Review: The Bone Dragon by Alexia Casale

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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

Usually when I get sent books without requesting them I have a little look at them at them and then they get put on the TBR bookcase and they can stay there quite a long time.  When I opened the parcel with The Bone Dragon by Alexia Cassale it stood out and made its way to the top of the pile rather quickly.  Not only is it visually stunning it but the blurb had be really hooked already.  Dragons, thriller, contemporary meets fantasy: YES PLEASE.  I couldn’t wait to start it.  

Evie is broken in many horrific ways and she’s slowly healing but there are some wounds that don’t heal as easily as a broken rib.  She’s been abused in her past and now that she’s got a new life with adoptive parents and friends at a new school she is learning how to be at ease again.  It’s harder than you’d think when you can’t help but go cold whenever you sense someone looking over your shoulder or watching you.  Evie’s new parents do their best to help her fight her demons but it takes the appearance of a Dragon made from a removed damaged rib bone to change her life.  How will Evie ever heal with all these skeletons lingering in her life and how will her new family fully come together when there is such sadness already in their lives?

I utterly adored this book because it gave me a way of understanding what it’s like to struggle with issues as big as these without ever having experienced them personally.  That’s a real credit to the writing ability of Alexia Cassale.  She’s a hidden gem of writing and I’d be surprised if this book doesn’t get continual praise upon its release date.  It really did break my heart at times seeing Evie struggle so much even after all she’s been through.    The fantasy element really is such a clever way of discuss issues that are so difficult to approach because they are just that awful to even think about.  

A truly wonderful book that has the power to make you wish for a bit of magic to exist in the world for those that need it.

Published by Faber and Faber and is available from here and bookshops May 2013

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