Cillian's Reviews > Behold the Bones

Behold the Bones by Natalie C. Parker
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Another book in the Beware the Wild setting.
More enchanted, creepy Louisiana swamp. More characters fucked in the head doing lots of fucked up stuff.
More Beware the Wild...

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Reading Progress

July 25, 2015 – Shelved
February 6, 2016 –
February 7, 2016 – Started Reading
February 9, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)

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Rayne Hey there! Sorry for the delay. Matt suddenly showed up here out of nowhere to surprise me because we hadn't see each other in a couple of weeks. I ended up finishing yesterday's quota just a few minutes ago. I'll be back later with a comment on them when I get out of class later today.

How are you liking it, sis? I'd forgotten how engrossing and charmingly creepy this setting was. Candy is a badass. I'm guessing that, if there's a third book, it will definitely be Abigail's, right?

See you later!

message 2: by Cillian (last edited Feb 06, 2016 04:45PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cillian I finished my quota at midnight.
Boy, it's a good thing we post so extensively during our read alongs, cos I'd be lost without our BtW thread.
Still, there's a little something I can't remember about BtW: (view spoiler)
I did not remember Candy from the first one, but as soon as we mentioned her on our other thread I remembered her well. I liked her too, and she was the only one in that group who (view spoiler) She was probably a wee bit "deus ex machina-ish" (view spoiler)

Candy's voice is great; I also love seeing Sterling through someone else's eyes, and it's cool that Rachel has a more important role.
As with the first one, the bad guys wear a neon sandwich board sign that says BAD GUY in phosphorescent letters.
I read--and remember--it wasn't a big deal for us in BtW cos we didn't think Natalie was trying to be clever.
I still, for my life, don't get (view spoiler)
It seems that it won't be a chore to finish this book in only three days. It's highly readable and I love, adore, and DIE for Louisiana settings.
I've never been to the south; never seen New Orleans, Tennessee, Mississippi, etc. so there's no reason for me to be so in love with those settings. They just appeal to me in a way no other place does; I am perfectly capable of buying a book just because it takes place in New Orleans or Tennessee especially if there's a plantation house.
(I was in Austin Texas, though, but it was like any other big city.)

I really hope Natalie writes more Southern Gothics...she really has a great talent for them.
How's the reading going for you? :)

Cillian Done with our second quota. I'll wait for you to post more, but for now:
This gets better and better and better...
Candy rules the earth. She rocked my socks and I'm in love with her.
Also, don't you find it amazing that (view spoiler)

Rayne I've been a terrible reading partner in this one, Chloe. I am so sorry about that. This weekend was insane. I saw that you already finished it, so I'm going to go ahead and write a longer comment when I'm done. Speculating with you is one of my favorite parts about reading books together, but life got in the way. Hope you enjoyed it. I'll be back tomorrow with my thoughts on the book as a whole, so feel free to post and comment away. Sorry again!

Rayne Here I am. Super late, I know.

I really, really liked the book, but the strangest thing is happening, sis: the more I think about it, the more I find things that make me like it a little bit less. I think I was so enamoured with the setting and the mythology and Candy's voice, that it wasn't until a couple of hours had passed that I noticed that there were actually a lot of issues with pacing and cohesiveness and even logic.

Like you, I adored that the romantic interest turned out to be someone completely unexpected, someone that was positioned firmly on the periphery of the story, and, most importantly, someone who was not conventionally attractive. But, don't you feel like it came out of nowhere? (view spoiler)

It's true what you said; I remember liking that Parker didn't try to make a huge deal out of who the bad guys were going to be because they were pretty obvious, and instead focusing on making a mystery of the setting and the workings of the swamp. (view spoiler)

When I think of the story as a whole, I do like it a lot, but from a closer perspective, it sort of crumbles a little bit. (view spoiler)

I really liked that we got to see Sterling and Heath from another perspective, but I must admit they didn't exactly match up with my memories of them. Abigail, on the other hand, continues to be a hell of an interesting character and I would love to see her perspective in an upcoming book, but I'm not entirely sure now that would be a good idea. Most of Abigail's appeal is how mysterious and reserved she is, and I'm not sure the character would translate well into a first person POV paranormal novel without turning her into an issue about how hard it is being a black gay girl in the South, which would be a disservice to Abigail's importance in the novels and the strength with which she deals with her identity in them.

I ADORED Candy. She's one of the absolute best heroines I've read about in a while because she didn't take any bullshit from YA clichés. You refuse to talk to me? Here's a boot to your car. You get dodgy with your explanations? Here's me not letting you go until I have answers. You refuse to give me something? Here's a kick on the leg. I like you? Here's a kiss. I loved that she didn't wait for life (the story) to give her anything, to just conveniently drop everything on her lap. She was amazing.

Your offer has been gladly accepted: you take the mother and I'll deal with the evil Nanny. (view spoiler)

I have to say that, in spite of all my complaints, I still really like this book. I love what Parker has done here, from the setting to the characters to the whole mythology. It is breathtaking and so unbelievably riveting. I've never visited the South either (Virginia and Florida don't count) but I've always been so intrigued by its culture (this side of the culture, not the sexist, racist, homophobic part, of course xD) and I feel like this series gave me exactly what I wanted from it in terms of the setting and the paranormal aspect. The plot may have holes, but everything else is pretty damn awesome.

What do you think, sis?

Again, I apologize for failing to keep up with the buddy-read.

I hope you enjoyed it!

message 6: by Cillian (last edited Feb 28, 2016 02:05PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cillian 19 days later...
It never ceases to amaze me how time goes by. You posted this on February 9; here I am replying on February 28.
If you were harbouring any guilty feelings about being slightly MIA, discard them, for I beat you on that.
No matter. Let's settle this BtB case once and for all. ;)

On the love interest (view spoiler)

Mr King's character, so strong at the beginning, dwindled into a cameo-size appearance in the end. I have to fully agree with your comments about the King family. Nova was the most motivated of them all, and I didn't immediately peg her as the bad guy. (view spoiler)

Candy was the book's saving grace. I really enjoyed her, and firmly rooted for her when she burned her mom a new one, but I felt those were just spicy, barbed comments that didn't help her case...whatever it was.
(view spoiler)
I get that Candy can have her failure moments, but her character seemed to shift mercurially from passive to badass and vice-versa.

All in all, it was an awesome read. I can't get enough of that swamp. The setting is nothing short of perfect, and while the mythology is relatively fresh--especially for a YA fantasy--it's still somehow in diapers; I don't think Natalie fully elaborated it. Maybe a prequel should be in the works?

It's a 3.5 for me, sis (I somehow know it's the same to you). I'm rounding it to a 4 thought, considering I gave The Merciless II a 3 star rating, and BtB was a lot better.
What's your final verdict?

PS. Are you pages deep in school reading? Cos I'd like to discuss our next buddy read. ;)

Rayne Damn. I hadn't even realized how quickly days have gone by until you pointed it out. In my head, it was but a few days ago that we read this one. You mean to tell me it's been a freaking month since we finished it? This is ridiculous. I need life to slow the hell down.

I'm taking a quick break from writing like 5 different projects, papers and exams to answer because I haven't read a book in a week, I haven't talked to you in a while, so my life was slowly unraveling and discussing books with you always sets me back on track. But seriously, the last couple of weeks have been brutal. Everything just sort of crashed on top of me. I'm afraid that by the time I'm done with all this work I currently have, it will already be time to study for finals and I am definitely not ready for that.

Anyway, back to BtB.

Reading this book was just so confusing for me because it's hard to conciliate the amazing control Parker had over Candy's voice and characterization with the gigantic holes in the story, the character inconsistencies and the unexplained turns in the story. It actually feels like an early draft at points. She has an incredible grip on who tells the story and what she wants to make out of it, but the in between was a mess that sometimes seemed haphazardly put together. It was such a strange reading experience. The first one also had its tiny holes and inconsistencies, but the elements were woven together a lot more tightly and effectively. Here it sometimes felt like she followed an idea for a while and then got sidetracked by another one, deciding to follow this one instead and forgetting to wrap up the other one. And yet I still really liked the book because Parker writes new, fascinating stories about incredibly engaging characters. I adore the elements of the story, but the execution left a lot to be desired.

It's true she tried to bring a lot into a fairly short and quick read. There were many threads in there and she tried to tie them, but it just felt like she had decided how the story would turn out and even when the characters and plot tried to move in another direction, instead of reconsidering her initial idea or force them back into the original plan, she just let it all be within the pre-established frame she had decided upon. Background characters would rise to the surface as important way towards the end, and then important characters from the beginning would just fade into the background. Crucial relationships and interactions would fizzle out for no reason, or would be ignored or forgotten altogether. Conflicts that seemed so important would be quickly given resolution in a very understated way in order to move on. The climax itself was but a handful of pages and brought about a resolution that was so easy as to be discordant. The more I think about the novel, the more frustrated I get. I still love it, of course, because Candy, for all of her inconsistencies, was an outstanding main character, and, of course, Parker's setting is perfection, but that only contributes even more to my frustration because it feels stupid to love the pieces so much and still be angry at the picture they make when put together.

I know what you mean about feeling bad about the idea of giving this one the same rating as The Merciless II when BtB is definitely a better book, but I just can't bring myself to rounding up the 3.5 stars to 4. It had all the elements to be amazing, but it feels like Parker just threw them together, letting the chips fall where they may and then calling it a day. So yeah, I have lots of feelings about these novels, and they are all at war with each other. You think there's any way the publisher made her write this sequel because the first one did alright and she just scraped together this out of obligation? Because to me it felt like this one wasn't written as lovingly or with as much care and attention as the first one.

I will, of course, read anything else Parker writes. She's proven she's an author with an imagination that deserves to be paid attention to. And I'm sure time will smooth over the bumps in this story for me, but I can only hope now that, if we get Abigail's story, which I really, really, really, really, really hope we do, it combines the things that made both previous novels great and delivers the story I know Parker is capable of writing.

I'm going to give this a bit more thought, but I think it is a 3.5 rating rounded down to 3 stars.

Uhhh! You have something in mind for our next buddy read? Discuss away, Chloe! You tell me and I'll make time whenever I can get it ;)

Cillian "Background characters would rise to the surface as important way towards the end, and then important characters from the beginning would just fade into the background."

I actually ship that. It's very much like real life: how many times have you started, what appeared to be, a strong relationship with someone and then the magic wore off? Same with people you may have been indifferent to, resulted the best of friends?
That gave me the feel of real life relationships; nothing was pre-established. It just flowed and characters naturally slotted themselves in place.
As for the rest, I have to agree completely. I even agree with your rating. If Natalie would have either made the book longer to give those threads some closure, or not include them altogether, it would have been a much better rounded read.

As for our next buddy read...did you know we read 41 books together?
That's pretty badass. Anyway! I was checking our read-along shelf, and there is one that we haven't shelved for our adventure and I really want to read with you: The Lie Tree.
I can't and won't suggest Lady Midnight cos I know I will be reading it this next Tuesday.
I can't wait.
As for the books we have shelved, I am all for Earth Girl, and Goliath!
We have to finish the trilogy! And I know it will be tons of fun; you could use a truckload of fun.

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