Publication Date: May 4, 2012
Author: Mary Holland
A divvy, a dying woman, and a promise
Rhona has the divvy gift; with only a touch she knows if a baby will be fertile or will be a sterile Shun, destined to be killed or outcast. The people of the Deom depend on the divvys for survival, but it is a hard and brutal gift. As long as Rhona’s mother was alive, Rhona had followed the old ways, but now her mother is dead and Rhona is free to live her own life. She has one last obligation to fulfill: honor her mother’s dying wish to find a woman named Selina and offer her help.
Rhona has no idea who Selina is, but the best way to find anyone on Deo is to travel the Bone Road, the trade highway paved with the remains of their ancestors. And follow it Rhona does, accompanied by her young son Jak, straight into a twisted conspiracy of vengeance, death, rebirth, and the mystery of the Riders, men who never die and are bent on closing the Bone Road forever.
I’ll be honest; I initially bought this book because one of the main characters shared my name. I really like my name, it’s beautiful, and unique, and I thought, “Gee, I can’t wait to read about this other Annalise and how cool she is.”
She was pretty damn cool.
Mary Holland’s The Bone Road is one of those books that is so chock full of creativity, and flavor, and action that, despite only being 376 pages long, finishing the book felt a lot like finishing a fully fleshed out trilogy. The world building was glorious. So much is packed into this novel, from ancient customs and rituals, to nomads, to reincarnation, to what essentially boils down to an incredibly technologically advanced version of realspace Sims (I’m keeping that last little spoiler vague on purpose.)
However, even with all that, this book is not dry. The novel is not full of boring exposition and pointless world building scenes, rather the author skillfully utilizes the “show not tell” method of creating an entire world through scenes that add to the story, rather than drag it along.
I’ll be frank. Indie books can be full of the wildest and most abundant creativity, however, more often than not they are also full of amateur writing, and dragging plotlines. For a reader who knows nothing about a book, picking up an independently published novel, knowing nothing about its content, is a risk, which is why I must wholeheartedly recommend The Bone Road for any readers who wish for something incredibly refreshing and different from many books currently on the shelves today.
Mary Holland’s novel is a fascinating blend of the fantasy and…dare I say it…science fiction genres magnified by excellent writing. I congratulate her for putting in both the incredible time and effort in order to give this book so much life.