In The Bone Charmer, the power to read the past, present, and future, derive from throwing bones to divine the future. Paired with some droplets of lifeblood, their cast is irrefutable...and wholly unchangeable.
Saskia dreads the day of her kenning which is when the Bone Charmer, Saskia's mother, will perform the readings to determine the apprenticeships for the youths of Midwood. While Saskia dreams of being a tutor and having a love match with Declan-a boy that stirs her heart- her mother casts a different future for her to be a bone charmer matched with Bram -a young man with multiple tattoos that hold the air of a harrowed past.
In anger, Saskia challenges her mother and inadvertently breaks one of the bones which causes the present to be split into two realities. One where Saskia does in fact become a tutor and is paired with Declan and another where Saskia inherits the role as a bone charmer with Bram by her side.
However, only one reality will become her future.
I was absolutely enchanted by The Bone Charmer from the moment Saskia steps onto the page and observers her mother at work while reflecting on her future. Author Breeana Shields created an engrossing world where fate can become fractured into multiple futures and then joined back together through the power of an individual's choice. The Bone Charmer's atmosphere holds a Neil Gaiman-esque air blended with dual narratives from Saskia's dual realities like Sliding Doors (1998).
The world building in The Bone Charmer was quite interesting. There weren't many depictions of their governmental system or if there were other existing factions that wielded other sorts of power within their world. Because of the lack of world building, there wasn't a specific visualization of the characters and environment that the readers could delve from the story. Yet, given the nature of the story, I am firmly convinced that the author purposefully left out descriptive details to allow the readers the same liberty as Saskia- to choose your own world. I believe, if anything, this allowed a greater immersement in theThe Bone Charmer where follow the diverged paths alongside Saskia lives and evolve your own sense of self as the future continues to unfold before you.
This was a highly imaginative work constructed from the bones of Breeana Shields imagination that takes the agency of the future with a racing plot that will have you eagerly anticipating a future installment.
"I didn't want to be bound to magic, but like most things in my life, fate didn't care about my plans."
"How can I possibly explain the seed of doubt the kenning has planted in my heart?"
"I'm not sure how many more fractures I can withstand, until I crumble."
"The bones know I need all the help I can get."
"No one can spot a lie like a liar."
"Or maybe fate has other plans."
About the Book
The Bone Charmer
by Breeana Shields
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: May 21st 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
In Saskia’s world, bones are the source of all power. They tell the future, reveal the past, and expose secrets in the present. Each village has a designated seer who performs readings for the townsfolk, and in Midwood, the Bone Charmer is Saskia’s mother.
On the day of her kenning—a special bone reading that determines the apprenticeships of all seventeen-year-olds—Saskia’s worst fears come true. She receives an assignment to train as a Bone Charmer, like her mother, and even worse, a match-making reading that pairs her with Bram—a boy who has suspicious tattoos that hint of violence.
Saskia knows her mother saw multiple paths for her, yet chose one she knew Saskia wouldn’t want. Their argument leads to a fracture in one of the bones. Broken bones are always bad luck, but this particular set of bones have been infused with extra magic, and so the break has devastating consequences—Saskia’s future has split as well. Now she will live her two potential paths simultaneously. Only one future can survive. And Saskia’s life is in danger in both.
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About the Author
Breeana Shields is an author of fantasy novels for teens including The Bone Charmer, Poison's Kiss, and Poison's Cage. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in English.
When she’s not writing, Breeana loves reading, traveling, and playing board games with her extremely competitive family. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, her three children, and two adorable, but spoiled dogs.
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