Review: The Bone Dragon

Book: The Bone Dragon by Alexia Casale
Publisher: Faber and Faber, 2013
Genre: YA, Fantasy elements
Rating:
Source + Date Read: Library + May 2015
Recommend: For those that like a compelling emotional read.
Book Pro’s: Strong characters, great protagonist, smooth dialogue.
Book Con’s: I didn’t like that ending. I need closure!
Favourite Line “Taste the stars and listen to the darkness.”

Summary: Evie’s shattered ribs have been a secret for the last four years. Now she has found the strength to tell her adoptive parents, and the physical traces of her past are fixed – the only remaining signs a scar on her side and a fragment of bone taken home from the hospital, which her uncle Ben helps her to carve into a dragon as a sign of her strength. Soon this ivory talisman begins to come to life at night, offering wisdom and encouragement in roaming dreams of smoke and moonlight that come to feel ever more real.
More Information: GoodReads

I was so glad when this came at the Islington library. So glad– I mean I really was– when I saw that email the minute it hit 1:00pm for lunch at work I already had my sweater on and my library card and was half running down the stairs to pick it up. The librarians there know me by now so when they see that a book has come for me they just shove it to the side so I was able to grab it without all of the human niceties of saying hello needed.

That being said, when I started that afternoon on the tube it wasn’t what I expected. This book really wasn’t anything like what I expected it to be–but that’s why it is so darn good, that’s exactly why I liked it so much.

OK- so The Bone Dragon is a bit of a psychological emotional roller-coaster. It’s told through the eyes of Evie, and it starts as she opens her eyes after having a pretty brutal surgery to fix her shattered ribs. We don’t know why they were shattered at first, or why Evie seems so damaged, but Casale takes us along Evie’s journey, giving us clues, snippets of Evie’s pain and history. We find out why her ribs shattered, it not a very explicit way but it is inferred enough that as you read, you develop solid conclusions. I’ve read on some blogs that they didn’t like this plot device, but as someone who has had friends allude to the pain of their lives in very non-explicit ways, I think it is appropriate.

I must say that the Dragon is a great addition to the novel. It isn’t the Main Character. It isn’t even a huge plot device but it is a great addition to unravelling Evie’s mystery. In the end you never really know (this might get a bit spoilery, so please, turn away if you don’t want to know what’s going on) if the Dragon was real or not, if Evie did those things or if the Dragon did and I kind of want to know, I want closure. I see why we won’t know though, I understand that the mystery of it is part of the story and its emotional impact. It also makes Evie a bit more real to me? She doesn’t have a definitive ending so it seems like she will keep on living beyond the pages of this book. Plus, I loved her family. All of them, her mother, father, Uncle Ben. That sort of love was amazing to behold.

I really wish there was a second and that this was a series. Stand-alone novels can be such a heartache!

All in all, if you want a quirky, psychological and emotional YA novel, then this is so worth it.

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About Claire (BWB)

It's Claire (aka Quirky) from Bitches With Books, an online book blog that serves up a healthy dose of book reviews, lists + literary madness.
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6 Responses to Review: The Bone Dragon

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  5. You know, I picked up a postcard of this one when we were at YALC, and never even thought to actually look at what it was about – I just liked the cover. I’d never have guessed this was it!

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