After years of seeing her sisters suffer at the hands of an abusive prince, Marra—the shy, convent-raised, third-born daughter—has finally realized that no one is coming to their rescue. No one, except for Marra herself.
Seeking help from a powerful gravewitch, Marra is offered the tools to kill a prince—if she can complete three impossible tasks. But, as is the way in tales of princes, witches, and daughters, the impossible is only the beginning.
On her quest, Marra is joined by the gravewitch, a reluctant fairy godmother, a strapping former knight, and a chicken possessed by a demon. Together, the five of them intend to be the hand that closes around the throat of the prince and frees Marra’s family and their kingdom from its tyrannous ruler at last.
***Thanks to NetGalley and Tor Books for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided.
solid, good read:
Magic never seemed to be much use at doing the things you wanted done in a reasonable time frame.
Nettle & Bone starts in an incredibly dark place, but it wasn’t long before I was rooting for Marra and her ragtag group of friends.
I read this right after House of Salt and Sorrows, so I was in the perfect mindset for a creepy fairy tale – it can be difficult to get a handle on the tone here, though. Sometimes deeply horrific, often darkly humorous, Nettle & Bone walks a fine line between a traditional fairy tale and a ghost story. In the end, it’s a story about a group of friends and their journey to kill a prince.
"How did you get a demon in your chicken?"
"The usual way. Couldn't put it in the rooster. That's how you get basilisks."
Each of these characters is multi-faceted and fascinating; they have their roles to play, both in this world and on this mission, or as they all said many times:
it's a fool's errand and we'll probably all die.
At times they may appear a little simplistic, but I attributed this more to the fairy tale type of storytelling than to any limitation of the writing.
I really enjoyed Nettle & Bone. Dark and surprising, the narrative transported me to a fantastical world where I could never be sure what would happen next. With all the hallmarks of a traditional fairy tale – one of the original ones that are nice and creepy – I appreciated the dark humour and enchanting storyline.