‘Sup readers? It’s been so long (too long) since the last On The Shelf— whoops, my bad. The best apology, however, seems to be to dive right into talking about a book! If you’ve forgotten how On The Shelf works, no worries! Basically, I take a piece of newly-released literature, read and review it, so you don’t have to. If it’s a winner, it will be recommended a place on your shelf, but if it’s a dud, I’ll let you know.
This week’s book is Christopher Rice’s new YA thriller Bone Music.
Bone Music has a little something for everyone: there’s superhero thrills and serial killer chills and a little romance to boot! I don’t think I can summarize the book better than the publisher did, but I’ll try:
Charlotte Rowe spent the first 7 years of her life serial killers who stole her from her birth mother and then raised her in their image. When she is rescued, the press dubs her “Burning Girl”— the little girl who helped cover up the Banning’s horrific crime spree by burning all the evidence. She’s returned to a father who sees her only as a pay cheque, and proceeds to cash in on her horrific story via books and appearances and a horror movie franchise (it’s amazing how far a little bit of infamy can be stretched). Now an adult, Charlotte is a mess of psychological trauma; when she’s drugged with an experimental pill that gives her superpowers, a nasty corporation is intent on capturing her and using her for their own whims. Charlotte has had enough of being afraid— she wants to take control of her own life, make her own destiny. She decides to avenge the death of the mother she never knew by drawing out a serial killer and flipping the script from victim to hero.
I confess: I had no idea this book was meant to be a YA novel until I looked it up on Goodreads. It just doesn’t have a YA vibe to it, and the principle characters are all older than your typical YA protagonist. But that’s one of the aspects of this book I loved: it felt like an adult novel, and so people who are on the edge of leaving YA fiction behind but not quite sure where to start, this might be a good jumping off point. It has a lot of aspects that will appeal to modern readers: serial killers and super powers and a female protagonist who actually knows how to defend herself chief among them.
There were things I really did like about the book. The plot was intriguing. Rice effortlessly pulled elements from different genres and mixed them all together like the Gordon Ramsey of the book world. I like that he was able to conceive such an original idea, and that he stuck it out and we got a book out of it. I thought Charlotte’s superhero “origin story” was a refreshing take on what could easily have been a comfortable trope. I have no doubt the majority will love Bone Music.
But as was the case with The Possessions, I just didn’t love this novel. There was nothing wrong with it so much as I just wasn’t gripped by the story (how could I not love this, or connecting to any of the characters. The multitude of perspectives didn’t help, because to be honest, they all felt like the same voice, after awhile. There was nothing separating Charlotte from Luke from Dylan from Kayla, they all just felt homogeneous. They felt like stock characters, not people.
Honestly, there’s nothing cringey or roast-worthy about Bone Music. It wasn’t problematic or annoying (though the blossoming romance just struck me as odd). It was just… there. But again, I know my opinion will reflect that of the minority, because Rice has crafted something I think a lot of people will truly enjoy. I wanted to love this, I just didn’t, and I won’t be carrying on with the series. I can’t personally recommend it for your shelf, but I do encourage you to check it out on your e reader and make up your own mind. If you’d like to give Bone Music a try, you can purchase it here.
On The Shelf rating: 2.5 out of a possible 5 stars.