Bone Crier’s have a sacred duty.
They alone can keep the dead from preying on the living. But their power to ferry the spirits of the dead into goddess Elara’s Night Heavens or Tyrus’s Underworld comes from sacrifice. The gods demand a promise of dedication. And that promise comes at the cost of the Bone Criers’ one true love.
Ailesse has been prepared since birth to become the matriarch of the Bone Criers, a mysterious famille of women who use strengths drawn from animal bones to ferry dead souls. But first she must complete her rite of passage and kill the boy she’s also destined to love.
Bastien’s father was slain by a Bone Crier and he’s been seeking revenge ever since. Yet when he finally captures one, his vengeance will have to wait. Ailesse’s ritual has begun and now their fates are entwined—in life and in death.
Sabine has never had the stomach for the Bone Criers’ work. But when her best friend Ailesse is taken captive, Sabine will do whatever it takes to save her, even if it means defying their traditions—and their matriarch—to break the bond between Ailesse and Bastien. Before they all die.
In the crumbling ruins of a fortress by the sea, a matriarchal coven of women known as bone criers ferry wayward souls into the afterlife. It’s a sacred duty that demands great strength and a ritualistic sacrifice.
Welcome to yet another deliciously morbid world of macabre bone magic and forbidden romance. Inspired by French folklore and the legends of les Dames Blanch, Bone Crier’s Moon is an action packed fantasy adventure brimming with ghostly apparitions and siren-like women.
At this stage, I don’t even have to explain why the first thing I’m going to rave about is the world building. And what an eerie, atmospheric world indeed! Bone Crier’s Moon is set in the fantastical lands of South Galle, deeply inspired by the rural countryside of France. The world Kathryn Purdie has created is so dynamic and tangible. I love that we really get to explore the space with these characters. Galle is a land of craggy cliffs, ancient ruins and secluded woodlands with a crumbling network of catacomb tunnels hidden deep beneath its sprawling capital.
Sounds pretty darn cool right?
This complex labyrinth of tunnels, inspired by the real catacombs beneath Paris, plays host to underground rivers and secret caverns which not only makes for a seriously vivid setting but plays a major role in the twisty, high stakes plot.
Then there’s the rich, fully-fleshed mythology surrounding the bone crier lore. Kathryn’s bone criers are deeply rooted in the legend of les Dames Blanch or, the legend of the white witches. In French folk lore, les Dames Blanch were ethereal women who lurked near bridges, water or narrow ravines. Much like the bone crier’s themselves, les Dames Blanch lure unsuspecting travellers and force them to dance. But Kathryn’s bone criers have a much darker intention which may or may not include a sacred, ritualistic sacrifice…
Clearly I was ALL about the mythology surrounding Kathryn’s world building and yet, there is so much more to love about Bone Crier’s Moon.
Bone Crier’s Moon features three different protagonists and the narrative follows each point of view. First, we have Ailesse, an aspiring ferrier and heir to the bone crier’s matriarch. Ailesse has a blatant loyalty to her famille but a complex relationship with her mother, the bone crier’s matrone. Ailesse is bold and wilful with a desperate need to prove herself.
Perhaps the most compelling narrative was that of Sabine’s, a fellow bone crier and Ailesse’s best friend. Sabine, gentle and kind in nature, grapples with her humanity and the price of her obligations as a bone crier. What makes Sabine so interesting is not only her inner conflict but the fact that in being a bone crier, she’s forced to compromise her moral convictions. It’s Sabine who changes the most over the course of the novel, sacrificing her innocence and pushing her own boundaries to save Ailesse.
Finally, we have Bastien, a cunning but handsome thief living on the sly with a personal vendetta against the bone criers. Bastien was probably the most under developed of all the characters but that doesn’t make him any less compelling. Bastien’s stubbornness and strong will was a perfect match to Ailesse’s and his thirst for revenge made for an interesting dynamic.
As these three distinct characters become intertwined, the stage is set for forbidden romance and a shocking betrayal with plenty of twists and turns.
So you’re probably thinking why the four star rating after raving about the world and characters. Bone Crier’s Moon is a strong and intriguing start to a promising fantasy duology but I couldn’t help feeling that it lacked that extra punch. I wanted a little more tension from the romance and I wasn’t 100% sold on the almost meager, nail-in-the-coffin ending. Let’s just say that things took a certain direction and I wasn’t exactly thrilled. But hey – maybe Bone Crier’s Dawn will change my mind?
And now for the million dollar question: do I recommend Bone Crier’s Moon? 100%! I loved the refreshing focus on sisterhood and the plot’s well balanced pace. Perfect for fans of House of Salt and Sorrows, Bone Crier’s Moon is a riveting, deeply eerie world that can only build upon is solid foundation. I’m super excited to see how the plot thickens and how these characters develop.