G.M. Burrow's Reviews > Empire of Bones

Empire of Bones by N.D. Wilson
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it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, favorites

In the first two books of Ashtown Burials, you aren’t really afraid that the main characters will die.

In Empire of Bones, you wonder if any of them are going to make it at all.

If the previous adventures were Star Wars: A New Hope, then this is The Empire Strikes Back. Wilson turns up the heat and pushes his characters—and his readers—to the limit in this intense, imaginative ride with orangutans, jungle ships, mohawked monks, shark chauffeurs, glacier lakes, ancient tunnels, dreams of death and desolation, and oh yes…a dragon. All the battles Cyrus and Antigone have fought before are practice rounds compared to the bloody, everything’s-on-the-line climax. I read the last 40 pages in a sweat, squeaking out loud, “No! No!” as my favorite characters plowed through a minefield of death bombarding them in all shapes and sizes, and I distinctly remember thinking: I know the author, and this is just an advance reader’s copy….There’s still time to change his mind….

But I wouldn’t, even if I could.

What I loved about Bones is that it isn’t just an adventure story with a few fun fights. It’s a crucible. It will put you through the fire and change you because, frankly, the same thing is true of N. D. Wilson that Owen Barfield once said of C. S. Lewis: “Somehow what Lewis thought about everything was secretly present in what he said about anything.” Every piece of fiction Wilson writes, from Leepike Ridge down to this, is brimming with the truths that he lays out (slightly) more didactically in his two statements of faith. If Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl and Death by Living were poured into characters and set on a stage, they would play for us Empire of Bones. And you cannot read them and remain unchanged.

Prepare to be locked and loaded. Full to bursting. Eager to live. Ready to die. When your own dark hour comes, you will be readier for it after reading this grim, funny, rousing, fiercely jolly this-world fantasy of heroes who live and die as heroes should—fighting lust with thanksgiving, sorcery with self-sacrifice, death with laughter.

I knew when I began reading that I would start over as soon as I finished. And I have.

“On a wind-battered hillside, above a lifeless house, beyond the jagged battle line where sandstone cliffs held back the gray churning sea, in softy mossy earth beneath a towering redwood tree, there was a hole in the ground six feet deep…”
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Reading Progress

June 28, 2013 – Started Reading
June 28, 2013 – Shelved
October 10, 2013 – Finished Reading
October 11, 2013 – Shelved as: fiction
October 31, 2013 – Shelved as: favorites

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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Brittany Petruzzi I'm with you, Gwen. I was yelling at our esteemed author at full voice in the middle of the night through the last 150 pages or so. I also stopped breathing on more than one occasion. Hahaha.


G.M. Burrow MY TWIN.


Brittany Petruzzi Only I think I probably used more sibilants than you did. ;-)


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