The Bone Maker by Sarah Beth Durst – Review

Published: March 9, 2021

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Series: Standalone

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 496 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

From award-winning author Sarah Beth Durst, a standalone epic fantasy set in a brand-new world of towering mountains and sparkling cities, in which a band of aging warriors have a second chance to defeat dark magic and avenge a haunting loss.

Twenty-five years ago, five heroes risked their lives to defeat the bone maker Eklor—a corrupt magician who created an inhuman army using animal bones. But victory came at a tragic price. Only four of the heroes survived. 

Since then, Kreya, the group’s leader, has exiled herself to a remote tower and devoted herself to one purpose: resurrecting her dead husband. But such a task requires both a cache of human bones and a sacrifice—for each day he lives, she will live one less.

She’d rather live one year with her husband than a hundred without him, but using human bones for magic is illegal in Vos. The dead are burned—as are any bone workers who violate the law. Yet Kreya knows where she can find the bones she needs: the battlefield where her husband and countless others lost their lives.

But defying the laws of the land exposes a terrible possibility. Maybe the dead don’t rest in peace after all.  

Five warriors—one broken, one gone soft, one pursuing a simple life, one stuck in the past, and one who should be dead. Their story should have been finished. But evil doesn’t stop just because someone once said, “the end.”


Five heroes went to kill the corrupt bone maker Eklor, and when he was defeated only four returned. Jentt, the quick and nimble thief, died to save another. His wife Kreya, the leader of their heroic party, has hidden herself away in a remote tower for decades following his death where she has been learning how to resurrect him. The only hitch in her plan is finding the human bones required to bring Jentt back to life and to do that she must cross the wall, to the field of the last battle. Of course, all of this is illegal and if Kreya were caught she would be summarily burned, just as the dead traditionally are treated… good thing she’s resourceful and has old friends that can be called upon! 

Fair warning, the paragraph above is only the smallest fraction of The Bone Maker’s plot which I thought was pretty damn delightful. This book absolutely did not go in the direction I expected it to which kept me turning pages late into the night. How could I put it down when the evil guy might not actually be dead!? And then, the characters were absolutely fascinating. The whole gang reunited once again, proving how massively surviving such a harrowing ordeal can screw up a person’s psyche. I got unexpected Kings of the Wyld vibes from this book but with less humor. The whole “reuniting the gang of retired heroes to fight the big evil” schtick is absolutely one of my favorite things in fantasy.

Let’s talk a bit about the characters now. Kreya, of course, has been an unkempt hermit for at least a decade and she has her husband’s corpse in a spare bedroom at the start of the book. She’s also got creepy constructs doing tasks about her dilapidated wizard tower. Very mad scientist/magician vibe. Jentt has been a corpse on and off for a while now, but once he’s revived he’s definitely the more stable of the two. Zera, Kreya’s best friend, has become an obscenely wealthy bone maker, creating talismans that grant abilities like speed, flight, stealth and so forth. She’s excellent, and doesn’t hold back on how she feels about Kreya abandoning her after the battle ended. Marso was the bone reader of the group and he’s practically raving mad when they find him naked in a fountain. He was seeing things he thought for sure couldn’t be true. Stran, the muscle of the group, has turned into a doting father and loving husband who assists his terrifying competent wife Amurra in running their farm. I love the variety we get with the characters and their chemistry when they reunite is amazing. 

This was a brilliant book and Sarah Beth Durst is cementing her place as one of my favorite fantasy authors. She writes epic standalones that leave you completely satisfied at the end. I’m considering returning to the Queens of Renthia series to complete it, despite my lackluster feelings about the first book in that series because everything else I’ve read is SO GOOD. As I mentioned previously, I think this book would be perfect for fans of Kings of the Wyld or anyone searching for a fantasy focusing on the aftermath of victory. I can’t recommend this enough!

Currently Reading: 2/22/21

The Bone Maker by Sarah Beth Durst
I have been so excited to finally read this, but initially put it off because it was sooo far until the release date! And now that date is quickly sneaking up on me! A hero is planning to use forbidden magic to raise her husband (who fell fighting a corrupt magician) from the dead. It sounds fabulously dark and emotional!

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I picked this up in an Audible sale a couple weeks ago and decided now was the time to check it out. Before I pick up another murder mystery book anyway. A group of unlikely young cadets are thrown together and may end up preventing a catastrophic intergalactic war. I love the large cast of voice actors and tend to find the snarky attitudes fun.

Stacking the Shelves: 11/7/20

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly (or in my case monthly) meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and it’s all about sharing the books you’ve added to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. You can include books you buy in a physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course ebooks!


Received for Review: 

ORBIT GOODIES!!!!

The Poison Prince by S.C. Emmett
OOoo OOo OO!! I loved the first book in this series and can’t wait to read this sequel! There is so much good political drama, potential/budding romance, and it was just so surprisingly awesome. 

Call of the Bone Ships by R.J. Barker
Another amazing looking sequel from Orbit. I’ve been LOVING the pirate/high seas adventure fantasies that have been released lately. Can’t wait to dive in and ‘sea’ if this one lives up to the previous book. 

The Mask of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick
And here’s a lovely physical ARC of one of my most anticipated new series for 2021! I’ve already featured this a couple times on my blog, so just check out the synopsis.

Wine Dark Deep by R. Peter Keith
This was a cool looking scifi book that unfortunately didn’t work so well for me. You can check out my review HERE.

Lore by Alexandra Bracken
I’m going to jump on the Greek gods train and have fun with this one! The cover is awesome and the synopsis is promising, plus Alex Bracken has written some good stuff! Thanks to Disney-Hyperion for the eARC!

The Bone Maker by Sarah Beth Durst
This was a recent Waiting on Wednesday feature it OMG IT SOUNDS SOOOO GOOD!!!! The early reviews are great and I might read this ASAP! Thanks to HarperVoyager for the eARC.

My Purchases:

I have acquired quite a few versions of the Red Rising series over the years and here’s another one. It’s because I’m WEAK! These are a way cool special edition set from FairyLoot that finally arrived after some shipping confusion. They are LOVELY.

Ahhh yes, birthday gifts to myself! I love buying cookbooks. Bravetart is an awesome dessert  cookbook and Orange Blossom & Honey offers an interesting look into Moroccan cuisine and has great pictures to boot!

I snagged Devolution and accompanying card game from a Del Rey giveaway many months ago. It got delayed forever due to COVID, but here it is! I read it like, the day after I got it so a review will be up soon!

I’ve been charging through audiobooks lately and have listened to some particularly good ones! I’m currently listening to The Sword of Kaigen and will be posting reviews of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and The Devil and the Dark Water soon! You can check out my review for A Deadly Education HERE.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Bone Maker by Sarah Beth Durst

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme originally hosted on Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. This is a great way to share upcoming released you’re excited about!

Oh my gosh!! This book has just the best synopsis EVER. Basically, five warriors defeated a corrupt magician but in the process one of them was killed. This warrior’s wife, who was also the leader of their group, has spent years trying to find a way to raise him from the dead. The catch here is that bone magic is illegal. The Bone Maker sounds like an absolute fabulous read and I can’t wait to get my hands on it in March 2021!