The Bone Key is a collection of short stories by Sarah Monette, all focused on the supernatural trials of the socially awkward Kyle Murchison Booth. SThe Bone Key is a collection of short stories by Sarah Monette, all focused on the supernatural trials of the socially awkward Kyle Murchison Booth. Set in 1930s America, the stories carry with them a tense, near claustrophobic energy with them, much to the stylings of Lovecraft, but offering up a character with much more complexity and depth than many of the original Lovecraft tales failed to give.
The first story of the collection opens the unnatural world up to both the reader and the protagonist, giving reason for why Booth is put through the horrors he faces. The necromancy he takes part in tears what barriers stood between him and the Otherworldly aspects of the universe, leaving him vulnerable to its influences. It is amazingly well done, a very impressive start to a beautiful collection. More that that, we get to connect with Booth himself, who is so awkward and heartbreakingly lonely you cannot help but pity him. The story carries a sense of foreboding and foreshadowing, as if he knew even from the start of his cursed life he’d never find the peace he yearns for.
Continuing through the novel, Sarah Monette takes delight in creating a world so similar to ours but with such terrifying differences. The realism in her world building and character creation is without flaw, the plots all manage to spark fresh interest and deliver highly satisfying (if not always happy) endings. We get to know Booth intimately, become his friend without ever speaking to him, and that is a mark of a highly skillful author.
Each story can stand under its own weight, but some effects are felt throughout the stories that come after it. I feel like the horror aspects in the book are perhaps not horrifying enough to meet with today’s standards of the genre, but if you consider how short each story is, how little time the tension has to mount, and the fact that the style of writing is from closer to antiquity than not, I think Sarah Monette shows a masterful skill with this collection.
I adore her. I will never stop singing her praises until she gets the attention she deserves. And probably not even then.
Told in the style of Grimm’s fairy tales, this short novel is a dark fantasy with a delightful attitude. The story follows Louisa, a penniless yet beaTold in the style of Grimm’s fairy tales, this short novel is a dark fantasy with a delightful attitude. The story follows Louisa, a penniless yet beautiful girl raised in the marshes on her mission to gather wealth by means of marrying wealthy men and then murdering them with an untraceable poison.
I found this in my quest to add more Tanith Lee to my collection. No one can have too much Tanith Lee, and I have woefully little. She is favourite author of mine, though there is much of her work I have yet to read. I am gradually amassing more, but it is a slow process, alas!
As I made mention above, the style Tanith Lee uses in this book is a very quaint and very creepy sing-song fairy tale. The childlike manner of its deliver make what happens all the more unnerving, and gives us a very warped and disturbing view of the world. It is very easy to believe that Louisa’s thought patterns run in such a pattern, where she is the heroine no matter what evil she does, and those in her path are the enemy and so, ugly.
The book starts with Louisa and her aunt in the marsh where they have lived for almost twenty years, very alone and very unusually. The aunt, obsessed with her witchcraft and teaching Louisa the perfect manners of a lady, and Louisa with her own reflection, with hardly any outside interaction. It is no wonder Louisa is rather mad. Wonderfully so. She has no empathy, no desire but to gather the wealth that her aunt had told her of, no skills but pretty manners. She is so hauntingly empty of humanity.
Rather early in, Louisa has already killed her first victim and has left the marsh behind in a rather unpleasant storm. She is rescued from the roadside by a lord and his nephew who take her to their manor and she is introduced to the lord’s family. The lord is deeply enamoured, and so Louisa sets to work making herself room in the family.
I want to go on and explain what and how and why, but the book is very short, barely long enough to be classed as a novel, so saying so would be the meat of it, but I shall say this; it is amusing, and a pleasure and not exactly unexpected but still well worth picking up.
The third of the same series (I, uh, kindda like to read the whole series in one go. I’m not the best at remembering details) takes place about six moThe third of the same series (I, uh, kindda like to read the whole series in one go. I’m not the best at remembering details) takes place about six months to a year after Fool Moon, I’m not sure what the time line is. And yes, this one is crammed full with ghosts. Oh, and vampires. We didn’t get any of the lovely crime king-pin in this one. I forget what his name is, but I missed his presence in this book, though there was some others who intrigued me; Tomas, a sex vampire with a insane girl as his companion and Michael, a Knight of some holy order. They were both really fun characters.
This book felt a little off balance from the get-go, as something important happened a few months earlier that was the keystone of the unfolding events. I also think it started rather weakly, the first two scenes switched around to hook the reader with action and then force them to read a little backstory from an hour beforehand which really rather annoyed me.
It’s the weakest of the series so far. Ah well, it’s still better than a lot of the urban fantasy detritus out there.