Book Review: By These Ten Bones

Book Review: By These Ten BonesBy These Ten Bones by Clare B. Dunkle
Published by Square Fish on February 15th 2011
Pages: 229

A mysterious young man has come to a small Highland town. His talent for wood carving soon wins the admiration of the weaver's daughter, Maddie. Fascinated by the silent carver, she sets out to gain his trust, only to find herself drawn into a terrifying secret that threatens everything she loves.

There is an evil presence in the carver's life that cannot be controlled, and Maddie watches her town fall under a shadow. One by one, people begin to die. Caught in the middle, Maddie must decide what matters most to her-and what price she is willing to pay to keep it.


By These Ten Bones is quite different than your ordinary werewolf tale. Here things go bump in the night and superstitions reign supreme.

When I read novels that have historical settings, I tend to expect a few things: accuracy, feeling like I have been transported to another time, etc. In this, By These Ten Bones succeeded beautifully. The novel takes place in Scotland. And from the every beginning, I felt like I had stepped into Maddie's world. Dunkle builds up this world so that you feel like you know every rock and path. It was so much fun trailing along with Maddie as you got to know her world.

Maddie, herself, was quite interesting. Her ideals are very ahead of her time, but her beliefs are still effected by the superstitions that her society believes in. Water horses, witches, evil spirits.. you name it and they believe it is real. While, in our society, we tend to view these superstitions as silly, it was great to peek into Maddie's world and get a glimpse into a society where all these fears were an every day occurrence. The novel was truly a lot darker than I had original thought it would be. Dunkle spares no stops here in creating a spooky world that you seriously makes you think twice about going out after dark.

Ultimately, By These Ten Bones was a very pleasant read. Dunkle thinks outside the box in order to deliver an authentic-feeling werewolf experience. There is nothing light or fluffy about this novel. A perfect novel for a dark, stormy night.

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