Today for Indie Sunday I am reviewing Crown of Bones by Rosalyn Briar, a New Adult dark, fairy tale fantasy. If you want to check out a sample of the book, I shared an extract as part of the Storytellers on Tour blitz for Crown of Bones on Wednesday (Here).
Fairy tales are not what they seem.
Gisela knows about sacrifice all too well.
She abandoned her education, friends, and fairy tales to support her family and care for her sister.
But when she jilts a wealthy suitor, Gisela is chosen for another type of sacrifice.
As an Offering to the Goddess Bergot, Gisela and seven others are sent on a deadly quest for a mythical crown. To return home, Gisela must overcome obstacles which darkly resemble the fairy tales she once believed.
Weaving through a tapestry of friendship, romance, violence, and magic—Gisela becomes the target of an ancient evil force, while an ominous detail from the past haunts her at every turn.
To what lengths will Gisela go to save the ones she loves?
Sometimes sacrifices must be made.
The Crown of Bones is a dark fairy tale retelling with lots of twists, and a wonderful exploration of multiple fairy tales, as well as a story of self-preservation and survival with a memorable protagonist.
Ultimately this one wasn’t for me, perhaps because it is targeted at a younger audience and because there is more romance than I usually prefer to read, although I will say that I did like the way the relationship between Gisela and Bhram developed throughout the book and that they were both strong, individual characters in their own right before coming together. Gisela was also, for the most part, a main character that you couldn’t help but root for, and she has a balance of weakness and strength and considerable development throughout the book.
I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed Briar’s writing, and she did a wonderful job of bringing this story, and the fairy tales being retold to life in a way that was both modern but created that wonderful creepy atmosphere that you want for the darker side of fairy tales. It felt very much like a fairy tale being woven, and it was done in such a way that you were well and truly pulled into the book.
There is a lot happening in this book, and while that works to the narrative’s advantage in that you can’t put it down because you need to find out what will happen next, there are a few places where it fell short because you weren’t sure what was happening or what would happen next. I think ideally this book could have done with being a bit longer, in order to have the time and space to build on that, and to create more established geography especially and to allow for longer, smoother transitions. That said, usually, it was easy enough to reconnect with the story after a few paragraphs, but I feel this could have brought this book up to the next level.
The worldbuilding also shone through in this one, and while the actual geography – between fairy tales and dreams – could have used being more defined, the rest of the world was beautifully crafted. In particular, I enjoyed the mythos behind Bergot, and the idea of the offering, as well as how the fairy tales were interconnected both with one another but the rest of the world, and forming a fascinating backdrop to a rich story of friendship and love, violence and magic and sacrifice.
While this book wasn’t for me in the end, it is one that others will definitely enjoy, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it especially for anyone who enjoys retellings and diving into your favourite fairy tales with a twist.
About the Author:
Rosalyn Briar is the dark fantasy author of The Crown of Bones. She is a former teacher and enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her family. Follow her on Twitter @rosalynbriar for daily writing questions about characters and world building.
The Crown of Bones – Rosalyn Briar – ***.* (3.5/5 Stars – will be rounded up to 4 on goodreads)
If you’ve read it, or read it in the future, please feel free to shout at me about this fantastic book.