Cover Image: See These Bones

See These Bones

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Member Reviews

Post-apocalyptic Superhero Academy featuring a necromancer fighting against the expectation that he's gonna kill everyone? Sounds fantastic, and while this wasn't quite what I expected going in, it was extremely engaging, very gore-y, and yet kept all the coming-of-age elements of other magical academy books.

Content warnings include: violence, gore, graphic injury, character death, casually cissexist misogynistic fatphobic racist language, death of parents, foster care, character growing up in orphanage, bullying, burning alive, electroshocks, adults flirting with minors.

This was the first time in a while that I've read a book by (I assume?) and about a cishet guy and... it really showed. I was also very quickly reminded of why I usually do not reach for books by and about that demographic anymore.

I've read my fair share of books about horny teenage boys, and this one was one of the worse executions of teenage horniness, particularly since much of it was used as running jokes. It just made the humor sound juvenile.
You absolutely can write a teenager who is attracted to women in a non-misogynistic way - this book just didn't manage it. It wasn't even that the protagonist, Damian, was particularly sexist - there as just so much casual sexism (as well as cissexism and fatphobia and racism) embedded in the language, as sadly seems to be the norm for many people these days.
This made it very uncomfortable to read at times. For example, just because the teenage protagonist is a cis straight boy who lusts after and objectifies adult women doesn't make it okay (or funny) for those adult women to flirt back (and to then threaten to mutilate his genitals when that encourages him.)

Damian himself wasn't a bad protagonist. He's heavily shaped by past trauma and how unfairly the world treats him, and he makes mistakes, but I didn't find him unlikeable.
What I did however really dislike was the narrating style. Not because Damian is an unrelatiable narrator (even though he totally is, but really, what did I expect) but because the book is set up as Damian telling the story in retrospect, and as such frequently addresses the reader and alludes to events past and present. Which isn't bad in itself, but happens to be one of my most hated narrating elements. It wasn't my jam, but it did work well for the book and was well written.

The plot was super interesting and immediately engaging, despite the comparatively slow moving beginning. I loved the worldbuilding, the school setting, the history, the powers and the lessons. Damian's journey did seem a bit pointless at times, and to be honest I was a kinda disappointed in the necromancy, but those were only things I noticed in retrospect. While reading I was wholly involved, and I struggled putting the book down to sleep/eat/do anything but keep reading.

It's clearly first in a series. It had a satisfying closed plot and arc that's a lot about finding oneself and has clear coming-of-age elements. There was action and gore (quite a lot of gore, actually) but the main focus in on Damian struggling to find his way. But of course, there's more: there were several surrounding elements that clearly alluded to something happening beyond the scope of Damian's training at the Academy. They were wonderfully implemented, subtle and smoothly integrated but still made me itch from wanting to find out what they were about. As such, if the second book in the series had already been released at the time I read this, I would have immediately bought it to keep reading.
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The title "See these bones" along with a powerful cover drew me to Tullbane's Book 1 of his "The Murder of Crows" series. In truth, I am not fond of most post apocalyptic novels. Many times authors fall back on tired tropes. Their plots are as uniform as a McDonald's menu.

While Tullbane does use some tropes ( Damien, our protagonist is an orphan for example.) His willingness to world build a USA dominated by super heroes makes for a fun read. This world has 'capes' --the good guys, and 'black hats' the bad guys. Both fear the 'crows'. These are the necromancers, beings with powers over the dead. Beings who without fail become dangerously insane. Damien, filled with fear and self loathing is one of them.

Book one covers Damien's recruitment, his first year at the Academy, and finally a challenge that
is as unexpected as it is valid. This reader is eager for Book 2.

A great read for YA and dystopian sci fi fans alike.

Full disclosure: I received this ARC from net galley and Ghost Falls Press in exchange for an unbiased review. Thank you for this opportunity
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There is not a thing I didn't like about 'See These Bones' by Chris Tullbane

See These Bones by Chris Tullbane ★★★★★

See These Bones is an amazing book. I loved everything about it. The story was very intriguing and unique. The characters were well-written and diverse. I did have to push myself to start reading it, but that's on me because once I started the book I couldn't stop. I kept thinking about these personas and what was going to happen next.

The plot of See These Bones is quite unique because we see the whole superhero-thing from a different perspective. I am a huge fan of Marissa Meyer's Renegades series so it was obvious I was going to like this novel as well. Now what makes See These Bones so different is the fact that the main character is a necromancer. He is doomed and people are certain he is destined to do terrible things. We see him, Damian, try to change his destiny. This story was action-packed, I never once got bored.

This book has a lot of representation. There are people of color in this book and more than one. There are also characters who aren't straight and in same-sex relationships. I love reading books with a diverse cast. It adds so much to the book and story.

I liked Damian's character, he is very special. He acts all tough but Tullbane makes sure the person reading knows he's only human and has insecurities. Damian definitely goes through a lot in See These Bones, but he grows a lot too. He gave me a Deadpool-vibe and it suited the story. Damian is funny, or he at least tries to be. He is violent and swears a lot, but that didn't bother me because I am a Deadpool fan so I enjoyed reading about Damian and his adventure.

There are friendships formed in See These Bones and they are everything. I expected the main character to be a loner because he is different but the way he created beautiful friendships with some of his classmates was really heartwarming. He lowers his guard when he's with them and it was nice to read.

I like the cover, but don't really think it has anything to do with the book.

Would I recommend this book? Yes! Yes! Yes!!!! As you can see, there wasn't a thing I didn't like. This is my first 5 star read of the year and it was literally amazing. The rep in See These Bones was good, the story was unique and I liked the main character. I can't wait for the next book in this series.
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Enjoyed the pacing of this book, it kept me wanting to turn the page and find out what was going to happen next, without overloading information.

The characters were well developed, would like to have seen more interactions between the main characters.

Overall a nice read, looking forward to more from the author.
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The plot is intriguing, kept my attention the whole time. I don’t read YA books which are set in high schools because they don’t interest me anymore - way too much teenage drama for my liking - but in this school the kids a superheroes in training. 
Damian was a little too much sometimes. Too much talk about sex or mostly the absence of it. And too much swearing for just the sake of it. But I liked him more than didn’t. As the story goes on, he starts to realize he has friends, he can have friends. 

What book comes to mind is Pride and Prejudice. Okay I know, but bear with me just a little bit more. Pride and prejudice dominates the whole book. Damian is too proud to ask for help, to admit he is in deep trouble. The other characters - with a couple of exceptions like Bard - are so full of prejudice that they can’t see or just don’t care who Damian really is instead of what he is. 

In this world superheroes are real. But where there are superheroes there sure are villains too. The good guys are Capes, the bad guys are the Black Hats. Damien wants to be a Cape. There is a problem though. He is a Crow, a necromancer destined to be a villain. Because every Crow goes mad and becomes a killer, eventually. So when Damian gets a chance to change his life, he takes it. He goes to the Academy where powered kids study to become Capes. Damian thinks his life will take a turn for the best. But the other students know what he and they hate him for it. Most of the teachers too. But Damien won’t let them stop him to change his destiny.

The book is full of fascinating powers, telekinesis, flying, teleporting. The characters behind them less so. To be fair there are some I liked, Silt and Vibe are two girls who don’t care Damian is a Crow, they become friends. Their conversations made me laugh a lot. 

There are some serious questions that were left unanswered. The ending made me swear and it resulted in me wanting to know what happens to Damien next. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Ghost Falls Press for my copy. All opinions are my own.
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I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.   Thank you NetGalley.

The characters were well-developed..   They had relatable characteristics. 
The storyline was EXTREMELY unique in my opinion.     I found myself rushing through the pages to find out what happened next. 
I cannot wait to read more by this author and in this series.
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Ok this one... I had a great time. Really came together in an entertaining story told with a strong character voice. The mix of post apocalyptic society meets superheroes was a neat little combo. A little darker and more nihilistic while still being hopeful and having that inherent superhero cheese. GrimBright? Let’s call it that. Our hero is destined to go Baddie, or so the world would have him believe, but can he do some good before then? (Yes obviously).

But wow that start was rocky. The motorcycle bad ass who exists to be hot and edgy, coupled with every other adult introduced in the start aside from Mr Grey being Cool and Foul mouthed and Quippy was tedious, juvenile, and unfunny. Damian, our 17 year old protagonist being juvenile and making dick jokes is fine, but should all the adults around him have the same voice? No. Thankfully this eased up and once you get past the clunky start, it picks up immediately.

The humor was hit and miss (it’s 2020 and I really had to read a soulless ginger joke?), but as the book goes on and we get to see Damian change and grow it was worth it. I liked that he was flawed and complicated until the end. He grew but it wasn’t miraculous and solved all his interpersonal problems. I particularly liked that his relationships are a yo-yo shitshow because it captured his age -as well as his anger and pride and how the trauma of not only his childhood’s violence but poverty turned him into the person he was. 

He is perfectly irritating as any teen boy, but I want him to be ok!! I want him to be reunited with his friends and see how his choices affect those relationships. I want to see the mysteries left open at the end unfold. I felt like everything was tied up wonderfully. It’s such a personal human look at superheroes, and fans of x-men, Young Avengers, and My Hero Academia would love it. It’s about the personal stories and internal struggles and relationships between people, and a world that will never recover from superheroes but will try to do its best.

Ultimately a solid book, biggest criticism besides the opening is how I wish it pushed against the superhero archetypes more. I kept seeing it start to, but it never felt quite enough. It’s a love letter to supes so don’t expect any Watchmen or The Boys level engagement with the ideas it has, but it easily puts the MCU to shame.
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The way this book was written really grated on me.....maybe I’m just too old for this but swearing for the sake of it and felt like you were being talked at by someone with a GIANT chip on their shoulder. Just couldn’t enjoy it
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I have been reading this book for about a week and it has been a struggle. The idea behind it is amazing! Super hero worlds are something I am always drawn to in books but it was difficult for me to focus on the story because of the narrator.  He is a young man and you can definitely tell he is immature and awkward. The way he talks and the words he uses made it hard for me to focus on the story. I know there are people who will and do love the story but for me the narrators voice made it to hard for me to enjoy.
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I really enjoyed this story! This story is character-driven, specifically focusing on the main character, Damian. With an unhero-like name and unhero-like powers, he finds himself sent to what is essentially a hero school. The world-building for this book isn't too complex. The world splintered with the emergence of those with abilities, and the region Damian lives is essentially guarded by those with abilities.

Damian is a really interesting character.and actually seems like an 18 year old kid, with a nice balance between maturity and immaturity. The tension and push for success in school, which Damian sees as his gateway to an actual life, feels real. The school itself is not intended to be cutthroat, which I appreciate. The intention of the teachers and staff is to guide, which can sometimes be difficult to find in books that feature these 'training-someone-to-fight-type' schools.

I'm really looking forward to the next book in this series!
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Without a doubt, Chris Tullbane will be a name to watch for in the SFF genres moving forward - he's built a world teeming with life and conflict, introduced a system of superpowers without extensive exposition, and successfully distilled and translated the mind of an 18 year old teenager struggling to cope with life and his burgeoning abilities into one of the best new books I've read in quite a while.  Reminiscent of a blend of The Reckoners trilogy by Sanderson meets Sandman Slim by Kadrey with a hint of Shadow Ops by Cole, the Murder of Crows by Tullbane has been placed onto my virtual shelf as one to keep up with.  I eagerly anticipate the next release within this universe, and hope to enjoy the rest of his stories for years to come.
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Intriguing premise, well realised - I'm very much looking forward to reading the following books in the series.

The initial chapters were a little confusing, the backstory to the book's world was slow coming out, but the book flew past for me and I finished it before I wanted to!

Anyone enjoying modern fantasy / alternate universe reading will thoroughly enjoy this.  The characters were engaging, the plot well thought out, the angst fully realised - all in all an engaging read that I didn't want to end!
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This is a great story that keeps you hooked until the end. The characters are great and intriguing, would love to see more from this Author!
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I could not put this book down! I love a good dystopian story - Think divergent meets heroes (the tv show). The book is written with the main character as the narrator telling the story to the reader. This style of writing was new for me, but allowed the reader to see inside the mind of the main character. This book is explicit, and for an adult reader. 

I am going to need the second book to come out ASAP!!! Is there a date for book 2? 

Thank you Netgalley for an ARC. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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Thanks to NetGalley, I was able to read “See These Bones”.

The writing style isn’t one I’m accustomed to, so it took me a while to really get into the story. Occasionally, Damian -the main character- directs his dialogue towards the reader, which comes off as invasive as times. 

Damian is an 18-year old with a lot of built up anger, and he doesn’t shy away from a plethora of curse words and sexual innuendos, much like any other teenager these days. 
Don’t let that fool you, however. Damian is nothing like any other teenager, and neither are his classmates. 

When it comes to the world-building in this story, a lot has been left to the readers’ imagination, and since the story on itself is pretty hard to imagine as is, the Free States stay a little blank. I’m hoping the following novels in this series will make up for this. 

All in all, “See These Bones” has had me hooked from the first few chapters, and I’m curious as to what Damian has yet to learn. 

3.5 stars
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Love love love was such a page turner from the get go. 
-Damian is such a loveable character. I love how it actually grasps that he's just an 18 year old boy. He lusts after girls and his class mates make dick jokes. 

This book tells of a boy who is destined to be a bad guy. Lose his mind and take people down when he does snap all because he is a Crow, but he is pretty determined to not turn out like his father. Who took his mother from him and left him to learn to fight and only depend on himself in an orphanage. Till a mysterious man comes and offers him a way to perhaps change his fate. After showing up not many people give him even a fighting chance because of the history of crows but as the story progresses he seems to start to think they might be right he might be losing his mind. So he makes a decision to break a rule and whether he follows through with it will define who and what he will be in the future. 

ALSO THE END ! WOW
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This is pretty good and has good pacing. I"m a little old for this one but mostly enjoyed it. The main character is likeable and it includes several interesting characters. The author has a good imagination, and I didn't find the story to be predictable.

I really appreciate the NetGalley advanced copy for review!!
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While occasionally just a little too raunchy for my sensibilities, (read "i am old") I enjoyed this story anyway.  I very much enjoyed the satirical slant to the protagonist voice. I really will look forward to another book to see where this anti-hero goes next.
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Such a great twist on the Superhero story!
I enjoyed this book very much and was taken by surprise with how wonderful and likeable the main character Damian is. As a Crow, he's a necromancer and the other students of his new school don't like him because of this as it's believed that Crows turn mad as they get older...

Damian's story starts out very fast paced and there are great side-characters as well. I also loved the way this school works and the unusual dean.
The worldbuilding is wonderful and the take on the superhero genre is fantastic. 
More books like this one, please!

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this awesome eARC.
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