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The Bone Dragon

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3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  343 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Evie's shattered ribs have been a secret for the last four years. Now she has found the strength to tell her adoptive parents, and the physical traces of her past are fixed - the only remaining signs a scar on her side and a fragment of bone taken home from the hospital, which her uncle Ben helps her to carve into a dragon as a sign of her strength.

Soon this ivory talisman
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Paperback, 300 pages
Published April 30th 2013 by Faber and Faber
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Fangirl by Rainbow RowellEleanor & Park by Rainbow RowellGeek Girl by Holly SmaleModel Misfit by Holly SmaleTrouble by Non Pratt
YALC 2014
15th out of 113 books — 74 voters
Like Clockwork - A Complete Adventure Serial by Damien LoveChildren of the Jacaranda Tree by Sahar DelijaniThe Bone Dragon by Alexia CasaleFerryman by Claire McFallSoulmates by Holly Bourne
Edinburgh Book Festival 2013 - First Book Award
3rd out of 42 books — 9 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,036)
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Lauren Smith
Rating: 7/10

For four years, 14-year-old Evie has been living with broken ribs after being abused by her grandparents. Although she was adopted by Amy and Paul, who proved to be loving, devoted parents, it took three years before she trusted them enough to tell them about the pain and what it meant. When the novel opens she wakes up in hospital after her operation. As a memento, the doctor gives her the piece of rib that they removed. When she goes home to recover, Evie’s Uncle Ben suggests she m
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Jules
maybe 1,5 ....at the most. Being VERY generous.

What can I say about "The Bone Dragon"? It should be called "The Boring Dragon" or something like that.

Maybe this review contains spoilers...I dont even care. Nothing happens in this book anyway.

Its about Evie. a 14 y/o girl who somehow does not have a character at all. She just has a OMGWTF history (which you will not hear anything important about really) and is such a poor, poor baby.

She just had one of her ribs removed in surgery and that rib ge
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Cora Tea Party Princess
This book just wasn't my cup of tea.

I was put off almost straight away by the seeming slow and very confusing beginning. It took me a long long time to get into this book and by the time I did get in to it I just wasn't feeling it any more.

It's a quirky idea, the bone dragon, and it did work. But the trickle of information about Evie's past was just too slow for me, too patchy. I found myself flicking back a lot to jog my memory.

I think I'll give this book another go in a few months time. It was
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Journey
wow wow this was lovely. i'm docking one star (more like half a star, if we could do half-stars) because i do think the ending was a bit abrupt and neat, but it's not totally uncalled for given that this is a story about a dragon helping a child abuse victim cope.

Don't ask me about unicorns.
"I don't want to," I say. "They only go to the pure. Those who are chaste."
You have no need of a unicorn, the Dragon tells me firmly. It would be of no use to you. It is well that you wished for a dragon. Yo
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Elizabeth Moffat
I got this book free from NetGalley, many thanks to the publishers at Faber and Faber. When we first meet Evie in this novel she is recovering from an operation to mend her ribs, damaged in a horrifying way. The doctors let her take home a fragment of one of her bones that had to be removed, with which the help of her Uncle Ben, she carves into a beautiful dragon. Although at the start a lot of information is not provided, the reader can deduce that Evie is a profoundly unhappy little girl, who ...more
Oh, the Kelley!
Aug 09, 2013 Oh, the Kelley! rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who like contemporary stories that deal with difficult issues, and don’t mind a slower pace
Recommended to Oh, the Kelley! by: Luna
If you like a slower, more subdued read, then The Bone Dragon might be a good choice for you. There are a lot of tough issues addressed in this book, and they were often subtly and carefully explored. Evie’s traumatic past and delicate relationships with her foster family are handled very well. I could feel her grief, understand her desire for secrecy, and empathize with her feelings of wanting to be loved. The other characters were pretty well rounded out, and I really appreciated the way the r ...more
Annabelle
The Bone Dragon is such a powerful debut novel. I’ve wanted to read this novel for a while, the synopsis intrigued me straight away and then the cover fully hooked me, after all it’s gorgeous. To be honest I’m not really sure what I was expecting when I picked up this novel. I wasn’t expecting such a raw and powerful story with such a strong main character. Alexia Casale has shown that she is a talented writer who can pack such an emotional punch in her prose. The Bone Dragon left me wanting mor ...more
Book Angel Emma
Review by Beth

My review of this novel begins with WOW. I was not expecting anything special, especially when I read the title and synopsis but I always like being proven wrong. The Bone Dragon is brilliant. Not a quick read like some of the others recently, I took my time and savoured every bit of action and twist in the plot.
Evie has been broken, literally to bits but is slowly being mended in no small part due to her adoptive parents and new family. She’s lived through abuse and her new life s
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Louise
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elas Büchertruhe
Evie lebt bei ihren Adoptiveltern, nachdem sie in der Vergangenheit sehr viele grausame und traurige Momente erleben musste. Nachdem ihr Rippenbruch operiert wurde, bleibt ihr nur noch eine Narbe und ein Stück Knochen, die daran erinnern. Aus diesem Knochen schnitzt Evie sich einen Drachen, der nachts anscheinend lebendig wird und von ihr Mut und Gerechtigkeit einfordert. Denn egal wie sehr sich Evies neue Eltern um sie bemühen. Für Gerechtigkeit für das, was Evie erleben musste, können sie nich ...more
Georgina Carter
I picked up The Bone Dragon in my library not knowing anything about the book or it’s author. It was in the young adult section, I liked the cover, there were good reviews quoted (although none from any major newspapers) and I thought the blurb was interesting:

"Dreams are the fire that warms the soul. Evie refuses to talk about why she needed an operation. Saying it out loud would hurt too much.

Instead, she focuses on carving the piece of her rib that the doctors removed into a tiny dragon – a d
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Michelle Moore
The Bone Dragon introduces us to Evie, who’s recovering from an operation to remove a part of her rib. With the help of her uncle, she decides to keep this piece of rib, and carve a dragon from it. As she recovers, this little bone dragon comes to life, and takes her out on night time trips.

Over the course of the book, Evie’s past and life is gradually revealed to the reader, although it’s never totally clear; and it’s important to realise that Evie is the narrator of her story, so part of the e
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[☆] мєℓαиιє [★]
Evie ist 13 und hat es endlich geschafft, ihren Adoptiveltern von ihrer gebrochenen Rippe zu erzählen. Nach einer erfolgreichen Operation ist sie endlich ihre Schmerzen los und darf das rausgeschnittene Stück Rippe als Andenken mit nach Hause nehmen.

Mit Hilfe ihres Adoptivonkels Ben schnitzt sie sich einen Drachen daraus, als Glücksbringer und Zeichen ihrer neugewonnenen Stärke.

Jedesmal, wenn sie ihn betrachtet, wünscht sie sich nichts sehnlicher, als dass dieser Drache lebendig wird, als dass s
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T.S. Easton
I loved this. I knew nothing about it before I bought the book but had heard such wonderful things I was really looking forward to reading and it didn’t disappoint. At times Casale uses a spare, elegant style that leaves much up to the reader’s interpretation, but there are other scenes written with deep, sensuous detail that left me breathless. I believed in all the characters, especially Evie, who, despite her apparent frailty is one of the strongest female protagonists I can remember. There w ...more
Rinneko

The Bone Dragon illustrates the emotional healing of 14-year-old Evie. She had been abused by her biological family, which led to the sustained injury of a broken rib. Eventually, she received surgery through her adoptive family to remove it and proceeded to carve a dragon out of the dead bone. The Dragon comes alive during the night, and lends her strength.


I'll start with the enjoyable aspects of the Bone Dragon. Firstly, the character development. Evie is a lovely character, and one that I cou

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Freya Barber
It was a good storyline but the character development was really slow and boring at the beginning, so it was hard to get into. I found the parts where she was outside with the dragon really boring and uninteresting. You have to work out for yourself Evie's backstory which is really irritating because it would be so much easier if she just told us why she had her rib taken out. Even when you work out her backstory, there are still lots of unanswered questions and gaps that need to be filled. I ga ...more
Holly
I was given this by another patient when I was in a psychiatric hospital. I never really read before I was in there, however, when I started the book I gained a huge passion for an evening read with a cup of raspberry tea. The book captivated me and took me out of the reality I was in, being the hospital, and into her world where adventure was taking over her troubled past. I loved how the book was split up into smaller sections, it made my racing mind able to keep up with the book. I finished t ...more
Kim Dyer
In short, I would call The Bone Dragon essential reading. Although it can be slow-moving in places, the novel rewards its reader with beautiful and evocative imagery. The sequences in which Evie and the Dragon roam the Fens by moonlight are haunting and will linger with you long after you have finished reading.

The characters within the novel are also exceptionally well rounded, particularly Evie who's struggle with depression is always realistic and contains none of the typical misrepresentation
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Sam
I give it 3.5 stars.
It is a brilliant book, but I can't say it took my breath away. It is too slow-paced for that.

The genius of the book -which I wouldn't label fantasy- is how the writer portrays the psyche of the main character. We see through her eyes, and consequently do not see what she doesn't want to see, or admit. We see the issues she faces and doesn't want to face, and it does make you think.
The ending though, caught me off-guard. Although I had seen it coming from the first meeting w
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Victoria Pearson
It took me a fair amount of time to get into this book. It is sometimes beautifully written, very evocative of the canalside location that it is set in and the 'story' comes together almost unnoticed so that at the end you realise how all the pieces fell together.
But the descriptive passages are sometimes painfully overwritten and the main character and narrator, Evie is far too perceptive about the way the adults around her respond to the situations they face to be a convincing character. Sham
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Chloe
Review:

This book. Hmmmmm. I really seem confused and wonder how I am supposed to sum up my true feelings and thoughts towards it, because honestly, I am not even sure what I really think about it. I am still trying to figure it out properly.

I liked it, but at the same time I didn't. I wish I could truly be certain but I can't.

You are probably just as confused as I am right now, and I really don't blame you.

Anyway, The Bone Dragon is a book which revolves around Evie, a young girl who had bee
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Nafiza
Well, um, wow. Review later. 3.5
Emma Radford
3.5 stars Parts of this book I loved and others just didn't quite click. I did enjoy the fact that the plot encompasses fantasy/fairy tale and a psychological thriller that works with an unreliable narrator to explore dark and unsettling issues, especially of justice. I guessed the ending quite quickly; it still worked well, but I think I would have liked a little more emotion, perhaps? A tricky book to review as I kept changing my mind, but I would definitely recommend and imagine it would lead ...more
Elizabeth
This book opened my eyes to the suffering you sometimes don't see, if someone can hide it well enough. Evie kept the pain in her ribs secret for years, but the pain it took to tell her new family gave her something beautiful - a dragon that could help her heal and grow. Despite her past, Evie is a loving person to those who love her back, and I admire characters like that. Your past should not define your future, and this book teaches you to move on and live your life regardless. I hope there ar ...more
Beth Kemp
Stunning genre-bending debut; one of those books that hangs around and haunts your thoughts after reading. A lovely piece of work.

This will be a short review to avoid spoilers – the GR info gives all the detail you can really have before reading. If pushed on a genre for this, I’d have to go for magic realist thriller (which I realise isn’t an official genre, but it’s the closest fit I can come up with). It’s more magic realist than full-on fantasy, dragon notwithstanding, as it clearly takes pl
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Donna
I really didn't know what to expect from this book, but I was intrigued by the idea - after all, who wouldn't like a dragon carved from bone which comes alive at night, never mind someone with as traumatic a past as Evie? It is a slow, kind of quiet book, but it completely pulled me into Evie's story. I loved the adult characters, especially Uncle Ben, and the slow reveal of everyone's tragic pasts. And the ending...well, it is abrupt, as other reviews say, but I think it worked perfectly for th ...more
High Wycombe Library
An interesting and enjoyable first novel by Alexia Casale

The novel opens with Evie waking from an operation on her damaged ribcage which everyone at school is led to believe came from a car crash. When the surgeon presents her with a piece of her rib, she makes a necklace from it, carving the pendant into the shape of a dragon. For years she has been surrounded by loving, decent people (against whom she constantly judges herself): her protective adoptive parents; a fun-loving uncle; supportive
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Maera Black
Now that was impressive. I adore magic realism. This book reminded me a lot of 'A Monster Calls' by Patrick Ness. Admittedly, the plot moves quite slowly, due to the heavy emphasis on character development. Casale's style leaves a lot up to the reader's imagination, meaning that this story is as dark as the reader's mind will allow it to be. The premise is, fourteen-year-old Evie has come from a violently abusive family, with a shattered rib cage that she keeps a secret for a long time because s ...more
Miss Bookiverse
2.5 Sterne

The Bone Dragon ist ein Buch, das ich trotz meiner niedrigen Bewertung nicht als “schlecht” bezeichnen würde. Der Schreibstil ist ganz gut, er erschafft oft eine wärmende, heimelige Atmosphäre. In den Drachen-Szenen schweift die Autorin allerdings zu sehr aus und ertränkt die Seiten in reichhaltigen Naturbeschreibungen. Dazu kommt, dass mehr Verwirrung gestiftet wird als die Geschichte nötig hat. Der Roman lebt zwar davon, dass der Leser nicht von Anfang an weiß, was Evie zugestoßen is
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Luna
The Bone Dragon is wonderful, magical, touching, mysterious, fantastic, unique and so many other words I could use. I love this book. It will be a story that will forever have a special place in my heart.

Considering how much I adore Evie and her story I was expecting this review to be easier to write. But I don’t think I can do it justice, there is so much about Alexia Casale’s book that is truly outstanding. I feel I should be filling pages of how effective and beautiful her writing is. Highlig
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Shortlisted for the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize. Longlisted for The Branford Boase Award. A Book of the Year 2013 for the Financial Times and Independent.

A British-American citizen of Italian heritage, Alexia is an author, editor and writing consultant. She also teaches English Literature and Writing.

After an MA in Social & Political Sciences (Psychology major) then MPhil in Educational
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More about Alexia Casale...
Die Nacht gehört dem Drachen House of Windows

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“Taste the stars and listen to the darkness.” 1 likes
“Dreams are the fire that warms the soul. Let them guide you.” 0 likes
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