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The Bone Doll's Twin

(Tamír Triad #1)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  11,874 ratings  ·  596 reviews
Sometimes the price of destiny is higher than anyone imagined....

Dark Magic, Hidden Destiny

For three centuries a divine prophecy and a line of warrior queens protected Skala. But the people grew complacent and Erius, a usurper king, claimed his young half sister’s throne.

Now plague and drought stalk the land, war with Skala’s ancient rival Plenimar drains the country’s li
Mass Market Paperback, 524 pages
Published October 21st 2009 by Bantam Spectra (first published July 16th 2001)
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Sky Tobin isn't really a trans character, and this isn't really a book about gender identity. Tobin grows up believing himself to be a boy and wanting to …moreTobin isn't really a trans character, and this isn't really a book about gender identity. Tobin grows up believing himself to be a boy and wanting to grow into a man. At some point he has some inklings that he might be a little different than the other boys, but he never really questions his gender.

At some point he learns that he's a girl wearing the skin of her dead brother, and is upset and confused by this, but it's just one of many worries dumped on him at the same time. Far later in the series, when he becomes a she, she does have a very difficult time adjusting, especially in trying to sort out how her relationships have changed, and I think this is the closest the book comes to saying something about transitioning.

This is an enjoyable fantasy series and I think Tobin's story is moving and relatable in many ways. But I don't think it's a realistic portrayal of someone transitioning, nor is it trying to be. In the world of the book, people who are anatomically male are men, and people who are anatomically female are women. Different men and women can fulfill and express those roles differently, but sex and gender are immutable. Tobin is presented as a girl who was magically disguised as a boy, and her views and sense self aren't relevant.(less)

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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  11,874 ratings  ·  596 reviews

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This is, without a doubt, one of the most interesting books I've read where almost nothing happens. It is the fantasy equivalent of Something Happened, by Joseph Heller, when almost assuredly, very little does. Honestly, I'm a little surprised I haven't heard fans of The Way of Kings raving about this, the three-dimensional statue to Sanderson's bas-relief; though there is a solid sense of world-building, the focus here is thorough character development. And that is, perhaps, why I couldn't ulti ...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Sep 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015

If you are searching for a well written, engaging, completed epic fantasy series, you have come to the right place. All three books of the Tamir trilogy are published: a major factor in my decision to pick it up, since I don't like to wait years for each episode. It's only three books, so the readers know beforehand they will not get saddled with ten + 'never-ending' stories. It is character driven, with an attention to detail that reminds me positively of Robin Hobb or J V Jones. It has a
Dec 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
okay people. i see what books y'all add when i post 'em.. you're not fooling me! and i know all your biases against fantasy. but i gotta tell you, that lynn flewelling is pretty fucking gifted.

she writes super detailed, complicated characters who have lots of internal and external struggles.

these books focus on a girl who was turned into a boy for survival and how that "survival" happens and her gender dysphoria when she is "turned back" into a boy among other things.

i couldn't stop reading.

Feb 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: epic-fantasy
I really like this trilogy. It sounds weird when you read the synopsis, but it's really good. ...more
Jan 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I loved this story! I was swept away by the setting, the characters and the adventures of a young boy finding his way in a complex world and learning his true nature and purpose. This is a beautifully written, dark and compelling fantasy that explores gender roles and identity.
Allison Hurd
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Wow. So. I’m really torn about this book. I realize that gender identity wasn’t as well documented in the oughties as it is today, but even so, a slight amount of effort to put one’s self in the shoes of someone whose gender can be taken from them at the will of others would expose how difficult that would be. Putting the inherent transphobia aside (as best I can) this is misery porn. It’s misery porn in a story with 2 introductions and no plot progression. And yet all that said, part of me stil ...more
Feb 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
This plot hinges on a rather interesting idea.

What if a boy was really a girl, but didn't know it?

I don't mean didn't know it in the sense of the The Ill-Made Mute, but truly didn't know it, and most people didn't know it.

Flewelling starts to answer such questions in this book. She also looks at how a land that once used women warriors slowly changes its view on them.

It's strange because there is not much "action" in the traditional sense of the word in the book. It is more about family, fait
Jan 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, 2010, fantasy
The Bone Doll's Twin is fantasy at it's finest. It's creepy and thought-provoking. It handles gender issues in a way that isn't at all prurient. My only complaint is that it ends quite abruptly. It seems to me that the three volumes of this series should probably be one book. Fortunately, I can download the second volume from Audible in about 20 minutes and won't have to wait to start it.

The narration on this particular audiobook is excellent.
Sep 15, 2012 rated it liked it
The Bone Doll's Twin
There Are Probably More Awkward Ways To Save a Kingdom But I Can't Think of Them Now

This is not a happy book, but for all the darkness, all the discomfort inherent in it, it's not a hard read. It doesn't make the reader miserable, but rather intrigues and invites them further into this strange story.

The book works for two reasons. One, Flewelling has an excellent grip on how to write children and teens. Tobin reacts to everything the way a child does. He doesn't grasp how s
Vanessa Baldwin
May 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another really excellent, dignified fantasy series. But other than the big 4 (Martin, Hobb, Flewelling and de Lint), I haven't found more great authors. Well, yeah, Tolkien, but come on. The movies are so much better--(kiss my -ss, Tolkien die-hards, I don't have time for the listing of every familly name of every Hobbit in the Shire) ...more
Kat  Hooper
Jul 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Originally posted at FanLit.

I finished listening to the audio version of The Bone Doll’s Twin, the first in Lynn Flewelling’s fantasy epic THE TAMIR TRIAD, around midnight a few days ago. Instead of going to bed, like normal people might, I immediately downloaded book two, The Hidden Warrior, and listened for a couple more hours. That’s how much I was involved in this story about a young girl who doesn’t know she’s magically hidden in the body of a boy.

Mar 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 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, ex ...more
Mar 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
3.5 stars. A good start to what looks to be an above average fantasy trilogy. I am a big fan of world building and the world that Ms. Flewelling has created is well-thought out, complex and believable. Add to that an original twist to the standard coming of age warrior tale, quality writing and some good characterization and you have all the ingredients for a great story. This one ends on somewhat of a cliff hanger so be ready to go right into the second installment. Recommended!!!!!
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Re-read in audio. I adored the story when it came out, a while ago, and wondered if I would still enjoy it as much a few years later. I did.
I didn't focus much on the gender theme the first time, and honestly, even if I got much more of the various gender switch symbolisms this time (the very obvious and the more subtile ones) it's not what caught my attention the most.
I was wrapped up in the powerful gothic ambiance (ghosts, skeletons, guilt, sorrow, ambition and mysteries: what's not to like
Apr 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I read Flewelling's other set of book but for one reason or another I found myself reluctant to read this trilogy. I will admit that in a brief summary this book sounds cheesy, it is hard to imagine this done in a skillful way. After getting pushed in to reading it (with recommendations from more than one person) I found myself pulled into this unique story. This is truly an original plot done in great taste and with definite skill. The characters are believable and you find yourself being pulle ...more
Feb 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Okay, so I love fantasy when it is well done. There's something so immensely satisfying about reading a well constructed world. All that "world-is-going-to-end-and-then-a-hero-comes-along" (see what I did thurr?) stuff is totally my thing, ya know? So when the lovely Dominique (I was stalking your book haul youtube clips) said this was one of her favourite books, I pounced on it like a cat on string of yarn only not as graceful. Anyway, so, this book, I had great expectations and I am pleased to ...more
Jul 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: transgender, fantasy
The Tamir Trilogy is truly a `proper' trilogy - that is, a single story, broken up into three volumes, as opposed to a series of self-contained, interconnected books. Book 1 (The Bone Doll's Twin) sets-up the story and sends us on our way. In an age of plague and war, a girl child is destined to take her place as the rightful Queen, to reunite the people, and to bring peace back to the land. To thwart this prophecy and ensure his continued rule, the King carefully monitors all noble births and a ...more
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An interesting premise and a compelling read. I knew it would end with a cliffhanger, and it ended almost exactly the way I expected it to. Normally that would be a sign of a predictable story, but that is not the case here. Instead, Flewelling gives the reader an ending that both fulfills expectations and creates new ones. I need to read a few other things before I can continue this series, but I will definitely read the rest of the trilogy.
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Dark, yet very readable. Wonderful world-building; well-drawn, three dimensional characters; magic, mystery, plots, and ghosts—plenty to like. A little slow in parts, but I assume some of that is due to setting up later events.
Excited to read the rest of this trilogy and will be on the lookout for the author’s Nightrunner series.
Mar 14, 2014 rated it liked it
This was a pretty good book, but there were parts where I lost interest in the plot. I definitely want to give Flewelling another chance because I liked her writing, and I think it was simply the plot of this book that did not keep me completely engaged.
Although slow paced, this one is a beautifully written book. It is also the best audiobook I've listened to so far. ...more
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was very intrigued by the ghost story and the unique setting.
What stood out the most for me was the prose. Flewelling has a very authentic prose and a good eye for characters. They were relatable and felt real.
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wow. This was a lot darker than I thought it would be but it was so good. I had all the feels while reading about Tobin and his early years. I almost cried (which I never do) over the heartbreak and sadness surrounding Tobin's family and the repercussions of the events surrounding his birth. There's a somewhat cliffhanger ending and I cannot wait to see what plays out in the next installment. ...more
Jun 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Flewelling calls this book 'gothic fantasy' and one can see where the genre applies. A history to her wonderful Nightrunner series, I found The Bone Doll's Twin to be a bit creepy and somewhat disturbing at times. It certainly is a darker turn from the main story of the Nightrunner series -- even her penchant for torturing (physically and emotionally) her favourite characters doesn't reach this level of skin crawling storytelling.

The Bone Doll's Twin is a distinct piece of 'rising action'. There
Dec 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
When the writer George R. R. Martin and the actress Felicia Day are both recommending a fantasy series, it’s not a bad idea to give it a try. Actually, it’s a wonderful idea.

The Bone Doll's Twin is a magnificent, captivating novel that will get you hooked from the first chapter. The story moves smoothly, without being too slow or too rushed. The characters feel very human, each of them has lots of potential, they all face different struggles, make different hard choices and it’s just nice to be
Jan 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2011
I promised a good review after every book I would read. And up till now, It has remained a promise. I don't know what's got into me lately, but my system seems to be deteriorating. And I think the five-star-rating way is really coming in handy.

You see, when a friend would ask about 'how was the book you hooked your nose into yesterday?' My answer would just be, 'oh it's a 3!' or maybe "nah! that was a 2.' See what I mean?

Now, I picked this book because of the blurb at the front cover by George R
Jun 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: genre-fantasy
Its been over 5 years since I read this book and I'm really surprised at how much of it stayed with me. Although the MC Tobin is just a child throughout the book this isn't a YA book. It is dark and sad at times. A lot of books use the trope of disguising a girl as a boy but this book takes that theme and twists it cruelly. With the killing of a newborn infant to save his twin sisters life it creates a very different dynamic to the book that I love.

There are a lot of characters to love in this b
Alfred Haplo
Quick thoughts on The Bone Doll’s Twin before I forget why I like it and remember only why I do not. Yes, it is that kind of novel. Pleasant but not memorable except for the bits that disappoint.

The story’s framework is driven by a prophecy, which is not problematic in itself but it creates rigidity. The prophecy, to be fulfilled at all cost, drives the narrative of the story. Powerful wizards, newly bestowed with vision X, subvert nature’s laws to fulfil X (this kicks off the plot), thus creat
Review also available on my blog The Shameful Narcissist Speaks.

This novel is told from the point of view of the past where the prologue isn't the precursor to the narrative, but rather the ending.  Since the first chapter starts with Iya, Arkoniel's teacher, and we learn from Arkoniel, the POV of the prologue, that Iya is dead, we therefore know Chapter 1 occurs prior with only Arkoniel left to remember. Whether or not the wizard and his late teacher succeeded remains to be seen, but what they
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Born Lynn Elizabeth Beaulieu.

Other books in the series

Tamír Triad (3 books)
  • Hidden Warrior (The Tamír Triad, #2)
  • The Oracle's Queen (The Tamír Triad, #3)

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