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California Bones (Daniel Blackland #1)

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  747 ratings  ·  175 reviews
When Daniel Blackland was six, he ingested his first bone fragment, a bit of kraken spine plucked out of the sand during a visit with his demanding, brilliant, and powerful magician father, Sebastian.

When Daniel was twelve, he watched Sebastian die at the hands of the Hierarch of Southern California, devoured for the heightened magic layered deep within his bones.

Now, year
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 10th 2014 by Tor Books (first published May 1st 2014)
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Jessica ❁ Elsecaller ❁ at Rabid Reads
7/27/15 - On sale for $2.99! One-click it immediately, I LOVED this book:

Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

I don't like to endorse stereotypes, but Urban Fantasy written by male authors is almost universally darker and grittier than UF written by females. Obviously, within that much larger pool there are nonconformists: Stacia Kane, Jane Wells, even Kelley Armstrong sometimes, but on the other side . . . I can't think of one. You've got Simon R. Green's UF noir, Ric
Dec 03, 2014 Carol. rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Lies of Locke Lamora, heists, darker UF
Recommended to Carol. by: Carly
You ever have that experience where you finish a book, and are left feeling all discombobulated; not sure exactly what time it is because the sun set while you were reading, and actually kind of hungry because you might have missed dinner? California Bones did that to me.

It wasn’t an instant draw; it had blipped across my radar long enough to make it onto my TBR list, but it wasn’t until bookaneer’s review that I was motivated it to move it up. I picked it up from the library and was sucked into
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Have I mentioned how much I love a good heist? I definitely would have jumped on this book a lot sooner had known the treat I was in for. But there’s also a lot more to California Bones aside from being the ultimate fantasy crime caper novel. Author Greg Van Eekhout also wraps it all up in a cool package featuring some amazing magic, setting his story up in a savage dystopian world.

The magic system is based on osteomancy,
Tabitha (Pabkins)
I’ll suck the power from your bones!
*Imagine me saying that with some old crone’s voice*

California Bones has a fresh, I’ve never seen it done before, magic system in a alternate Los Angeles that hot damn, I would be scared to live in! You know how you’ve always been a bit jealous of those characters in movies or books that are magic users? Alright so maybe you haven’t, but I know I always have been – so much so that whenever I play games I always roll myself as a mage. They may be squishy and no
Molly Mortensen
Warning: People eat people to gain powers.

My Summary:

Daniel’s father was a powerful osteomancer, someone who can gain magical abilities from eating bones. During one of the Hierarch’s cullings (Bad guy’s excuse to kill people) he’s killed by powerful magicians and then the Hierarch himself ‘gains his powers’. (Yeah it’s exactly how you think.)

Years later Daniel’s become a thief and his ‘uncle’ (a mobster type business man who essentially raised him since he was twelve) wants him to break into th
4.5 Stars

Van Eekhout is an author who I wanted to check out long ago and never did. This novel made me regret it. It’s a character driven heist, with an outstanding supernatural cast of characters.

You are what you eat…

I wonder if this was a statement that Van Eekhout thought about when he created his magic system. It’s a very unique take on magic where the mages consume the bones of animals and people to gain power. Mostly the consume fossils of extinct/mythological creatures. Animals like mast
This book popped up on a friends(Hi Carol) update list a week or so ago and she was very enthusiastic about her experience with the book so I added it to my tbr list. I was perusing the new release section of the library and what do you know, this was sitting there waiting for me.

I blew through this in a couple of days and am really excited about the world building possibilities. The setup is familiar, the son of a powerful man...king, wizard, warrior-insert your own favorite here-has to learn h
There's something about a heist. Maybe it's that peculiar combination of recklessness and calculation, that absolute guarantee of unforeseen circumstances and impressive feats of resourcefulness to combat them, that fast-paced and adrenaline-pumping game of strategy and deception. Whatever the cause, heists have a bone-deep magic all their own.

For Daniel Blackland, it all started with a kraken spine. He was a young child when he received his first taste of osteomancy, fed a scalding combination
 Charlie - A Reading Machine
The start of this book is like a grisly car crash you can sense is coming but cannot look away from and I was sucked straight in. In the opening scene we meet a Daniel Blackland who is being fed a piece of Krakken bone fragment by his father. He is an Osteomancer meaning he draws magic from bone and flesh. It is his first taste of magic and the start of his journey to become a living and breathing weapon. Six years later his father is brutally killed and EATEN by the big bad Hierarch and Daniel ...more
Oct 19, 2014 Sunil rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own, 2014
Imagine that all the mythical creatures—dragons, krakens, basilisks, and so on—were real, but now extinct, leaving only their bones. Now imagine that consuming their bones bestowed upon you their magical abilities.

Welcome to California Bones.

Greg Van Eekhout has constructed a fantastic alternate universe Los Angeles, where osteomancers can breathe fire, turn invisible, breathe underwater, and even fly, but he's gone much further than that: the existence of osteomancy has changed the development
This review was originally posted on Avid Reviews:

It is not often that you run across a story that is completely unique, but California Bones definitely can be described as such. It is a genre-bending novel that is somewhere between urban fantasy, alternate history, and dystopian science fiction. It takes place in Southern California (where I lived throughout my college years- though now I am back in Northern Cali) and it was fascinating to read about the pla
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)

The California in California Bones is not like the one we know. It’s not part of the United States, and it’s ruled by a shadowy figure called the Hierarch and his powerful Council of Six. Los Angeles is in the Kingdom of Southern California, and is full of canals, a la Venice, and it’s rumored that a place called The Ossuary is located below ground, full of the Hierarch’s personal magic stash: basilisk teeth, griffin claws, the works. The magic in Greg van

You are what you eat. In the world of CALIFORNIA BONES, magic exists even though there are few sources of it left. At the top of the heap are the osteomancers, who get their power through consuming bones. At the top of their heap is the Hierarch of Southern California, who keeps his power by periodically consuming his most powerful subordinates, including Daniel Blackland's father.

Greg van Eekhout has created an inventive type of magic and a nightmarish bureaucracy that fuel a heist plot. Now, I
I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. TOR was kind enough to send a copy for me to review and it did not disappoint. As per my understanding this is Van Eekhout's first attempt at writing a novel for adult readers and he did one hell of a job. The magic scheme was well thought out, granted I wish there was a bit more explanation and development, but super unique none the less. I could have gone for a bit more world building as well but I don't think this book was written in the idea ...more
Ralph Ambrose
I loved visiting La Brea Tar Pits as a kid, and a magic system that mines such fond childhood memories is truly enchanting.

I love the "alternate Los Angeles if magic were real" world that Eekhout has created. The reworking of LA history and culture was clever and entertaining. The food references were a nice touch, and the primary magic system (osteomancy) was interesting, unique, and its implications were reasonably well explored.

I would have liked a clearer understanding of(view spoiler)
This is one of those books that I'm very tempted to give five stars and ultimately is a 4 & 1/2 star read for me. This book has a very cool concept of osteomancy and the gaining of powers due to consumption of bones (human, non-human, etc). Daniel Blackland is one of the two main protagonists of this story who is gunning for the evil Heirarch who also caused the death of his father. Gabriel Argent is the other protagonist of the story and he's gunning for someone as well for reasons of his o ...more
originally posted at:

Did you already read the first sentence of the synopsis? If you, as a fantasy reader like me, don't want to pick up this book I don't know whats wrong with you. How cool is the promise of California Bones with the synopsis alone? Eating bones fragments to give you magical powers, that sounds pretty awesome! Added to this comes the idea of the heist theme in the story which only further makes California Bones a cracking read. Californi
Pam ☼Ask Me About FrankenKnee☼ Tee
CALIFORNIA BONES has some of THE best, most creative world building I've run across in a while. The way magic is handled is drool worthy. I mean, magic from bones! How cool is that.

Sample chapters if you're interested: http://booksforkids-reviews.blogspot....

And CALIFORNIA BONES is well written. The word-smithing is good. READ IT. Chances are you'll find it a satisfying read, be you Adult or Young Adult.

The only problem I had with the book is that I'm a memb
Kimberly [Come Hither Books]
Recommended for fans of:
* L.A. noir: gritty streets and California sunshine
* Interesting and unique magic systems
* Heists and con men
* Urban fantasy with no vamps or weres

L.A. Noir
California Bones mixes fantasy with a touch of hardboiled noir. Sun-baked streets and California glitz barely disguise a world of crime and corruption. The Hierarch rules with absolute power, and all of Southern California lives in fear of his notice.

But it’s not just dark and gritty in the way of most urban fantasies.
All Things Urban Fantasy
***Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy***

Fans of MISTBORN are going to love Greg van Eekhout’s West Coast take on the magical heist story in CALIFORNIA BONES, with its alternate Los Angeles, quirky ensemble of thieves, and introduction to osteomancy. Though I devoured it with the same gusto that the Hierarch devours the bones of Daniel’s father, the narrative moves very quickly, cramming several books’ worth of story into a single novel. There are so many fascinating aspects of the world
May 16, 2014 Tim rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: arc
I was provided an advance copy by Tor.

I was very excited going into this book. The ideas seemed fresh. Right out the gate I was enjoying the world that was built - a familiar yet greatly fantastic version of Los Angeles. Alternate history California where Walt Disney still lives as a wizard. I was really enjoying it. Then the plot reared its head and opportunities were lost. An incredibly common plotline sits as the backbone of this potentially great story. A thief tricked into pulling heists fo
In this alternate reality novel, Southern California seceded from the United States eighty years ago. Ruled by the powerful Osteomantic wizard Hierarch, Los Angeles is now a labyrinth of canals with gondolas as the only form of transportation. Hierarch’s Circle of Six Mages includes the ageless Disney and Mulholland. All wizards of Osteomancy gain their power by eating the bones of ancient wyverns, griffins, holo stints, and even other wizards. And Daniel Blackland, trained since childhood by hi ...more
Osteomancy: Consume something or someone’s bones (and sometimes flesh) and gain their power (yum). For Daniel Blackland of the City of Los Angeles in the Kingdom of Southern California, this is a way of life, and of death. Daniel has been living off the grid ever since he witnessed his father’s murder (and subsequent consumption) by the oh-so evil Heirarch (yum). Now his godfather has presented him with an offer he can’t refuse. He must breach the unbreachable and retrieve, among other things, a ...more
Julie (Manga Maniac Cafe)
4.5 to 5 stars

Holy crap, what a great read. Imaginative, suspenseful, and fast-paced, Greg Van Eekhout's alternate LA is ruled by a bone eating osteomancer who gets his power from eating the bones of mythic creatures and absorbing their magic. Daniel is a thief, the son of a powerful osteomancer, who watched as his father was killed and eaten in front of him. He has survived by keeping a low profile, but when he learns that the Hierarch has his father's sword, a weapon made up of bits and pieces
Review published at Bitches With Books. To read, click the link!

It's a well written book that has a truly imaginative and new way to interpreting world building. I am a bit biased, the word bone is one of my favourites of the English language and the author totally transforms the world through bones. Everything think that bones were magical? What if you could wield that magic?

Terry Weyna
Daniel Blackland has been raised to be a magician from at least the time he was six years old and found a kraken spine on Santa Monica Beach. He inherited his propensity to osteomancy — bone magic — from his father, a powerful magician who has made his share of enemies. More than that, he was trained, shaped and molded by his father, who wants to make him strong enough to withstand the schemes of his enemies, regardless of how that hill hurt him, physically and emotionally. But his father never ...more
Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk around. - James Weldon Johnson

CALIFORNIA BONES is an exciting romp through an alternative reality where the Kingdom of Southern California has seceded from the rest of the United States. But not only that - it is urban fantasy and the Los Angeles of the tale really is fantastical.

Daniel Blackland is the son of a powerful magician/sorcerer who died and was EATEN when Daniel was younger by Hierarch, who rules Los Angeles with a brutal hand. The practice of osteomanc
Yzabel Ginsberg
(I got an ARC through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

3.5/4 stars, I can't exactly decide, but let's say 4, because I really liked the world depicted in this book.

Somewhere at the end of the 19th century, or in the early 20th century, California cut ties with the rest of the USA. North and South are now separate "kingdoms", the southern one being giverned for a century by the mysterious Hierarch and his six closest associates. In itself, the back story behind this isn't extremely de
Normally, this would so not be my thing, but on another recommendation from Kathleen, I picked up this dark fantasy and read it.

Osteomancy, deriving power through the ingestion of bone magic, is the word of the day here, and the book drops you into the middle of an in-full-swing dark magic dystopian California that doesn't particularly care what year it is. At the center of the book is a heist in the classic "get a crew and knock over a target" sense - the book could have been called The Califor
This is a heist novel, but also a novel of an alternate California: a California that is not a part of the United States; a California built by osteomancy, consuming the bones of mythical beasts that left their remains in the La Brea Tar Pits. Our protagonist is a thief whose real identity is hidden from those who would, quite literally, consume him for the magic in his bones. While I'd like to get to know these characters better, this was a very fun plot-driven book with tight writing. It feels ...more
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Greg van Eekhout writes books for kids and adults. He enjoys eating little tacos, walking along the beach, and practicing kung fu. About the kung fu: He's let himself get a bit slovenly, quite frankly, so please do not challenge him to a fight. He cries easily. He's a weeper. He lives in San Diego.
More about Greg Van Eekhout...

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“The apothecary squinted. "Are you a cop?"
"Do I look like a cop? I don't even have a mustache.”
“Total waste of a kidney," he said.
"You'll grow an even better one," Daniel soothed.
They turned and walked away leaving the leeches behind.
"How're you feeling?"
"Enh," Moth said. "Hurts like a meanie, but I'm healing pretty good. New one should be ripe in a few hours."
"I meant the bullets."
Moth grinned like a maniac. "Little bullets," he said.”
More quotes…