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The Bone Dragon

3.57  ·  Rating Details  ·  462 Ratings  ·  89 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
Paperback, 300 pages
Published April 30th 2013 by Faber and Faber
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Vendetta by Catherine DoyleThe Bone Season by Samantha ShannonMonster by C.J. SkuseThe Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda SalisburyThe Bone Dragon by Alexia Casale
YA Shot Authors 2015
5th out of 199 books — 34 voters
Fangirl by Rainbow RowellGeek Girl by Holly SmaleEleanor & Park by Rainbow RowellModel Misfit by Holly SmaleTrouble by Non Pratt
YALC 2014
22nd out of 115 books — 92 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,401)
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Sep 11, 2013 Jules rated it did not like it
maybe 1,5 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
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
Cora Tea Party Princess
This book just wasn't my cup of tea.

I was put off almost straight away by the seemingly 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 w
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
Elizabeth Moffat
Jun 15, 2013 Elizabeth Moffat rated it really liked it
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
Aug 09, 2013 Kelley rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those who like contemporary stories that deal with difficult issues, and don’t mind a slower pace
Recommended to 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
Apr 15, 2013 Annabelle rated it really liked it
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
Jul 09, 2013 Emma rated it really liked it
Shelves: guest-reviews
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
Sep 01, 2013 Louise rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 16, 2014 Holly rated it it was amazing
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
Louise O'Neill
Jun 02, 2015 Louise O'Neill rated it it was amazing
#TheBoneDragon is lyrical, poignant, but ultimately uplifting. A really lovely book.
Das Cover:

Mich persönlich spricht das Cover sehr an, ganz besonders weil es gut zum Buchinhalt passt. Der orangene Umschlag in Verbindung mit dem geschnitzten Drachen aus der Rippe im Glas. Insgesamt einfach, aber bleibend gestaltet. :)

Meine Meinung:

„Die Nacht gehört dem Drachen“ ist ein sehr ruhiges, erwachsenes, wortgewandtes und gleichzeitig auch irgendwie ein düsteres Buch. Es geht um Evie, welche bei Ihrer leiblichen Mutter und deren Eltern gelebt hat bevor sie bei einer tollen und warmherz
Jun 07, 2015 Eve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I picked up the Bone Dragon when I read a great Guardian review, I was not dissapointed.
The Bone Dragon follows the story of the young teenager Evie. It is years after the abuse she suffers, and now has lives in a safe and loving family. However she is still haunted by the darkness of the past. After an operation to remove one of her shattered ribs from her prior abuse, her and her uncle carve the bone into a dragon.
This book isn't some crappy teen lit novel, romanticising abuse, this book deals
Sally Flint
May 28, 2015 Sally Flint rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen-reads
I could only read this book a little bit at a time as it is quite disturbing and it kind of gets under your skin. It traces the life of a teenager who has been adopted by a loving and kind family after their own son was tragically killed in a car crash. Prior to that she had been in an abusive situation and had and to have major surgery to remove fragments of ribs that had been damaged by the abusers. On of these pieces of bone is carved into a dragon for her by her uncle and there the story beg ...more
Georgina Carter
Apr 27, 2014 Georgina Carter rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, young-adult
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
Michelle Moore
Apr 26, 2015 Michelle Moore rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2014, signed
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
[☆] 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
(Something Like) Lydia
For years, Evie told no one about the pain in her side, but now she wakes in the hospital room, aching but no longer broken; physically, at least.

On the table in front of her, the doctor places the very piece of bone that has troubled her for so long and, with the help of her uncle, she carves the small piece of bone into a dragon, the same dragon that will come to life at night and help her to heal.


I am by no means the target audience for The Bone Dragon, but I couldn’t help but become entranc
Nov 13, 2015 Sarah rated it it was amazing
This is a 4.5 star! This book is so hard to review because it is so hard to summarise... It's more of a journey that reflects real-life growth and self-awareness than a plot with beginning, middle and end. The characters are beautifully complex, and no one is perfect - and no one is really well-defined. That's one of the things that really made this writing style stand out to me; it doesn't pretend to be able to tell you everything about these characters' lives in only 300 pages. I loved how it ...more
T.S. Easton
Feb 02, 2015 T.S. Easton rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 09, 2014 Rinneko rated it liked it

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

Oct 31, 2015 Emily rated it it was amazing
I stayed up so late to finish this book! I couldn't put it down. First of all, the writing is superb. It gripped me from the opening pages. There are so many beautiful quotable parts. Second, there are so many great layers to this book. Nothing is really nicely wrapped up in a bow for the reader. All the answers are there but you have a bit of licence to fill in the blanks yourself and work for it at the end, which I find tremendously satisfying.

It is easily the most authentic representation of
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
May 12, 2015 Claire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2015
It took me a while to read this book, but only because I've been on a bit of a reading slump because of my university work and stresses. I originally bought THE BONE DRAGON because I am having surgery in summer and I thought it would be a good book to read and comfort myself. I was not wrong; not only did the narrative ring with hope (completely comforting) but it felt like a magical realist Jacqueline Wilson novel! I loved the depth and complexity in the narrative and characters - their develop ...more
Nov 04, 2015 Chris rated it really liked it
This was such a great little book. I confess, at the start, the writing felt a bit strained and overly flighty, but it gets stronger as it progresses. That being said, there are some amazing and almost poetic passages that are a thrill to read.

The characters are incredibly well written; deep and thoroughly fleshed out, it's easy to find something to relate to in each.

The dragon itself is so well written that I almost want to break my ribs to get one. It's a fantastic narrative point that adds
Kim Dyer
Apr 12, 2014 Kim Dyer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed-on-blog
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
Feb 01, 2015 Sam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychological
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
Victoria Pearson
Mar 10, 2014 Victoria Pearson rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
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
Oct 12, 2014 Chloe rated it liked it

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
Aug 24, 2014 Nafiza rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, library
Well, um, wow. Review later. 3.5
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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
More about Alexia Casale...

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“Taste the stars and listen to the darkness.” 1 likes
“There is beauty and wild magic in the night.” 1 likes
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