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Review: Find Me Their Bones by Sara Wolf

Review: Find Me Their Bones by Sara Wolf

‘No one can save her.

In order to protect Prince Lucien d’Malvane’s heart, Zera had to betray him. Now, he hates the sight of her. Trapped in Cavanos as a prisoner of the king, she awaits the inevitable moment her witch severs their magical connection and finally ends her life.

But fate isn’t ready to give her up just yet.

With freedom coming from the most unlikely of sources, Zera is given a second chance at life as a Heartless. But it comes with a terrible price. As the king mobilizes his army to march against the witches, Zera must tame an elusive and deadly valkerax trapped in the tunnels underneath the city if she wants to regain her humanity.

Winning over a bloodthirsty valkerax? Hard. Winning back her friends before war breaks out? A little harder.

But a Heartless winning back Prince Lucien’s heart?

The hardest thing she’s ever done.’

I absolutely loved Bring Me Their Hearts (I literally shrieked at the cliffhanger it was left on and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever done that before) and have been so looking forward to Find Me Their Bones – and I’m glad to say that I was not at all disappointed by it. I read it cover to cover in one go, simply because I couldn’t put it down and I had to know what happened not just to Zera, but to the rest of the cast (including the more villainous variety) as well. In my experience, I find it quite rare to have a cast of characters – both the ‘heroes’ and the ‘villains’ – that are so easy to care about and become invested in. This series is one of my all-time favourites and if you’ve not yet picked up Bring Me Their Hearts, I urge you to give it a read!

I think what I appreciated most about Find Me Their Bones is the tone in which it’s written, particularly Zera’s dialogue and her attitude. The ‘strong and confident’ female lead can be done very poorly, in that many YA books have this character type behave in an over the top fashion for the duration of the narrative. The way that Zera behaves, often bringing sass and trying to find humour in situations in which she she cannot escape or finds too uncomfortable to bear is clearly presented as a coping mechanism when paired with her moments of fear, uncertainty and a deep sense of being unworthy. Her humour feels like a natural, defensive response and it doesn’t paint her as unbearably smug or overconfident. She is simply trying to deal with all that’s been forced upon her. Wolf strikes a very fine balance with Zera, ensuring that, while she has moments of physical and emotional strength, there are just as many instances of pain and vulnerability that keep her from being too much of one and not enough of the other. Though there are a lot of characters in YA books that I appreciate for the way they are, I find that Zera is one that I actually like, which I think is quite different to simply enjoying how a character is written. I love her quiet strength and that she is not overly maudlin about about that which she has every right to be, such as the fact that she quite literally dies at the hands of others who care not for her wellbeing more than once over the course of the novel. Zera gets on with what she must and looks for solutions, proving herself to be brave and clever and willing to aid others, often at a cost to herself.

One of the things I was glad of is that Zera, though plainly upset over what has happened to her relationship with Lucien, doesn’t obsess over it or let herself be so much in love that it overwhelms everything else. Yes, she loves him, and yes, there are moments when she wishes things could be different and thinks about him in a romantic way, but in almost every instant she is quick to divert herself from those thoughts and try to do something practical about not getting close to him again (whether it works or otherwise). She does her best to push him and others away, lying as and when she must with the intention of hurting them to keep them from growing attached to her in ways that will cost them, and does not dwell on how this makes her feel or fall into the trap of agonising about it to the detriment of the narrative. The exploration of her relationship with Lucien and those Zera has formed friendships with in the previous novel is, in Find Me Their Bones, not so much a look at romance, relationships and regrets, but how dangerous feelings stand to be, particularly in how they can be used to manipulate and expose weaknesses. While Zera knows that it would be better for all that she keep her distance and not let herself become involved in any way with those she has betrayed, the prospect of more simple and human interactions seems to keep luring her back, which she well knows could cost her her heart (literally) and what of her humanity, her memories and her past that she wishes to regain. It isn’t only herself that she worries for in terms of the toll of emotional involvement, and it’s that she genuinely cares for those around her (those she was never meant to love or want to protect) that ultimately leads to her feeling some of the worst of the same variety of betrayal that she was forced to commit in Bring Me Their Hearts.

Find Me Their Bones is a well-paced, engaging and immersive read with a solid cast of characters (even those with smaller roles are not merely names and titles, but given their own histories, motivation and story) and I can’t wait for the next book! Thank you to Entangled: Teen for the ARC! Find Me Their Bones is out on November 5th!

I received a digital ARC of Find Me Their Bones from Netgalley and the publisher.