Thank you, Lydia and Titan Books, for sending me a copy of The Bone Garden by Heather Kassner for free in exchange for an honest review.
Have you seen how stunning this book is, I mean matte black with silver detailing its amazeballs and fits in nicely with my black book collection.
This beautifully dark story is chocked full of horror, despair, adventure, and hope. Heather masterfully spins the dark tale of Irreélle and Miss Vesper with a careful hand, conjuring a beautiful story and multilayer relationship between Miss Vesper and Irreélle that will tug deeply at your heart. Heather's writing lures you in and you genuinely start to care for Irreélle however you won't realise it until you've released that you’ve read a good chunk of the book in one sitting or like me still reading in bed at 1 am and getting sad I had ran out of book too quickly and read it all in one sitting.
Let’s be honest guys from the cover we all knew this was going to be a book I would love. Let alone having the book be recommended to people who like Neil Gaiman's work. I thought the premise for this story was delightfully interesting, as I liked the concept of ‘bone magic’ and beings made of bone. This dark story walks the fine line between fun and darkness, a sinister Gothic menace from an innocent edge that was delivered with a fair amount of wit. I adored the world this book is set in, with the graveyard being the perfect backdrop for this story which has the feel of a Gothic fairy-tale with its dark atmosphere.
Not only is the world of graveyard tunnels so vivid and haunting it’s easy to picture without much effort from a reader point of view and that felt a little like a dark Victorian tale. Heather balances her emotional punches with moments of macabre hilarity and they work in harmony. This book is such a dark delight and I adored every minute of it. As the plot unfolds it deals with themes of creation, identity with a sprinkle of love and we see a young girl search of her true self.
So, who is our main character I hear you scream Irreélle, that eerie little being, stole my heart. Irreélle is made of bone dust and fragments of Miss Vesper's imagination, she is a creation of darkness and yet spread only light. From the start we see her question her existence with a hopefulness that made this character melt even my ice-cold heart.
It honestly didn’t take long for her to have all of my love and Heather if you happen to see this I want to read a lifetime of books following her adventures I don’t care where we go I’m ready. Watching Irreélle grow into herself and learn to believe that she is more than just dust and bone tethered to her creator, is so empowering, and so important.
Now to the wonderful Miss Vesper, I'm not going to write much because of Heather wonderful writing I hate this woman. Miss Vesper is Irréelle’s creator, and is unbelievably cruel, constantly reminding Irreélle that she is not real and can be returned to the bone dust at a moment’s notice when she sees fit. My heart actually broke for poor Irreélle because all she ever wanted was to please Miss Vesper.
The secondary characters were interesting and well developed, Lass, Guy and The Hand, you can't help but love this little gang of misfits. With the help of Lass, Guy and The Hand, Irreélle sets out to uncover the dark truths of Miss Vesper and the truth about this mysterious magic that has brought her to life, putting her own existence at risk in order to be truly free from this vile being while putting her fears aside to protect her friends. For such a dark looking book it actually has a couple of cute movements Along the way these three realise that even though they were little monsters created from bone dust and dark magic, humanity arises through the love that is forged through friendships.
I honestly can't recommend this book enough it’s a creepy yet feel-good read like getting a hug of the feel-good of a Disney film and Tim Burton (not quite The Nightmare Before Christmas) at the same time. I hope I get to go on another adventure with Irreélle.