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The Bone Road

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  45 ratings  ·  24 reviews
A divvy, a dying woman, and a promise...

Rhona has the divvy gift; with only a touch she can tell if a baby will be fertile or a sterile Shun, destined to be killed or outcast. The people of the Deom depend on the divvys for survival, but it is a hard and brutal gift.

As long as Rhona’s mother was alive, Rhona had followed the old ways, but now her mother is dead and Rhona
Paperback, 374 pages
Published 2012 by Mary Holland
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4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  45 ratings  ·  24 reviews

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Isa Lavinia

ARC provided by the author through Netgalley


The people of Deo are divided in two moieties, the Wid and the Zeosil. All of them must, by tradition, pay their debt by producing a child. The thing is, Wid can only mate with Zeosil, and Zeosil with Wid, otherwise the child will be born a Shun. If a Shun baby is lucky, it'll survive past 3 days and grow-up as an outcast, infertile and unable to pay the debt, scorned by all, believed to bring bad luck.

Rhona is a divvy: she can touch a child
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Disclaimers out of the way first. Disclaimer 1: This book is up against mine in the Kindle Book Review Best Indie Book 2013 contest, in the F&SF division. Since I genuinely think that (apart from the editing, which I'll mention later) it's a better book than mine, I don't believe that's influenced me negatively.

Disclaimer 2: I didn't buy this book, though I was going to. The author saw my comment on a review by a mutual acquaintance (Ripley Patton) and offered me a copy, with no expectation
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I’ll be honest; I initially bought this book because one of the main characters shared my name. I really like my name, it’s beautiful, and unique, and I thought, “Gee, I can’t wait to read about this other Annalise and how cool she is.”

She was pretty damn cool.

Mary Holland’s Bone Road is one of those books that is so chock full of creativity, and flavor, and action that, despite only being 376 pages long, finishing the book felt a lot like finishing a fully fleshed out trilogy. The world buildin
Sandra "Jeanz"
Apr 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received an e-copy of this book from the author Mary Holland in exchange for my honest review.
I found the cover quite strangely attractive, in that it made me ask lots of questions, why did the baby appear to be in the road? What is the Bone Road? What is a divvy? and what do they do? he cover is fairly simplistic but once you read the book you can pick out all the aspects from the book and the cover really does fit the book very well. Would it make me pick it up from a bookstore shel
Julie Davis
Feb 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting concept, a whole world where the dominant culture is similar to that of gypsies ... and where people from the wrong clans (for lack of a better word) getting married almost always guarantees something wrong with the baby. Without blood tests to fall back on, they depend on divvys who can tell just by a touch if something will go wrong.

As in Mary Holland's previous book, Matcher Rules, there is an innate conflict between the old ways and new ones that are springing up. Holl
Woelf Dietrich
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I won’t rehash the plot here as I see many reviews dealt with that already. This review will therefore only be about my experience reading The Bone Road. It took me a while to settle in the story and it wasn’t a particularly fast read, but that probably says more about me than it does about the book. I’m glad I didn’t give up. It is a good story--part adventure-quest, part romance, part social commentary, with some added mystery- ...more
Kate Policani
Jun 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: win
Rhona the midwife and divvy has just lost her mother. A sudden stroke overtook her on the road and now she lies in the ground, becoming a part of the Bone Road. What survives is her mission. Rhona must carry out her mother's last wish and travel to meet someone she doesn't know to carry out a mysterious favor. Her journey begins the strange and wonderful journey of The Bone Road. Through the lives of her son and Selena, the woman she must aid, we learn the culture and fierce dignity of the Deo, ...more
Sadie Forsythe
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a2r-done
It's been a while since I really mourned the end of a book, but The Bone Road is one that I will. I don't want it to be over yet, though I'm so glad it ends. It is a nice, tightly wrapped stand alone book. Do those seem to be getting rarer these days, or is it just me? Either way, I've found a new author to follow. Holland's writing is wonderful. The world-building is elaborate and the characters are extremely fleshed out. I absolutely loved, loved, loved, loved Jak and Matteo—wonderful male cha ...more
Jul 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I had many ups and downs while reading it. I must have read the first few pages a billion times, putting it aside to read something else each time. Then I would pick it up again and re-read the first pages and put it back down. The beginning really didn't grab me, but once I made myself focus I started to get into it I really enjoyed it. The story was really interesting and it is another world that made me think of way back in the day when p ...more
Ripley Patton
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-love
Mary Holland's The Bone Road is the kind of book that makes me regret giving other books five stars because here... HERE is a truly five-star worthy book.

I do not gush over books. I have been called, by some, a harsh reviewer (see my other reviews), and yet, I do not have anything bad to say about this book.

I do have lots of good things to say, however, so here we go.

Mary Holland is an unknown master of the social sci-fi/fantasy genre. I grew up on Le Guin and L'Engle, devouring everything they
Bruce Gargoyle
Full review at http://thebookshelfgargoyle.wordpress...

I received a digital copy of this book for review from the publishers via Netgalley.

Ten Second Synopsis:
Rhona, divvy and general social rebel, must fight for her place in a society in the midst of great change.

This is a complex book. Essentially, The Bone Road tells the tale of a society that is in flux. The travelling culture of the Wid and Zeosil is coming under threat from landers who are gaining more power and control of the Bone Road. N
Angie ~aka Reading Machine~
The people of Deo or Deom are separated into three classes:The Wid, The Zeosil, and The Shun. There is only one tradition they all follow~The Bone Road belongs to The Deom. The Wid named Rhona, who is divvy gifted(one who knows about health or sickness), seeks to honor death request made by her mother little did she know the trouble that would follow in this task. Rhona is now free to claim her choice of partner~Matteo the Shun. Both of them have waited a long time. Both are willing to fight for ...more
Jun 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I knew when I read the summary of this book that i was intrigued. The unique concept of The Bone Road had me very curious. Rhona has a quest to fulfill her mothers burden my taking a message to a friend of her mother's. Many interresting sights, sounds, and smells occur on the Bone Road. Adventures with Jak who is Rhona's sone and Rhona's lover Matteo who is a Shun as well as others.

I loved that Rhona was strong women who was not afraid go for for love even if it meant that it would cause her t
Jul 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
When I first picked up this book I was a bit skeptical. The plot seemed very strange and the first few chapters were very confusing and a bit slow. But, as I continued to read I really got into the book and enjoyed reading the author's character and plot development. It certainly was a very creative idea that Mary Holland wrote upon. The character of Antiles was my favorite because of a certain aspect that the author worked in on her, but I don't want to spoil anything. All I can say is that the ...more
Jul 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Rhona has the divvy gift; she can see who is Wid, Zeosil and Shun. The Shun are killed or exiled as they are infertile. When Rhona's mother was alive, Rhona had followed the old ways, but now her mother is dead and she has one last promise to fulfill. She has to find her mother's friend Selina and help her. Rhona finds Selina, only to become involved in Selina's vengeance against the body-stealing Nobile or Rider of children's stories, who has killed Selina's son. Selina's plan fails and she die ...more
Jul 14, 2013 rated it liked it
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. It was not one of my favorites, but I enjoyed it. Initially, it was really hard to get into. I think it took me a week alone to get through part 1 of the book. All of the rape, incest, slavery, and segregation was somewhat disturbing. Once the story merged into part 2 about Aniles, I was hooked. However, throughout the book, I found the author explaining things over again... to the point that I had to ask myself did I read the pages over. Th ...more
Jun 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Fascinating story with a unique concept which you don't learn until the end. The first part of the book is the story of Rhona, a Wid, who goes to a lander settlement to meet a woman named Selina in order to fulfill her mother's death wish. In Rhona's story, we are introduced to the world of Deo which has three "races" of people, the Wid, the Zeosil and the Shun. And then there are the Riders who are something else altogether. The second half of the book follows the life of Aniles from birth to a ...more
*I received a free Kindle version of this book from the author through the Read It & Reap program in exchange for an honest review.*

I thought this book's plot was really inventive. This whole new world (Deo) was so different and yet still so similar to our world! The characters were all so well-developed. I think my favorite character was Selina, because she possessed real depth and was the most realistic to me. The divisions in the peoples of Deo were very believable, as well. Overall, I th
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Everyone should go read this book! This is an epic tale spun so beautifully, I truly loved it. The descriptions are gorgeous, the characters wonderfully real, and the plot totally original and unique. Mary Holland has created a world I now hold dear, and I was sad to see this story end (although what a great ending it was!). I hope to read more from her in the future and cannot say enough good things about this book! I am so glad I got to read it. I received a free copy of this book for my hones ...more
Jan 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My Review: I have only two regrets with this book. One that I allowed it to languish on my TBR pile for so long and two that it’s done. I honestly can’t remember when I have enjoyed getting immersed in such a strange world. The plot is intricate and beautifully woven. If it had any editing errors I must have been so engrossed I missed them. It wrapped up great at the end and didn’t leave the reader dangling. I highly recommend it to anyone. I give this 5 stars
Jul 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: YA and Adults
Recommended to Bill by: Goodreads forum
Shelves: fantasy
The book starts a little slow, but rapidly picks up your interest. I loved the Jak and Ani characters the most. Lots of good surprises along the way and the ending was not exactly as I had imagined. I would read another book by Mary Holland.
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I listened to the audiobook at

Another great story by Miss Holland. Even better than Matcher Rules(which was already very good).
A unique setting with interesting characters and a plot thats rarely predictable.
KC Comal
Jun 22, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a hard book to rate, mainly because the quality was so erratic. You went from page turning action to stultifying slow fights or descriptions. Plot was all over the place too, and the multiple POV didn't work for me; felt like it was 3 different books. When it was good, it was great though, so 3.5 stars.

Jul 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm a little late on this review, but I was given this book in exchange for an honest one.
So let's go.
Rhona is a divvy; she can tell if a newborn is going to be fertile and part of society, or a sterile Shun. She made a promise to her mother before she died- that she would help a woman named Selina. Her obligation to fulfill this oath takes her on a journey that I will not tell you about because you need to read it for yourself.
Like some others have mentioned, it takes a few pages to really get
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Mary Holland is the author of Matcher Rules, The Bone Road, and The Dog of Pel. After managing a corporate research library in Silicon Valley for twenty-five years, mostly to support her fantasy and science-fiction habit, she now writes full-time.
She lives among the redwoods in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains with three cats and an assortment of wildlife. Find her online at
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