The Bone Thief

Page Street. May 2020. 384p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781624149306.
Gr 7-10–After the end of The Bone Charmer, Saskia spent some time in her home village, Midwood. Now it’s time to return to the Ivory Hall where she will continue to train. She also wants revenge against Latham, the man who killed her mother. No one knows that she has followed two paths and done forbidden bone readings, or that Saskia has past, present and future sight, when she is only supposed to have one. Along with other apprentices, Saskia must play the bone games in order to keep her apprenticeship; but it turns into a fight for her life. During this action- and adventure-filled sequel, Shields’s world-building expands in a consistent manner, while the story probes not only Saskia’s path but whether the laws regarding magic in Kastelia are fair. Should a father really be sent to prison for using forbidden magic to save his son’s life? As Saskia works to win the bone games, she learns to question her motives and how they affect the well-being of those around her. Shields adds complex layers to the villains, and the camaraderie among teammates feels genuine. The romantic angst between Saskia and Bram may feel tired to seasoned readers, but is redeemed by its sweet tone.
VERDICT With stronger character development than its predecessor, this volume is a satisfactory conclusion to the duology; purchase where the first title was popular.

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