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Monday, January 28, 2019

YA Review: The Cold Is In Her Bones

The Cold Is In Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale

Published: January 22nd, 2019 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre: YA Fantasy
Binding: eARC
Page Count: Goodreads says 288 and that seems right.
Part of a series? No, I don't believe so.
Got via: Edelweiss
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Milla knows two things to be true: Demons are real, and fear will keep her safe.

Milla’s whole world is her family’s farm. She is never allowed to travel to the village and her only friend is her beloved older brother, Niklas. When a bright-eyed girl named Iris comes to stay, Milla hopes her loneliness might finally be coming to an end. But Iris has a secret she’s forbidden to share: The village is cursed by a demon who possesses girls at random, and the townspeople live in terror of who it will come for next.

Now, it seems, the demon has come for Iris. When Iris is captured and imprisoned with other possessed girls, Milla leaves home to rescue her and break the curse forever. Her only company on the journey is a terrible new secret of her own: Milla is changing, too, and may soon be a demon herself.

Review: This is my least favourite kind of review to write. This is one of the books that there's nothing really that I disliked a lot or that's wrong with it but I just have kind of underwhelming feelings about. I think people who like kind of mythology/folktale type books might like this better. It's got a very fairy tale feel, kinda like if Gail Carson Levine wrote dark books, and if that's something that appeals to you, this might be more your thing. But I've talked before about fantasy books can be a hard sell for me and this was one of those cases.

Also can we talk about the fact that this is supposed to be a Medusa retelling? Because I didn't get that at all. Like okay, I got that there was a snake thing, and at times I went, "Oh this is Medusa inspired," but I never would have called it a Medusa retelling. I don't think having one thing in common makes it a retelling.

Something I think that really made this not work as well for me is actually how long it is. It's under three hundred pages? Sometimes the plot time-skipped months at a time and yet it didn't feel like time was passing because it happened in a sentence or a paragraph. With that, the characters felt under-developed. They're fine, but they never excited me. I didn't feel like I was getting to know them or understanding them, just... observing them. And what I was observing wasn't that interesting at the beginning.

I think the thing I thought was most interesting was the idea that anyone in the village Iris came from would use the threat of demon possession against any girl who acts angry or has any sort of spine at all. Of course that would happen. It has happened, again and again, historically. But it's so under-explored that it was honestly disappointing. Most of the girls that happened to don't even get names.

Plus like, what about queer girls? How does demon possession effect them? Are they targeted by families more? There aren't any in the book, so I couldn't tell you. There's nada for diversity in this, period, and it's kind of dull to read honestly.

I will say, props to the cover designer for getting a very accurate one. The girl actually looks like Milla, and the snakes are exactly like they are in the book. I also did really enjoy that there was basically no romance in this. It's nice to read books without romance sometimes.

Overall this just wasn't my favourite book in the world.

Sorry if this is a little sparse - I'm not feeling the best today!

Peace and cookies,

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