Kathryn's Reviews > The Bone Doll's Twin

The Bone Doll's Twin by Lynn Flewelling
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's review
Jun 14, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy

This is set in the same world as Nightrunners, but five hundred years in the past. It came about from a quick reference in Luck in the Shadows . A Skalan sailer was explaining the tradition that, "As long as a daughter of Thelatimos rules, Skala shall never be subjugated." But of course there was a usurping uncle who isisted that the prophecy was misunderstood, that as long as the daughter of Thelatimos ruled....and claimed the throne, then quietly killed all the girls in the royal family, except one, who was hidden in a rural estate and kept disguised as a boy. Eventually she was able to defeat her uncle, shed her diguise and claim her birthright. The Bone Doll's Twin tells the story of that girl, Tamir, and how very much more complicated and dark her story was.

When King Erius took the throne after the death of his mother, Agnalain, no one raised much fuss. The old queen had been paranoid and mad, and her rule had been a terrifying one, filled with unfounded accusations of treason and horrifying executions. When the royal girls started slowly dying, one by one, a few eyebrows were raised, but no one challenged Erius, since he was doing such a good job running the country. Everyone told themselves that the old tradition of matriachal power was just an old story, that nothing bad will happen just because a man sat on the throne. Everyone, that is, but a handful of wizards and priests who believe in the prophecy.

This is a very dark novel, and while as the plot is as typical and unoriginal as it can be, it's executed in a such a way that you don't care. Lynn gets away with writing a cliched plot, in a cliched Medieval Europe setting, because she has clearly done plenty of research. The world is packed with details that make it absolutely come to life, without getting bogged down by them. And of course, the whole she's-a-girl-disguised-as-a-boy thing got a whole new twist, too. Because of a very questionable spell, Tamir physically appears to be a boy, and in fact for most of her childhood she truly believes that she is Tobin, who was actually her male twin who died at birth. Heck, even though I knew better, I pretty much forgot that she was really a girl, myself.

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