Review: The Bone Dragon by Alexia Casale

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: The Bone Dragon
Author: Alexia Casale
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication Date: 2 May 2013
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Evie’s shattered ribs have been a secret for the last four years. Now she has found the strength to tell her adoptive parents, and the physical traces of her past are fixed – the only remaining signs a scar on her side and a fragment of bone taken home from the hospital, which her uncle Ben helps her to carve into a dragon as a sign of her strength.

Soon this ivory talisman begins to come to life at night, offering wisdom and encouragement in roaming dreams of smoke and moonlight that come to feel ever more real.

As Evie grows stronger there remains one problem her new parents can’t fix for her: a revenge that must be taken. And it seems that the Dragon is the one to take it.

This subtly unsettling novel is told from the viewpoint of a fourteen-year-old girl damaged by a past she can’t talk about, in a hypnotic narrative that, while giving increasing insight, also becomes increasingly unreliable.

A blend of psychological thriller and fairytale, The Bone Dragon explores the fragile boundaries between real life and fantasy, and the darkest corners of the human mind.

REVIEW BY BETH

My review of this novel begins with WOW. I was not expecting anything special, especially when I read the title and synopsis but I always like being proven wrong. The Bone Dragon is brilliant. Not a quick read like some of the others recently, I took my time and savoured every bit of action and twist in the plot.

Evie has been broken, literally to bits but is slowly being mended in no small part due to her adoptive parents and new family. She’s lived through abuse and her new life surrounded by people who genuinely care is hard to slot into, but she’s trying. Her Dragon charm seems to be the one thing to help her make a change, it’s a symbol of where she can go not where she’s been and although the Dragon and scenes featuring him are very much fantasy it didn’t put me off at all. I was hooked to Evie’s story and completely loved her character.

This novel is incredibly dark, even the lighter moments, where Evie tries to spend time with her friends and get on with school like a ‘normal’ pupil there’s always a sense that she can’t overcome her differentness. All the small nuances from her fiery hatred of the school bully to her adoptive mother’s obsessive worrying make the whole novel more complete and believable. Casale blends fantasy with all the features of a fantastic psychological thriller and it’s an extremely powerful debut which leaves me wanting more from the author.

I want to know what happens to Evie and knowing that I can’t is so annoying. It does show that Casale creates pretty awesome characters.

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