Book Review: The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Title: The Boneless Mercies
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Publication Date: October 4th 2018

Synopsis: "They called us Mercies, or sometimes Boneless Mercies. They said we were shadows, ghosts, and if you touched our skin we dissolved into smoke...

Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are Boneless Mercies - death-traders, hired to kill quickly, quietly and mercifully. It is a job for women, and women only. Men will not do this sad, dark work.

Frey has no family, no home, no fortune, and yet her blood sings a song of glory. So when she hears of a monster slaughtering men, women, and children in a northern jarldom, she decides this is the Mercies' one chance to change their fate.

But glory comes at a price..."

My thoughts: Oh my goodness. This book just held me enthralled. The amazing story that Tucholke has created here is just mystical, magical... Dark, and beautiful. Just wonderful. I may just be gushing now so I'll try to get down to some specifics.

The characters each have their own tale to tell, but you get precious little from them initially. Even Frey, the character we walk with, tells you little of her own story, and focuses more on the present - the next mark, the next meal, the next town. Each character is so wonderfully unique, but similar in being drawn together to do their dark work. Another character, Trigve, fascinated me as well, but honestly I was most fascinated with Juniper - her tale is just magical.

This is a retelling of sorts of Beowulf, and I could see the similarities throughout the story, but never really felt like I was reading a direct copy or anything like that. Tucholke has created her own magnificent world here, and her writing is just captivating and beautiful all at once. I often had to sit back after reading a particular sentence to just marvel and the mastery that she seems to have over the words - this is definitely a writer that I need to read more of.

Anyway, if I haven't gushed enough already, I think you ought to try this book out if you're fond of darker fantasies. Highly recommended.

{I received a review copy of this book from Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!!}

A favourite line from the book: 'We walked slowly through the village of Hail the next morning, to let them see us, the people with death on their minds. It was market day, and busy, but the villagers parted to let us through. None made eye contact - no one wanted to be seen trying to catch the attention of a Boneless Mercy. They gave us a wide berth, so the edges of our cloaks wouldn't graze them as we passed.'

You would like this book if: you like dark fantasy; you enjoy a tone of mystery and women good with a knife.

Rating:  10/10

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