Not Even Bones – where YA goes dark.

Hello people! How are you? My health has high and low in this period and so I spent my time cuddled on the couch watching Netflix and K-dramas. There are worst ways to spend your time, that’s true, but I missed my blog so much!!!! The point is that my energies were sooooo low. But it seems like they are coming back so… here I am with a new review!

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Title: Not Even Bones
Author: Rebecca Schaeffer
Series: Market of Monsters #1
Page count: 368
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.” But when her mom brings home a live specimen, Nita decides she wants out — dissecting living people is a step too far.
But when she tries to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold on the black market in his place — because Nita herself is a supernatural being. Now Nita is on the other side of the bars, and there is no line she won’t cross to escape and make sure no one can ever capture her again. 
Nita did a good deed, and it cost her everything. Now she’s going to do a lot of bad deeds to get it all back.

I was intrigued by the synopsis, and since I have first heard about this book I knew I just had to read it. It was that the plot sounds really original and quite dark. So… How can I resist??
But once I started it I became doubtful. I mean, we really start with a BOOM here, and I appreciated it, mind me, I am not complaining. But the thing is… this book is a YA and the author choose an original and quite peculiar MC. We met Nita and from the beginning we know that she’s not your regular teen. And that her parents won’t be winning parents of the year anytime soon. (Or more accurately, they won’t win it in this life). And I loved it, because she’s unique. And I mean it, UNIQUE. But she’s not an easy protagonist to manage, and this is a YA so I was scared because I saw two distinct possibilities opening up in front of me:

  1. the author makes a brilliant and unique choice, yes, but it’s too hard to manage and it would be too dark for a YA book so she would make a mess out of it. Because she would tell us that her MC is quite a psychopath (sort of) but in the end, she would show us a regular teen with just an unusual background (and this, dear readers, is a thing that annoys me immensely!) and call it a day
  2. She would stand by her choice and would go on with other difficult choices for all the book because it’s like an avalanche. Once you start to make a peculiar and hard choice you just have to go with it and keep making similar choices during the story.

With way 1 we would have a mediocre book which would have annoyed the hell out of me, with the second we would have an original and interesting reading. I was really hoping for the second possibility, but the first one is the easy way out so… yeah, I was fearing. But you know what? The author was great!

Nita is quite the MC. She is a girl who lives with her mother. They go around a lot and at the moment they are in Peru. Her mother is a bounty hunter, sort of. She hunts unnatural and takes their bodies home to sell them on the black market. Yup, she sells them, because almost every part of the supernatural beings has some quality or other, and so there is a really big market around them. And Nita is the one who dissects the bodies. She cuts them up and prepare all the different parts to be shipped around the world. And she likes her work. She’s a nerdy girl, sort of, who would love nothing more than to go to college to study the supernatural creatures and go on with her dissections. She has a scientist’s mind, but she has no empathy. Or well, she has some… but not so much.
She doesn’t have a problem or second thought while she is dissecting corps, and she is always eager to have new bodies, of different supernatural beings, on her table. But she is not a killer. She is not a fighter. She let that to her mother.
And her mother is another piece of art. She’s just so wrong on so many levels that she is amazing, in her own ways. The author creates some great characters, even if they are not good. and guys, Nita’s mother is scary! And she’s not even the villain here!

But Nita and her mother aren’t the only good things in there. We have a ton of different and new supernatural beings. And even the traditional ones are quite different from how we are used to imagining them (like unicorns. Because yes, we have unicorns here too!). The author gifts us with her original take on the supernatural world, and yes, I know that original is a word that keeps coming up in this review, but this book, that is not perfect, and it’s not the best book ever, because it’s lacking some depth here and there, has the really amazing value to be original in more way than one. We have an original world-building, original characters and original choices here. So, original is the key word here!

Another really great character here is Kovit. If I was happy when the author didn’t take the easy way with Nita, I was overjoyed with her ways with Kovit. He’s really a small masterpiece. He is a zennit, and zennit are creatures who fed on human pain. So, to eat they have to torture people, and this leads them to be treasured by bad people all around the world (criminals, mafia’s gangsters, tyrant and dictators, and so on) because owning a personal torturer is a clear sign of power. And so we find Kovit as Nita’s jailer.
Because one day Nita’s mother takes home with her a living boy, and this is the last straw for Nita, who can’t and won’t be a murder. So she did the right thing. But this right thing is the thing that causes her ruin. She is kidnapped and imprisoned somewhere in the Amazonic forest, in the biggest marketplace of supernatural beings. She would be on the other side of the market, this time, as a highly valued good and she is ready to do all that it takes to be free again (with all her body parts intact!).

And the story, as you can imagine, keeps going darker and darker. It’s not a book for the easy of heart, or for impressionable people, so I don’t think that labeling it as YA is quite right. I mean, the characters are of the right age, yes, but it’s a hard story, with a ton of dark tinges in it and difficult choices. But I enjoyed it immensely. I was amazed by it, because it managed to surprise me time and again.
So yeah, if you are in for something original and surprising, and you won’t mind for dark things and some gore well… that’s the right book for you!

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Have you read this book? Or are you curious about it? Let me know!!!

Happy reading!
S.

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8 thoughts on “Not Even Bones – where YA goes dark.

  1. maddalena@spaceandsorcery says:

    What an intriguing review! I would not normally go for a YA story because, as you mentioned as well, there is always the danger of falling into overused tropes. This writer, instead, choose the harder road and from your description seems to have given us a story which is dark, yes, but also compelling. Thank you so much for sharing this! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: MAY WRAP UP!

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