Book Talk: Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Talk: Not Even Bones by Rebecca SchaefferNot Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer
Series: Not Even Bones #1
on September 4, 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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Dexter meets This Savage Song in this dark fantasy about a girl who sells magical body parts on the black market — until she’s betrayed.

Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” Until her mom brings home a live specimen and Nita decides she wants out; dissecting a scared teenage boy is a step too far. But when she decides to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold in his place—because Nita herself isn’t exactly “human.” She has the ability to alter her biology, a talent that is priceless on the black market. Now on the other side of the bars, if she wants to escape, Nita must ask herself if she’s willing to become the worst kind of monster.

Based on the book’s description, I wasn’t sure about Not Even Bones. Let’s be real: there’s no romance in that description, and it’s also pretty low on details about the book’s actual plot. I was on the fence about requesting it, and I was probably swayed by the lovely and creepy cover. For those on the fence, the Dexter meets This Savage Song pitch is actually right on the money. Schaeffer’s debut is dark, creepy, murdery and unputdownable.

When the book started, I was immediately into the creepy nature of it. Nita works for her mom, as a fair amount of teens do. Nita dissects and dismembers supernatural beings for her mom, which not very many teens probably do, even in this fantasy version of the world where supernatural creatures are common. Nita super loves her job too, even if she has to pretend she doesn’t know how the sausage is made to do it.

When her mom brings home a helpless supernatural creature with yummy flesh, Nita balks at the idea of slowly cutting pieces off of a live victim for sale. Nita’s as shocked as anyone else to realize that she does have an ethical line. (This, right here, should let you know what kind of a heroine you have in this book.) At this point, I thought I knew where the book was going, and I was suspicious, but the book super did not go where I thought it would, and it was AWESOME. I was on the edge of my seat for all 368 pages.

What I loved most about Not Even Bones is that it absolutely leans into the darkness and horror. There are so many YA novels where the characters are monstrous but then you find out that they’re misunderstood fluffy bunnies. No one in here is a fluffy bunny. This book is thoroughly populated by terrifying people, and no one is to be underestimated. I can’t pick scariest, though Nita’s mother is a definite contender for that. Probably at least half of the cast has antisocial personality disorder (think psychopaths/sociopaths). I kept expecting there to be some sort of redemption arc or softening, but this book keeps its teeth from beginning to end.

The range of supernatural creatures is really cool, pulling from legends around the world, I’d imagine. I’d never read about any creatures like most of the ones mentioned in this book, and the ones I had (like vampires) were still completely different from anything I’d encountered before. Nita (and her mother’s power) was especially fascinating. They can manipulate their bodies by altering their biology, but they’re limited by what the body can scientifically do, which is so cool and also I can only imagine how useless that power would be on me because if you don’t understand the biology you can easily kill yourself.

There’s a real visual element to this novel. It’s one of those that even I kind of saw play out in my head like a film. Only some authors make that happen for me, but there’s something really graphic about the writing style that paints a word picture. What’s interesting is the writing was one of the things I was initially unsure about, but it clearly did its job for the story.

I’ll keep this review on the short side, because there’s very little I feel I can talk about without spoiling the twists and turns this incredibly dark story takes, and I’d hate to do that to anyone. This is a book for readers who indulge in the macabre and want to hang out with a heroine who enjoys cutting up dead bodies.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

One response to “Book Talk: Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer”

  1. Leah says:

    I fucking loved this book. I loved that it had no problems going where it did and that is was SO DARK. Can’t wait to read the sequel!

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