epic fantasy, and being let down by the sudden appearance of the Milky Way.