Bonesmith (House of the Dead #1)

Nicki Pau Preto

YA Epic Fantasy Dystopia

Gideon the Ninth meets the Game of Thrones White Walkers in this dark young adult fantasy about a disgraced ghost-fighting warrior who must journey into a haunted wasteland to rescue a kidnapped prince.

Ready your blade. Defeat the undead.

In the Dominions, the dead linger, violent and unpredictable, unless a bonesmith severs the ghost from its earthly remains. For bonesmith Wren, becoming a valkyr—a ghost-fighting warrior—is a chance to solidify her place in the noble House of Bone and impress her frequently absent father. But when sabotage causes Wren to fail her qualifying trial, she is banished to the Border Wall, the last line of defense against a wasteland called the Breach where the vicious dead roam unchecked.

Determined to reclaim her family’s respect, Wren gets her chance when a House of Gold prince is kidnapped and taken beyond the Wall. To prove she has what it takes to be a valkyr, Wren vows to cross the Breach and rescue the prince. But to do so, she’s forced into an uneasy alliance with one of the kidnappers—a fierce ironsmith called Julian from the exiled House of Iron, the very people who caused the Breach in the first place…and the House of Bone’s sworn enemy.

As they travel, Wren and Julian spend as much time fighting each other as they do the undead, but when they discover there’s more behind the kidnapping than either of them knew, they’ll need to work together to combat the real a dark alliance that is brewing between the living and the undead.

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5) The only thing Wren has wanted her whole life was to be a valkyr, therefore earning her father’s respect. Her reckless behavior and “no rules” attitude caused chaos and problems. She is one of the best but also the most dangerous.

Wren (as a valkyr) is needed to fight the sometimes aggressive ghosts while a reapyr comes from behind and releases the ghost from the body, giving it peace. Both positions are essential and are honored. Wren is sabotaged in her trial to prove herself and is sent to the Border Wall as punishment and a disgrace. Only the lowest of low are sent here and Wren is smart enough to realize her father is banishing her. Here I felt some Game of Thrones vibes that had similarities throughout the story but was still very different.

This is where the book got interesting. We learn more about the history of this world and the backstory of Wren and her people, the House of Bone. Others such as the House of Iron, and the House of Gold play a large part in the history and the huge war about 20 years previous.

“The recklessness that had served her all her life might well be her undoing if she focused more on how to fight the undead than how to not fight them.”

While out beyond the gate with a visiting price (snarky and fun prince), he was kidnapped and Wren is left for dead with one of the kidnappers, Julian. Here, the enemies-to-lovers came in so well. They were forced to work together and ended up being a great team. Julian and Wren discover so much on their trek. More than either had been told or had realized. This information is critical to their world and their families.

Julian, Wren and the Prince were my favorite characters. There is banter, snark, betrayal, deception, lies and more. I couldn’t put it down and I never lost interest. The characters were well-rounded and interesting while the depth to their world got deeper and deeper. The intricacies of the story are still running through my mind while I play out what may happen next. I cannot wait for book 2!

General content summary: F words= 12, physical violence (fists, weapons, blood, multiple), undead (multiple), corpse found (some details), grave of multiple bodies found, alcohol, arrow deaths (no details), captivity, many killed by deathrot (touched by undead and slowly rot to death), some intimacy (passionate kissing, one naked), throat slit with knife (death, blood), stabbing death.

Thank you to Goodreads and Simon Teen for the giveaway win!

The book releases July 25, 2023.

**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

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