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Bones of the Fair

(Darest #2)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  288 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Darest stands on the verge of a Golden Age. The revival of the Rathen line and a blood price won from the Fair has drawn a flood of visitors eager to snatch their share of changing fortune – or at least one of the fabulous prizes offered at the Spring Festival.

Among those coaxed back to the once-failing kingdom is Gentian Calder, daughter of Shapers. Before she can decide
324 pages
Published November 30th 2013 by Andrea K Höst
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3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  288 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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May 22, 2018 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
There's few things I like more than the first re-read of one of my books, a few years after it's published. It's not like I'll have forgotten the plot or anything, but there's just enough distance to allow me to experience it more as a reader.

Aspen will always delight me. His is a very distinct narration, full of nicknames and his particular areas of interest. He had plenty of growing up to do, but not too much.

I feel very sorry for Aristide in this one, since I not only threaten things he alrea
Sherwood Smith
This book is a sequel to Champion of the Rose, however it reminded me more of Stained Glass Monsters in that most of the story is taken up with the intricacies of magic.

Though it takes place soon after the events of Champion of the Rose, only two characters from that book are involved in the events of this magical mystery. I'm glad to say that one of these is a favorite, Aspen. (The other was Soren, who alas stays behind.) The second is the Diamond, Aristide Courveur, who tends more toward a cer
Melissa McShane
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, fantasy
It's a measure of how much I like Andrea K. Höst's books that I feel incredibly guilty about not liking this one better. There's a lot to like here: it follows very well on the events of Champion of the Rose without telling the same story again, and I especially liked that she tackled the issue of the twin hazards to Darest (the taint and the malison) from an unexpected direction, by bringing in the extremely sympathetic Gentian Calder. Aristide, who was a compelling character in the first book, ...more
Dec 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: want-to-read
This is really 4 and a half stars, just a tiny bit short of 5. As usual with Andrea Höst I loved just everything about it - characters, world-building and the vivid and evocative images and concepts she's able to evoke. So far, the only issue I've had with her novels has been the need for editing, the syntactical glitches that occur with more frequency than they really should. In this one, there seemed to be far too many sentences that I had to read, then re-read, then re-read again. I often had ...more
Dec 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of the first one, lovers of fantasy mystery
Recommended to Estara by: auto-buy author and I enjoyed the first one
Shelves: ebook, read-in-2013
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jacob Proffitt
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I'm always glad to have a new book by Andrea Höst and this one didn't disappoint. It's set in the same world as Champion of the Rose and a few months after the events there. We meet some of the characters from that book, but I don't think you'd have to read it to understand everything that happens in this one. You only really have two characters in common and the plots really are tangential. That said, Champion is another Höst book, so read it.

So our main viewpoint character, Gentian, returns to
Dec 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Gentian experiences a terrifying and inexplicable psychic attack every morning at dawn. The only way to avoid it is to stay away from her beloved homeland of Darest. But after a legitimate king takes the throne of Darest and a fey curse is broken (in Champion of the Rose), Gentian hopes she can return to Darest without suffering. She takes a commission to create a new garden for Darest's capital, and while there gets caught up into an investigation when a whole boatload (literally) of royals go ...more
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
4 1\2

Aspen is the only thing I (almost) regret in this novel. I said almost because it is the mark of a talented writer when they make you follow (even if screaming and kicking) a character you really do not like.

Aspen as a sidekick was fun, as a full-rounded lead man he was difficult to accept. But accept you do, because at the end Ms Host makes a honest character out of him and without ever betraying him. What a ride.

Bones of the Fair is an understated romance, too. It's a romance that is bor
Laura (Kyahgirl)
2.5/5; 3 stars; C+

Its been a long time since I read book 1 in this duology. I guess I was hoping for a story that was more strongly related to the drama and adventure of the characters from that book.
This book does take us on an expedition to fully understand what Fae taint has been on the land of Darest (introduced in book 1) but I found it barely comprehensible. I had to force myself to finish the book because for much of it I was confused by the story, the back story, the characters, the mag
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The world of Darest and its inhabitants are so vivid in Bones of the Fair, a continuation of the adventures in Darest following Champion of the Rose. It's a great and emotional journey to spend time with new character Gentian and old favorites Aspen and Aristide the Diamond.

Most of the heirs of the western kingdom have disappeared, and Gentian, Aspen, and Aristide are sent to investigate. A unexpected, introspective journey ensues as they encounter powerful remnants of old, tainted with Fae pow
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love what this author writes, just in general. This book double-underscored that love. This is a book I have thought about for weeks afterward, because the plot, the characters, the world, the wry and subtle wit throughout (really, everything) were all so well done.

This is a second tale of her Darest world. I don't know if she's calling it a sequel - it follows two of the characters from the first Darest novel (Aristide "the Diamond" and Aspen, Soren's buddy), but is not really a continuation
I think that when it comes to indie writers you either love them or hate because they are attempting to create unique fiction that could only appeals to some. So when it comes to Andrea Host's books I admit to being a complete groupie who devours all her offerings and for me this did not disappoint. You had to have read the previous book to get a background feel for the complex Darest world and when the first one ended I thought I knew where the next one was going - boy was I wrong, and that did ...more
Apr 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I am a fan of Andrea Host and love all her books. Among then, Champion of the Rose is one of my favorites. When I saw that Bones of the Fair was out, I immediately buy it and start to read it. It really lived up to my expectations and I find him even better than Champion of the Rose.

As I've just said, this book is the second in the Darest series. the story is independent from the previous one, but two of the main characters were already present and therefore it would be confusing for a new reade
Pauline Ross
The first book in the Darest sequence, 'The Champion of the Rose', is one of my favourite fantasies of all time. Who, after all, could fail to love a book which stars a malign rose bush at its heart? With an intriguing setting, some great characters and a difficult but brilliantly realised romance, it ticked all the boxes for me. This one - not so much.

On the positive side, we have another array of awesome characters, albeit with a couple of disappointments. Aristide, a stunningly ambiguous fell
Lindsay Stares
Mar 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-on-kindle
Premise: Sequel to Champion of the Rose, but you don't need to read that one first. Gentian has been 14 long years away from her home in Darest. She returns for an irresistible job and the possibility that the miraculous return of the ruling family will have repercussions for her particular problem. She will stay to investigate a mystery that impinges on the future of her home, and its complicated relationship with the ones who lived there before humans...

Don't expect a direct continuation of th
Jan 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
4.5 but rounding up because this book was a delight to read.

A slow simmiering mystering involving a hidden city under a mountain, it reminded me of the oringal 1959 Journey to the Center of the Earth movie. It was a joy to watch Apsen break the suspense- an equal opportunity seducer, he revelled in the wealth of attractive people around him. Apsen never failed to entertain and I was glad he was out from underneath the shadow of suspicion that was cast on him in Champion of the Rose. Grand ambiti
Sarah Wynde
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I am going to eventually write reviews of all of Andrea Host's books because I've read all of them (and wish I'd written most of them) but this one is my very favorite. Here's what's wrong with it: the hero is underwritten, too much tell, not enough show. It assumes, throughout, that you are reading the author's mind. Here's what's right with it: everything else. Yes, seriously, everything else. The world-building is so darn inventive. The romance is so subtle, so charming. The character develop ...more
Finally read this. I read this with Pyramids of London, and enjoyed both for very different reasons. Pyramids of London is more ambitious and was just generally extremely enjoyable as I got sucked into the book right away; it's also quite distinct from the author's previous works. Bones of the Fair was more familiar, but harder to get into. The first half was slow, and the multiple characters were confusing. I was pleasantly surprised by the author's decision to have Aspen tell the story too. As ...more
Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
I finished this last night and let out a happy/sad sigh. Happy because this book was just so all- encompassingly good and sad because I'd finished it and it will be a while before I have another brand new Andrea Host to read. The first read of an Andrea Host is always special. I was saving this one to read at the perfect moment and it did not let me down.

It's a sequel to Champion of the Rose, but without much input from the two main characters of that book - here we learn so much more about the
Dec 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-reading
I really appreciate how most of the narrative is from the POV of Aspen. While he's a vain, shiftless, unambitious, bed-hopping flirt -- he's also kind & attentive. His plans for erotic conquests of well... pretty much all of the adults (male or female) adds welcome lightness to the bizarre situation they find themselves in.

The plot itself is both simple yet complex. It involves political machinations, old magical experiments run amuck & the mutli-level jostling of high level court courti
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I've already re-read the best parts several times.

The worldbuilding and the characters are great. Like many of her books, the purposes and "hows" of the villain is confusing.

The romance is much more subtle than in some of her other books. Gentian comes through clearly, but Aristide is so buttoned up that you don't really get much of a feel for him.

Loved the sense of place that Gentian has.

May 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Somehow I missed this when it was released but bought it as soon as I heard about it. I reread Champion of the Rose before diving into this one. Andrea has another great book!! It was interesting following the political intrigues but really this book (for me anyway) was all about self sacrifice and the pain that can come from choosing the "right" path.
Nov 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I'm a fan of Andrea K H and really liked the book, really hope there is more of Darest in the future
Sep 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Another lovely book set in the Darest world. I thoroughly enjoy the worldbuilding and characters this author comes up with!
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 17, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked Gentian, and enjoyed the other characters we got to know better in this book, but was a bit disappointed that Soren & Strake weren't a part of the action. There aren't that many disabled characters in fantasy books, and I was curious to see how Soren was dealing with the fallout from the last book. It was disappointing that she got sidelined here.

I was also a bit disappointed that Gentian spent so much of the end of the book damseling, and didn't get to fix anything herself, really.
Ry Herman
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, lgbt, romance
A very enjoyable book. It did have some flaws -- the largish cast of characters is difficult to keep straight at times, and one of the point-of-view characters is much more enjoyable to read about than the other. (Gentian was a great character. Aspen got annoying.) But the plots and subplots were well done and the odd central romance was surprisingly entertaining. I liked it.
S. Book Junkie
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The plot was complex and intense, full of action. The way it played was both completely absurd and absolutely endearing. I pray for a third installment.
Bethany Kok
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Subtle and understated.
from the start i feel like i've been reading these books for <3 aristide <3 and it was totally worth it
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Born in Sweden and raised in Australia, Andrea K Höst currently lives in Sydney. She writes fantasy, but wanders occasionally into science fantasy.

Her novel "The Silence of Medair" was a finalist for the 2010 Aurealis Award for best fantasy novel. Her novella "Forfeit" won the 2016 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novella.

Other books in the series

Darest (2 books)
  • Champion of the Rose (Darest, #1)