Charles's Reviews > The Entropy of Bones

The Entropy of Bones by Ayize Jama-Everett
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's review
Oct 06, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, stat_3, reviewed

Stuff I Read - The Entropy of Bones by Ayize Jama-Everett Review

There are certain books that thrive on their movement, on their cinematic flare, and The Entropy of Bones is certainly one of those, capturing an energy that is alive with motion and power, with blood and bones snapping. There might be a few moments when the book stumbles a bit under the weight of the baggage it carries as a part of a larger series, but for most of the mad dash toward its ending the novel maintains a forceful momentum and pacing and doesn't take a breathe until the floor is strewn with bodies and the air is aflame with explosions.

The novel opens on Chabi, a mixed race girl whose family situation kind of dooms her a bit. Her mother, reeling from an abusive relationship, isn't really in a shape to deal with Chabi, especially because Chabi begins life without being able to talk. Later she learns to use her Voice, something that sets her apart from others, that marks her as special, but it is in her formative years that she experiences her first injuries, and the ones that never really heal. The book does a nice job of looking at cycles of abuse, the way that Chabi's mother passes on her pain and, in turn, how Chabi gets herself involved in a similarly abusive relationship, though not a sexual or romantic one.

All this is slid under a plot that kicks things to eleven, a martial arts mix of urban fantasy and science fiction blending time travel, superpowers, and magic beings without a moral compass. Things start out fairly straightforward but get out of had really quick, from defending a giant marijuana farm to getting involved with international billionaires who might actually be not-really-human. Chabi gets caught in the wake of things she doesn't really understand, but while she pushes into anyway, unwilling to wait or really consider letting any of it go. She lives up to her training, her damage, in how she disregards her own wellbeing, accepting that she is what she has been made into and embracing being a weapon.

And it's in that embrace that the book makes a nice point about abuse and power. Chabi is a victim of her training, of the man who trained her. Like her mother was with Chabi's father, Chabi became obsessed with her mentor, absolutely loyal to her, but he was incapable of feeling the same for her. Perhaps a mild affection, but the truth is what Chabi's mother says. He was evil. As was Chabi's father. And she cannot, in the end, escape them. She is offered an out, a way to let it go, but refuses, basically taking whatever power she can from her abuse to get some measure of revenge. There's a lot more going on than just that, but it was an aspect of the book I thought was well done.

There are moments in the plot when things just sort of have to be accepted. This is part of a series and while it does stand on its own fairly well it's not flawless. There are sections of explosition that do need to be chewed thoroughly and there are a few sections missing some contextualization, but mostly the book is just fun and fast and brutal. It's a wild ride and one that you sort of need to hold on tight to avoid being flung off from. It's adrenaline and sweat, pulse-pounding with a fun voice and a visceral style. And in the end it's the fun I remember, the fights and the magic and the determination of Chabi as she makes herself into a weapon, aims, and fires. An 8/10 for me.
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Reading Progress

October 6, 2015 – Started Reading
October 6, 2015 – Shelved
October 6, 2015 – Shelved as: fantasy
October 6, 2015 – Shelved as: stat_3
October 6, 2015 –
page 33
14.73% "Fast and brutal so far. And lots of fun. I love the voice."
October 10, 2015 –
page 224
100.0% "That was intense. Excellent world building and complex character work. Just a tiny bit disappointed by the ending but it made sense. Quite good."
October 10, 2015 – Finished Reading
November 10, 2015 – Shelved as: reviewed

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