Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Review: Boneset & Feathers by Gwendolyn Kiste


Boneset & Feathers by Gwendolyn Kiste

Publication Date: November 3, 2020 by Broken Eye Books

Genre: Horror, Fantasy

Pages: 172

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Source: eARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review 

You don’t know their fire is coming until it’s too late. That’s exactly the way the witchfinders like it. As an isolated enchantress, Odette knows this too well–she lost nearly her whole family to the last round of executions, barely escaping with her own life. All the magic she could conjure wasn’t enough to protect her mother and sister, a burden that leaves a despondent Odette practically wishing she’d burned with the rest.

Now it’s five years later, and as the last witch left from her village, Odette has exiled herself to the nearby woods where she’s sworn off all magic, hoping instead for quiet and for safety. But no witch has ever been permitted a peaceful life.

It starts with crows tumbling out of the clouds and spectral voices on the wind that won’t leave her alone. Then there are those midnight visits to the graveyard that she can’t quite remember in the morning and the strange children following her everywhere she goes. Odette wants to forget magic, but her magic doesn’t want to forget her. Meanwhile, the former friends she left behind in the village are cowering together, hiding from the ghostly birds they believe she’s sent to torment them for abandoning her. But that’s only the beginning of their problems, as Odette soon discovers their worst nightmare is about to come true–the witchfinders are returning. And this time, the decree is clear: to burn the witch that got away.

With the men drawing nearer to the village, Odette must face the whispers from the dead and confront her fear of her own growing power if she wants any chance of stopping the army of witchfinders determined to rid the countryside of magic once and for all.

Boneset & Feathers was a riveting tale of strong and powerful witches and ruthless and tyrannical witch hunters. I enjoyed this fantasy-horror novel!

This is my first time reading one of Gwendolyn Kiste’s books and I gotta say I am impressed. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I requested this book on NetGalley. I had heard good things about Kiste’s previous work so I decided to read her latest book. Also, that beautiful cover art drew me in!

Boneset & Feathers is a fantasy-folk-horror about a witch named Odette who not only faces judgment from her neighbors but also must hide from the witch hunters who are out to kill all witches. I found the beginning was a little slow moving but eventually the story picked up and I was captivated until the thrilling conclusion. I would describe this book as a fantasy-horror. I thought Boneset & Feathers had a perfect blend of horror and fantasy elements.

I was immediately drawn to the main character, Odette. She is a fierce and strong character and I loved how she was able to handle the adversity and hatred she was faced with throughout the story. Some of the side characters were also strong and fierce women, especially Odette’s friends, Anna and Beatrix.

The small village setting was the perfect backdrop for this story and it had a 1600s Salem, MA feel to it. I’m not exactly sure when this story takes place, but it seems like it would be around the same time as the Salem witch trials. Of course, this is a fantasy story and not a true historical account, but you can tell that this book is influenced by the Salem witch trials.

I think this novel would be the perfect read for historical fantasy and horror lovers. I had a fun time reading this one. If you’re looking for a short novel featuring strong female characters, a magical fantasy world, horror elements, and witches, then definitely pick this one up! I’m looking forward to reading Kiste’s backlist.

Thanks for Reading!

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