Thank you to Edelweiss+ and HarperCollins for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Bone Criers 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.
I’m always down for a book about mystical magic, romance, and possible sirens. Bone Crier’s Moon manages to combine all three while weaving an interesting tale on how exactly the spirit of those passed arrive at their final destination. Bone Criers are women who have trained their entire lives to ferry the dead either to the heavens or the underworld, but at a great cost. To become an officially sanctioned Leurress, another term for bone crier, they must kill and collect the bones of three animals to channel their abilities and they have to kill their one true love. Once the three bones are collected they must play a ritual song on the bone flute, also used by the head Leurress to ferry the dead, to call to their love and share a dance. After the dance the Leurress then has to decide whether they want to kill their amoure immediately or spend a year with them to reproduce. If the ceremony is set in motion they are bound and once the year is up death will find them both if the sacrifice is not made. Tragic stuff right?
➽ Ailesse – Heir to the Matron and one of the strongest Leurress. She wants nothing more than to prove herself to her mother and help ferry the dead. She has no interest in love and just intends to kill her amoure as fast as possible so she can get on with her path in life.
➽ Sabine – Ailesses’ best friend who hates killing. She has no interest in harming any creature and is way behind in collecting her bones. While kind hearted, she is fiercely protective of her friend and would do anything for those she loved.
➽ Bastian – After watching his father being murdered by a bone crier at a young age, her wants nothing more than revenge against the man-killers. After years of training and tracking down information he is ready to make them pay for what they did to him and his father.
So we’ve got some classic revenge, mystical love magic and a girl who has to step up to join her rightful place among her people when things go tragically wrong. I want to start by saying that Sabine’s storyline was my favorite. She has such huge character growth, going from being usure of her place and her future to suddenly having to step up and be the one to help Ailesse when she is taken captive by Bastian. Death never comes easy for her and I really appreciated that. While it’s something that must be done, she never takes it lightly. Without her things may have continued on as they were with no notice.
Ailesse and Bastian fell a tad flat for me in the beginning. Ailesse was so set in her ways, so determined to just make her mom proud and be a bone crier. Bastian was exactly the same, determined to get revenge but at the same time set in his beliefs about what bone criers were and what they did. Both didn’t like being told what to do and were so stubborn. There was a bit of insta-love and some actual concern about Stockholm syndrome. I didn’t buy that Bastian and Ailesse were meant to be. He was literally holding her captive and slowly killing her, yet she’d notice the curls of his hair or the way he reacted to her. Girlfriend he literally has you tied up underground and took your bones, I swear you don’t want to jump him.
Overall though I enjoyed this book, but don’t think it was anything special. The the ending was just perfect though and that’s why it gets three stars instead of two. It blew up everything I thought I knew in the best of ways and really brought the whole story together. If you push through the first half of the book, by the end you’ll be glad you did I promise. Now we just have to wait FOREVER for book 2 and that cliffhanger was vicious.