ARC provided by HMH via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Book: Not Even Bones
Series: Not Even Bones, #1
Author: Rebecca Schaeffer
Genre: YA fantasy, paranormal
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
My rating: ★★
Dexter meets This Savage Song in this dark fantasy about a girl who sells magical body parts on the black market — until she’s betrayed.
Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” Until her mom brings home a live specimen and Nita decides she wants out; dissecting a scared teenage boy is a step too far. But when she decides to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold in his place—because Nita herself isn’t exactly “human.” She has the ability to alter her biology, a talent that is priceless on the black market. Now on the other side of the bars, if she wants to escape, Nita must ask herself if she’s willing to become the worst kind of monster.
I truly wish I loved this book more! I feel like the description was made for me. Anything that’s compared to Dexter gets my vote. But this was such a huge disappointment for me. As the synopsis says, Nita dissects bodies of “unnaturals” for her mother to sell on the black market. But after a betrayal, she becomes a victim herself; locked away in a cell and tortured.
To be honest this book gave me major Hostel vibes. There are characters that feel a high from inflicting pain on others, and some take pleasure in dismembering and eating people. Y’all, I’m usually a huge fan of serial-killer-thrillers but the graphic nature of these torture scenes felt really weird. Like some of it felt really pointless and just dragged the story on and on…
And once the story is set in motion, everything just kept going around in circles. I felt there was zero resolution, a lack of world building and character development, and Nita was such an idiot.
However, here is my biggest praise for this book: There is a Thai main character. If you know me then you’ll know that I am Thai, and I have NEVER read a single YA book where there is a Thai character. So I was literally jumping for joy and tweeting about it when I was introduced to Kovit. Not only is he Thai but he also tells us the creepy story about the krasue, a Thai folk tale involving a female monster that’s nothing more than a floating disembodied head with its spine and intestines still attached. Yes, that’s right, MY OWN GRANDMOTHER used to tell me that a krasue would come take me away if I didn’t fall asleep right away. HOW are you supposed to sleep after knowing about THAT THING!?
Okay, but seriously, I really did like Kovit a lot. He was the type of unapologetic, morally grey character I like in a horror/fantasy stories. I just wasn’t a fan of Nita or, really, the entire plot. But major props to Rebecca Schaeffer for including such diverse characters!
Another thing is that I didn’t realize this was going to be a series (this is entirely my fault.) Imagine my dismay when I reached the 90% mark to discover literally nothing has happened and NOTHING was resolved. Oh, you want any sort of resolution and answers? Gotta wait for the next book. Which I do not plant to read. Bummer.
I’m sorry I didn’t love this more, and I hope my negativity didn’t ruin this for you. If you’re okay with gore/torture scenes then this may be a good read for Halloween. I just wish the story had more depth and world building to it, and overall it needed way more things to happen to keep the story moving forward to justify a sequel.